SARO means someone that comes from Sierra Leone.
I began the draft of Saro, my second historical novel on my layover in Cote D'Ivoire to Sierra Leone in July 2016, but the journey to research this story began years before with a picture that hung on the wall of my maternal Grandparents home in Ilupeju, Lagos, Nigeria. It was a black/white picture of my maternal Great Grandfather Ajobo Coker. Stories told down generations was that his forefather a newly crowned young king of Abeokuta, visiting the Marina, in Lagos with his family, experienced an unfortunate incident that changed the trajectory of their lives. Şiwoolu, his (and my) ancestor, a young King, was captured with his pregnant wife and toddler son. and on their way to the Americas on a slave ship disguised as a Merchant ship. Thankfully, they were rescued by British naval ships on the Atlantic Ocean and taken to Freetown. But that is just the beginning of the story that chronicles twenty years of a king who embraces the Christianity, and accepts his fate, and a wife who clings to the old and searches for every possible means to return home. Though they prosper in a new land, their hearts longs for what they lost, and their children grow to yearn for the same. This is a story of loss and a search for identity. of retribution and second chances.
My journey during my research took me from the dusty paths that led to Fourah Bay College and Hastings, a settlement for freed slaves, to Big Market and Bunce Island, filled with memories and land marks of the enslaved that still cry out. I immersed myself in the what-could-have-beens and spun the story that is SARO.
Above. - this picture was taken on August 2016 in the library at Fourah Bay College, Freetown, Sierra Leone. I am standing before the framed picture of Samuel Ajayin Crowther. freed slave and Nigerian that was also taken to Sierra Leone and helped relocate freed slaves back to Abeokuta.
Hastings, a former settlement for freed slaves
On Bunce Island, where slaves were held and sold
On the boat to Bunce Island, August 2016. The panic was not evident on my face, but the motorized boat stopped once or twice enroute to the island.
To purchase. visit my publisher's website https://narrativelandscape.com/product/saro/
For international readers, the amazon link will be made available soon.
I hope you enjoy this journey into SARO .