Segbwema is a town in the Kailahun District of Sierra Leone's Eastern Province. The town is a major commercial and agricultural center. Segbwema is located approximately 20 miles northeast of Kenema and approximately 225 miles south of Freetown.
Segbwema is a hilly town divided roughly in half by the small river Nyeya, a tributary of the Maleh. The town is part of and serves as the headquarters of the Njaluahun chiefdom, which is nestled between the Moa and Maleh rivers. The eastern chiefdoms of Nongowa, Jawei, and Kpeje border Njaluahun.
Segbwema's population is ethnically diverse.
The Mende ethnic group, which is the dominant tribal group in Eastern Sierra Leone, accounts for the majority of Segbwema's population. The Taima, Pendembulo, Kabalahun, Manina, Sosso Town, Largo Square, and Nyekehun sections of Segbwema have the highest concentration of Mende residents. The other major ethnic groups are the Madingo and Fula pupulation, which are mostly concentrated in Konotown, which is arguably Segbwema's largest section.
The Temne population of the town is primarily concentrated in Sosso and Kono. Segbwema's Limba population can be found at the four main entrances to the city: Largo Square, Kabalahun, Sosso town, and the Segbwma-Daru road. Segbwema is also home to ethnic Hausa, Konyanka, and Krio people. Segbwema's multi-ethnicity can be attributed to the fact that it was a major trading center and railway station during the heyday of the Sierra Leone railway, as it was the last major rail town in the Eastern Province.
For decades, the town's various ethnic groups have coexisted without incident. Despite being a rural town, Segbwema has a truly metropolitan feel because all of the various groups have a strong sense of community and citizenship. Everyone participates in the town's internal politics without fear, and intermarriage has also strengthened tribal affiliations. One major reason for Segbwema's close-knit multi-ethnicity is that everyone speaks Mende and almost everyone speaks Krio. In essence, there is no communication barrier between the various communities.
Segbwema is also unique in that members of all ethnic groups are permitted to serve in town administration, either as chiefs or tribal authorities.
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