What Do You Do With Your Life After You’ve Already Been The World’s Youngest Dictator?

The run-down mansion rising above the Freetown slum was the first giveaway, but it got even stranger. As Valentine Strasser’s home came into view, my guide screamed in Krio, “I go scared!” then yanked open the car door and bolted.He emerged 50 meters away, behind a tangle of banana trees. Fair enough. Yusuf Dumbuya was a lanky 16-year-old from the shantytown of Grafton, and unsurprisingly didn’t want to hang around for what might follow.I’d been lucky to get him to take me this far. In a neighborhood with no street names, nobody wanted to take me to Strasser’s house. Older residents recalled cheering in the streets when he first rode into power over two decades ago, but generally people shuddered when I asked about him.“Everybody is scared of him here. Even if you say hello to him in the street, he will get angry with you,” Dumbuya had informed me cheerfully. He’d made the mistake of waving at Strasser a few weeks earlier. The former president of Sierra Leone felt the greeting showed a lack of respect.“I don’t want to use abusive language, so let me just say he got very, very angry,” he continued, crossing his arms protectively. “He… Read full this story

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