Any account of the population of a city like Freetown is bound A to underline the marked racial, cultural and economic distinctions between the different groups that make it up. Approaching the question in this way, it is easy to overlook the relative unity of the population compared to the situation in many other African towns, where the gaps between ethnic groups are both wider and deeper. Two sociologists who studied a new and rapidly growing town in Uganda drew attention to the way different groups pursued sectional interests and concluded: ‘It is an eloquent commentary on existing social organization and interracial relations in Jinja that there is not the slightest indication as yet of any movement or desire to form a voluntary association which would pursue the interests of all the citizens of the township as a social unit.’ 1 Mixed as the population of Freetown is, it has much more unity than towns of this sort. In the first place, as the oldest colonial city in British Africa, Freetown has over the years developed a character of its own that the new-comer has to accept. Underlying this character are the British customs and Christian doctrines that were adopted by the Creoles, so that the European visitor of today is not the stranger that he is in a Protectorate town. However, it has been clear for a considerable period that the political future of Sierra Leone is that of an African country; Europeans dislike the climate and do not settle there; the Lebanese and Indians are not numerous and they have never sought political power. Finally, the very heterogeneity encourages the growth of mutual understanding, for where there are numerous small groups there is not the tension created by competition between two or three big units.