Sir Banja Tejan-Sie, one of Sierra Leone’s most prominent politicians during the colonial and post-colonial periods, was born on August 7th 1917 at Moyamba, in what is today the Southern Province of Sierra Leone.

He was educated at the Bo Government Secondary School and the Prince of Wales School. Before proceeding for further studies, he worked as a station clerk in the Sierra Leone Railway from 1938 to 1939 and as a nurse in the Medical Department from 1940 to 1946. He went to Britain and studied at the London School of Economics, and at Lincoln’s Inn, where he was subsequently called to the Bar in 1951.

Sir Banja returned home and set up private practice. He also became involved in politics, and was one of those who agitated for an end to colonial rule. Sir Banja was a prominent member of the Sierra Leone People’s Party from its inception, and was elected vice-president of the party in 1955. In 1958, he was appointed Police Magistrate, but he continued to be quite active in politics, and was a member of the Independence Constitutional Committee. In 1967, he was appointed Chief Justice and, in April 1968, he was appointed officer performing the functions of the Governor-General.

Sir Banja Tejan-Sie quit politics in the wake of the introduction of the Republican Constitution in 1971 and retired to London. In April 1987, he visited Sierra Leone, heeding President Momoh’s call for national reconciliation.