“In Sierra Leone, where I grew up, education is the key to success,” said Bangura. “Education is the key to everything in that society.”
With this in mind, Bangura enrolled at the University of Sierra Leone, specifically the Fourah Bay College, where he studied history. Upon reaching junior standing Bangura was admitted into the highly selective honors history program at Fourah Bay, which accepted only 8 of 150 applicants.
As a result, the University offered Bangura a position as a part-time instructor. He accepted this position due to the prestige of the offer, as well as the fact that jobs were hard to come by for a new graduate in Freetown.
“I became entrenched in the teaching profession,” said Bangura.
After working as a part-time instructor for six years, Bangura went on to teach full time at a local community college in Freetown for another five years.
After receiving a scholarship from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Bangura was able to complete graduate school and receive his Ph.D. During this time he began looking for a position as a professor at various North American colleges, Kalamazoo College among them. Bangura’s previous interactions with K students during his time as an undergraduate had a large influence on his decision to consider the College as a possible employer.
“Part of the reason I went to the interview was not only to get a job, but to satisfy my curiosity to whether there was indeed a place called Kalamazoo,” said Bangura.
Now that Bangura is a fixture of the K community, there are a few things he would like to see changed within the African Studies department, including an expansion of the program, currently comprised only of himself.
“Africa is a huge continent, and for one person to cover it extensively and comprehensively is impossible,” he said.
He would also like to see the Sierra Leone study abroad program re-implemented. Although the program was shut down due to conflict in the region, Bangura assured that the country is now completely stable.
“I always say that Freetown is safer than Detroit,” said Bangura, in response to concerns over the safety of traveling to Sierra Leone.
Outside of class, Bangura is a self-described “soccer junkie,” and he supports the Arsenal Football Club in England. He also enjoys watching the news and keeping up with world affairs.
“It’s always an advantage for American students to know about other parts of the world,” he said. “It’s always a good idea for [them] to go outside their comfort zones to learn a lot about other cultures.”