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Kenema is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Sierra Leone and is home to significant numbers of many of the country's ethnic groups. The Krio language is by far the most widely spoken language in the city, and is the primary language of communication in the city.
The city of Kenema is one of Sierra Leone's six municipalities and is governed by a directly elected city council form of government, headed by a mayor, in whom executive authority is vested. The mayor is responsible for the general management of the city.
Like the rest of Sierra Leone, Football is by far the most popular sport in the city. The Sierra Leone professional club called the Kamboi Eagles, which is based in Kenema, represent the city in the Sierra Leone National Premier League. The city has a history of producing some of Sierra Leone's most popular footballers, including The country's most successful footballer Mohamed Kallon; Others include Paul Kpaka, Kemokai Kallon, Kei Kamara and Musa Kallon.
The city grew along with a now-closed railway, around the logging and carpentry industries, and recently with diamond mines first discovered in 1931.