Africa’s first sovereign black-ruled democratic nation turns 171 as it was declared shackle-free in 1847.Liberia a West African state was founded by freed slaves belonging to The American Colonization Society in 1821 as a settlement for freed African-Americans of different origins together with their African brothers who were already there. Thousands of freed slaves crossed the Atlantic Ocean through the help of the American Colonization Society and settled in Liberia. On the 26th of July 1847, Liberia was declared independent. Joseph Jenkins Roberts a freed slave from Virginia was the first president of Liberia.
An act that would see Liberia bleed and suffer equally brutal if not worse than slavery torture happened in the form of a military coup in 1980 which set a ‘FREE PEOPLE’ in unrest and led to a full –scale civil war in 1990.
After such a hurting war with tens of thousands deaths and displacements of people, a ceasefire was reached in 1996 and Charles Taylor was declared the president in 1997. Charles was ousted in 2003 and new democratic elections were held in 2005 and the powerful goal-driven, fearless lady Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was inaugurated as the president of Liberia in January 2006. She was the first female elected head of state in Africa and she led the country to recovery from 2006 to 2018.
She was succeeded by the Chelsea, AC Milan, Manchester City, PSG, Monaco football legend George Manneh Weah early 2018. In his speech during the 171 celebrations in Beijing, the Honorable Ambassador of Liberia to China Mr D. Mckinley Thomas said about President Weah, "As Liberia's Ship of State and Lead Proponent of our development agenda, we are confident that he will lead Liberia to many more victories; scoring and achieving the developmental goals of his government's 'pro-poor policy'."
President Weah was in the news recently calling for the people of Liberia to unite and work together to build the nation.
Liberia faced a worst imbroglio which could have seen it collapse forever, but despite this quagmire they emerged stronger than before. Self-determination is what can be used to describe the people of Liberia. A country whose average age was at 18,6 in 2015 according to statistics on statists online, education is of paramount importance to the development of the country. Hence the government is always engaging the youth on issues of nation building and taking heed to the issues raised by the youth.
With the cooperation between the government and student bodies, a strong think-tank is established. The youth have the greatest role to play in the development of Liberia."To build a society a people's government must put in place an education system that drives achievement of that transformation..."dailymaverick.
Because of their strive for competence, correctedness and autonomy they are driven to work and act with diligence.
Speaking at the Thanksgiving and Intercessory Prayer held at the Lusinee Kamara Mosque in Morris Farm, Paynesville as part of events to celebrate 171, President George Weah was quoted on AfricaNews saying,"...nomatter what you do in life, there will be critics but what is important is for us to remain focused on what we want to do. "He made this call especially to the young Liberians who are the now and the future of Liberia.
The recent 171 celebrations held at Marriot Hotel in Beijing saw a number of dignitaries, their families ,civil society of China, Liberians and well-wishers coming to together to celebrate such a milestone. The celebrations in China couldn't be in any other place better than Zhongguo. (China) the friend of Africa.
The role of China in the development of different sectors in Africa and Liberia in particular can never be overlooked.The growing bilateral relations between China and Africa has aided states like Liberia in their road to healing.Through the mechanisms of the Forum On China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the Belt and Road Initiative,Liberia and China are in a win-win cooperation according Ambassador Mckinley.
Official relations between China and Liberia began February 22nd 1977 and along the way just like any kind of relationship, the two states fell apart because of misunderstandings.However,differences were amended and 1993 China opened its embassy in Monrovia the beautiful capital of Liberia.
From around year 2000 moving to date , a lot of cooperations between the two states have been visible with the renovation and construction of the Fendell Campus for Engineering of the University of Liberia, the opening of a Chinese language school known as the Confucius Institute by the embassy of China to Liberia, Liberia-China Wushu School and gymnasium, the recently announced construction of a hair manufacturing firm that will see hundreds of young females getting employed and trained are just a glimpse of the multiple projects between China and Liberia. China has been a true friend indeed as they stood by Liberia during their fight against the deadly Ebola.The two friends are continuously cooperating in critical sectors of the economy like education, infrastructure, health and more.
This '171' celebration is a notable one as the Liberians put their heads together to maintain the land of the 'FREE' as was initially its founding intentions. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
2018 celebrations saw Liberians mainly composed of students gathering at Marriot Hotel in Beijing to celebrate a day their fore-fathers won for them.
A number of students from Liberia are under different scholarships offered by Chinese government and organisations which has led to 'people to people' interactions between the two nations.
The social impact derived from China-Africa interactions can not be set aside. This has tremendously increased the need for more cultural exchanges between the two people trying to understand each other for better cooperation and trust.
Liberia recently appointed its music Ambassador/Cultural Attache to China[Asia] in a bid to continue expanding its horizons and letting people know of its diverse and culturally rich land of Liberia.
Their appointment of the internationally renowned artist Mr Jon Bricks couldn't be any better. Its understood the power of music to bring people together and spread information in a melodious way. At the recent 171 celebrations Mr Bricks showed that he was indeed an ambassador on duty as he performed alongside a Chinese artist and gave the audience such a spectacular show leaving many drooling for more.
The traditional dance from the young ones both Chinese and Africans was an exhibit of the beauty of cultural exchanges that left people at awe.
Teach them rather than assume they know.
Still on cultural exchanges and the efforts being made to this regard,one young Liberian foreign student took it heartly to give an insight and background information about Liberia to a group of young kids through the initiatives of Yoofu a company on the road to rebrand Africa to the future leaders of China.
Terry G. Johnson II said, "Young Chinese have a wrong perception about Africa. So when I was asked to tell kids about my country, I took it with pride and an open heart. "Terry taught kids about the geographical location of Liberia, culture and modern dance. He went on to teach the kids some simple Liberian local words. Self determination of the people of Liberia and self-defining.
Everyone has a role to play for mama Liberia as they affectionately call it.
Liberia is a land rich in rubber, timber, and various minerals. It's a wealthy land and also boasts of its famous gateway The Free Port of Monrovia where imports and exports with the outer world takes place. Nations like China also rely on this port for their business ventures showing how true bilateral relations should be.
Liberia is also a great tourist destination for history lovers and surfing fanatics. Not to talk of its rich and diverse culture and people.
Liberian story can never be complete without mentioning the role women played in the liberation of the land. Liberian women became vocal and united against the suffering their land was facing.Their unity and resilience led to the election of the first female African head of state Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2005. She together with other women rose above the limiting factor of their gender and became pillars of strength and hope. A mother's love.
As is known of Africa,it is a land of beauty and modest.
Warm-hearted and welcoming are the people.
Brains enveloped in neatness.
Playfulness filled with grace.
A land of refinement.
Power and trend-setters.
A land of intensely energetic and enthusiastic people.
A land of strong people who don't give in to challenges.
A history that is helping shape the way a people move forward in a progressive way.171 YEARS-'THE LOVE OF LIBERTY BROUGHT US HERE.'says Liberia.
photos by zekey and other sources