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Liberia Remembers Edward Wilmot Blyden, the Father of Pan Africanism
By Awareness Times
Feb 12, 2007, 23:46
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It was billed as an evening of Reflection, Education and Delight and it ended up being four hours of exactly that. Inside the auditorium of the University of Liberia last Wednesday February 7th 2007, a galaxy of Liberia’s top personalities, students and activists all assembled to launch the start of the 175th Anniversary Celebrations of the late father of Panafricanism, Edward Wilmot Blyden. It started with a walk with the Blyden Family to the University Obelisk to pour libation, continued with lectures by various speakers and a keynote address by President Johnson Sirleaf and ended with a spellbounding live performance by Liberia’s most famous musician, Ms. Miatta Fahnbulleh, the singer of the hit song, Cocorioko!

The following are pictures of that Night...

The Master of Ceremonies for the Event was none other than Kojo Mensah whose long period of success in broadcasting at the United Nations makes him a man that needs no introduction in West Africa. Kojo informed that after reading up on Edward Blyden, as a Ghanaian he could now categorically state that Ghana had no claim as being the founders of Panafricanism

The United Nations' Kingsley Lington, a true Panafrican who has contributed greatly to the development of Sierra Leone and Liberia is shown here with Charles Snetter, the Director General of the Liberia Broadcasting System. Charles Snetter is the son of Ambassador Charles Snetter who was one of the very first Liberian Ambassadors to Sierra Leone

Kingsley Lington of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and Kojo Mensah, the Head of the United Nations Radio in Liberia flank Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, the great-great-grand-daughter of Edward Wilmot Blyden the first

Ms. Edith Baun, a black American Citizen who is the Deputy Head of the US sponsored Security Sector Reform (SSR) Programme in Liberia got all decked up in Creole style outfit and played the flute together with another flutist

Seven Youngest Liberian Daughters is the name of this young talented performing group who recited fairy tales in Vai, Bassa, Gola, Kissi & Kru

A Representative of the Ministry of Education gave a statement on Edward Blyden's contribution to Education

Honourable Ms. Olubanke King-Akerele, Liberia's dynamic Minister of Commerce recounts for the audience the role that Edward Blyden played in the migration of a famous West African Commerce Merchant from Sierra Leone to Liberia. The Merchant was her own great grandfather whose roots were originally Nigerian but who was born in Sierra Leone. Upon a letter of Invitation from Blyden, he migrated from Murray Town to Monrovia, Liberia where her own grandfather (the son of the migrant from Sierra Leone) was born as a Liberian who eventually was elected to become the President of Liberia

Famed Liberian Gola Dancer Toke Toma and her performers thrilled all

A University Student reads out from one of the literary works of Edward Wilmot Blyden. The University of Liberia has dedicated a whole section of their Library to host the literary works of Edward Wilmot Blyden

Ben Dotsei Malor of BBC Africa fame who is now the United Nations Spokesman in Liberia chats with an American Embassy staff at the event last Wednesday

Liberia’s Minister of Commerce, Hon. Mrs. Olubanke King-Akerele whose ancestors were from Murray Town, Sierra Leone poses with Sylvia Blyden.

This photograph shows as the President of the University of Liberia, Professor Al Hassan Conteh joins Dr. Blyden and Minister King-Akerele

Edward Babatunde Blyden, the great-grandson of Edward Blyden is shown here flanked by famed Liberian singer, Miata Fahnbulleh and her mother, Mrs. Fahnbulleh. The late Mr. Boima H. Fahnbulleh (father of Miata) was the Liberian Ambassador to Sierra Leone who replaced Ambassador Charles Snetter when his own term in Sierra Leone ended

Barkue Tubman, the grand-daughter of late President Tubman of Liberia was one of the organisers of the evening. She is shown here serving food.

Ambassador George Wallace, the Foreign Minister of Liberia also delivered a lecture on the role played by Edward Blyden in the diplomatic development of the State of Liberia. Ambassador Wallace was himself a former Liberian Ambassador to Sierra Leone who served after Ambassador Fahnbulleh

Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf officially launched the Celebrations. She gave an exhaustive lecture about Edward Wilmot Blyden which spanned 20 minutes during which she elaborated on many of the attributes of Blyden including his unique ability to cause controversy by raising to the fore those issues that were societal vices but which people feared to speak out against. The President who also spoke on Blyden’s commendable venture into the field of journalism in the year 1855, had once stated that one of the greatest compliments ever paid to her was when she was told that she was the re-incarnation of Blyden in Liberia.

Liberia’s most famous musician, Ms. Miata Fahnbulleh of Cocorioko fame received a standing ovation upon rendering her masterpiece, “The Message”

Ms. Barkue Tubman, the grand-daughter of Liberia's late President Tubman played a very pivotal role in the success of the evening. She is shown here as she receives acknowledgement from Isa Blyden

At the auspicious occasion, H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf greets Dr. Sylvia Blyden and her father, Edward Babatunde Blyden. In the middle is shown Hon. King-Akerele, the Liberian Minister of Commerce whose ancestors went to Liberia from Murray Town, Sierra Leone upon the invitation of the great Edward Wilmot Blyden.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf tells Dr. Sylvia Blyden that she has a great legacy to maintain and carry on. The Foreign Minister of Liberia, Ambassador Wallace is shown in the background

Ben Dotsei Malor and his friend Sylvia Blyden in a handshake.

Some of the Traditional Performers that evening

A row of lighted candles was lit along the pathways of the University Campus from the Obelisk to the Auditorium

Dr. Sylvia Blyden is shown here flanked by two of the shining young Africans at the United Nations in Liberia

Babatunde Blyden and Isa Blyden (Brother and Sister) in a handshake at the end of the event

Edward Wilmot Blyden shown here as a young man newly arrived in Liberia

Edward Wilmot Blyden: A Respected African Statesman


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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