And, though the narrative surrounding the assimilation of Liberia’s African American founders with the indigenous population is hardly one that always had a harmonious denouement, Vamba’s Land of My Fathers doesn’t focus on rehashing the inharmonious. Rather, it is a story about genuine friendship, mutual respect and love between an Americo Liberian, as the settlers became known, and an indigenous character that stood the test of time. It is truly a story about what was possible and what could be for his country, Liberia. Artists & Reviews 

Vamba Sherif’s Land of My Fathers: A Review

On February 4, 1857, Mary Mickey, a former slave from Charlottesville, Virginia, wrote a letter to her former master about her journey to Liberia and her impression of the new country she would now call home: “It affords me great pleasure to have this opportunity to address a letter to you. In the midst of danger & death, while we could discern nothing above, & around us but the blue canopy of heaven, & under us the deep, deep blue sea, we were Providentially cared for, and bless to reach…

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Ms. Golakai and her co-winners, Gloria M. Odari, Parselelo Kantai, and Nnamdi Oguike will each receive a grant of €18,000 to allow them to take a year off to finish the Spectral novel. “Spectral is a terrifying examination of the tensions between freedom and social order. It will have speculative fiction themes: fantasy, science fiction, horror, magical realism. I love mixing science with fantastical and unknown,” Ms. Golakai said about the upcoming book. Artists & Reviews 

Liberian Writer Golakai Wins 2019 Morland Writing Scholarship

    Liberian Author Hawa Jande Golakai has emerged as one of the four joint winners of the prestigious Morland Writing Scholarships for her work Spectral.​​ Ms. Golakai, a speculative fiction author and a professional medical immunologist, is the first and only Liberian to win the Morland scholarship prize since its inception in 2013. Ms. Golakai and her co-winners, Gloria M. Odari, Parselelo Kantai, and Nnamdi Oguike will each receive a grant of €18,000 to allow them to take a year off to finish the Spectral novel. “Spectral is a…

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Artists & Reviews 

10 things you didn’t know about South African rapper Sho Madjozi

    Sho Madjozi is the professional name of Maya Christinah Xichavo Famo. For those who are curious, she is a South African singer and songwriter who has been known to act from time to time as well. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Sho Madjozi: 1. Born in Limpopo Madjozi was born in a small village in the South African province of Limpopo. In short, the province is named thus because of the Limpopo River, which serves as its northern border as…

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There is an evident absence of a critical mass of students and academics who are engaged in radical social movement organizations. Rodney used the platform of the university to engage in the production and dissemination of oppositional ideas and scholarship. He entered the wider society to educate and mobilize the working-class for self-organization. His legacy of principled commitment and activism is something with which activists or organizers should become fully aware. Neoliberal capitalism has established a seemingly unchallenged ideological and political dominance in the current period. It has left many people believing that there is no viable alternative to capitalism. Rodney would have rejected this defeatist tendency that has induced many progressives to abandon their radical politics or commitment to socialism and accept liberal capitalist democracy as the only political game in town. Some former radicals have gone over to social democracy, which is essentially capitalism with a human face. Artists & Reviews 

Walter Rodney: Pan-African Revolutionary Intellectual

Walter Rodney has demonstrated through thought and action that it is not inevitable for intellectuals to join the systems of oppression and use their knowledge and skills to perpetuate exploitation. They have the option of committing “class suicide.” Rodney called on the intelligentsia to use their knowledge and skills to challenge and undermine oppression. “In evaluating Walter Rodney one characteristic stands out. He was a scholar who recognised no distinction between academic concerns and service to society, between science and social commitment. He was concerned about people as well as…

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I am sending the Liberian Listener a link to a book that I hope will give your readers some hours of enjoyment as a literary work and one too that will offer insights into the history of many African nations. Given the nature of politics, one must be discrete in this world when reading such a title, given the heavy hand the police and govts. Who knows how many people could easily misinterpret the independent scholar's interest in such a work? Artists & Reviews 

BOOKS: Coup d’État —[Africa] Edward N. Luttwak /REVIEW

The Editor, I’d like to point out, though we don’t need a reminder at all, that as scholars, artists, and intellectuals it is our duty, our life-long duty to learn. We, as thinkers and creators, have a duty to learn as much as we can about the depths and distances of all areas of knowledge known to man. Were we to shy away from areas of thought from fear, then we would betray our gifts as thinking men. But, there are times, there are areas of thought, there are themes that…

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Coates grew up in a home and a world where consciousness in thought and deed was the ultimate reflection of what it means to be a human being, where books and papers surrounded him and reflected him. He sought other stories in comic books and novels. Baltimore in the ’80s demanded a different education of him, one where he was bored by teachers, fell asleep in class, walked through the streets assessing the landscape and the people incessantly, wary and aware that at any moment, at any time, he could be jumped and beaten for any number of imagined offenses by boys who looked like him. That world trained Coates to navigate violence with his body and his mind, pressured his inner self to become the man he is today, a man with a baby face and easy bearing whose looks belie the weapon within, a self honed to a scythe’s sharpness. Artists & Reviews 

The Beautiful Power of Ta-Nehisi Coates

With his groundbreaking nonfiction works, Ta-Nehisi Coates emerged as our most vital public intellectual. Now, his debut novel, The Water Dancer, takes him to uncharted depths. BY  JESMYN WARD PHOTOGRAPHY BY  ANNIE LEIBOVITZ AUGUST 6, 2019 Coates, photographed in Brooklyn.PHOTOGRAPH BY ANNIE LEIBOVITZ. When I meet Ta-Nehisi Coates, I am surprised. All of the photos I’ve seen of him are somber and inscrutable, but when I walk into the café where he’s suggested we meet, he’s not like that at all. He’s one of those people who looks young at any age:…

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Romeo's first volume of poetry, The Silent Dancing Spirit was published in 1974. She taught for a year at Kent State in the Department of Pan-African Studies, but then decided to move to Africa and began working as an assistant English professor at the University of Liberia. In 1977, she married and continued teaching and writing, publishing three additional volumes of poetry: Palaver: West Indian Poems in 1978, Two Faces, Two Phases in 1984, and Beyond Dream: The Ritual Dancer in 1989. In 1984, Romeo-Mark, along with C. William Allen, Keith Neville Asumuyaya Best, Henry Gensang, Thomas Johnson and Ruth Wuor founded the Liberian Association of Writers (LAW). Artists & Reviews 

Two Poems: Crossing Frontiers and Crossing the Road

    Romeo’s first volume of poetry, The Silent Dancing Spirit was published in 1974.  She taught for a year at Kent State in the Department of Pan-African Studies, but then decided to move to Africa and began working as an assistant English professor at the University of Liberia. In 1977, she married and continued teaching and writing, publishing three additional volumes of poetry: Palaver: West Indian Poems in 1978, Two Faces, Two Phases in 1984, and Beyond Dream: The Ritual Dancer in 1989. In 1984, Romeo-Mark, along with C.…

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Philis Wheatly was a young African slave woman with incredible amount of talent and creativity. When she had the manuscript of her first collection of poems, “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious, and Moral,” it was not published in America because the publishers or printers could not believe that a “negro” could write those poems. The book was first published in London in the fall of 1773. This singular effort by Phillis Wheatly is considered as the foundation of African American literature. It would take 86 years from 1773 for the first African American novel to be published. This was written by Harriet E. Wilson in 1859. Artists & Reviews 

Common Themes in African and African American Literatures

    By Nvasekie N. Konneh   To fully understand and appreciate African and African American literatures or fictions for that matter, it’s imperative to understand the historical backgrounds of their experiences. First it was the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, which brought millions of Africans to Europe and America as slaves to plantations in America and elsewhere. European colonization of Africa subsequently, followed the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Both of these were very dehumanizing for the Africans. They experienced degradation as they were considered less human than others. The main justification of…

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This was a very meaningful conversation I had with my fellow Liberian writer, Eudora Aletta. So besides the political talks and photo ops, meeting Eudora who I have communicated with for years was one of the highlights of the convention for me. I hope to read and review her novel, The Wind of Change. Artists & Reviews 

Book Review: The Land of My Father’s Birth, by Nvasekie N. Konneh

    A Book Review by Theodore T. Hodge   The author’s primary purpose is to set the record straight about his nationality, and that of his father before him. That is too easy a case to make. He uses strong and impressive arguments from the outset by using general history and personal genealogy. To borrow a popular cliché of our times, it is a slam-dunk. Besides nationality, Konneh addresses the sub-themes of tribalism, religion, and patriotism. Commonly held beliefs among many Liberians include the false point of view that…

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In November 1967, Mr. Porte wrote a pamphlet titled “Thinking About Unthinkable Things In a Democracy,” wondering how Liberia, with its constitution, its adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, could be a nation where “anyone could do any wrong, and once he had the President and his office behind him, he could go free and no one, not even the Chief Justice could do anything about it. That was very dangerous for any country,” (Page 184). Indeed lawlessness at the highest level of governance was dangerous and Liberia were to find it later, in a devastating way. Artists & Reviews 

A Life of Rebellion: The Biography Of Albert Porte

    Kenneth Y. Best:  Albert Porte, A Life Time Trying to Save Liberia   By the time William V.S. Tubman became president of Liberia, the country had already abandoned any semblance of democracy and the people had lost the right to elect their leaders. This privilege was left to a party caucus, made of the President, the Speaker and a handful of people in the True Whig Party and government hierarchy. The system had been introduced by President King in 1925. Once the Caucus decided who would run for…

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