Fula Community Displays Cultural Heritage At Bicentennial Celebrations

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Members of the Fula community have used the launch of the Bicentennial celebrations to bring out their cultural heritage and traditional dress code to the Liberian society, taking many onlookers by surprise with their marvelous performances and costumes at the SKD Sports Stadium.

   The Fula community’s delegation was headed by their National Governor, Alhaji Bailo Sow, alias Supa, who was flanked by elders of the community, women and youth. Dressed in their blue-and-white traditional lappa, they marched on the perimeters of the stadium and onward to their seats. 

   Speaking to newsmen during the program, Governor Sow called on the Liberian society to do away with discriminating the Fula people, as many of them are citizens of the country and have no other country to call home apart from Liberia. He called for unity among all the existing tribes in Liberia, and that they co-exist in peace and harmony.

   Beaming with smile, apparently from the joy of the huge attendance from his community to grace the official launch of the Bicentenary, the Fula Governor expressed thanks and appreciation to His Excellency President George M. Weah and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government for conducting such a unique program, which commemorates 200 years of the coming of the Founding Fathers.   

National Fula Governor, Alhaji Bailo Sow (Supa) surrounded by traditionally-attired Fula women and girls

   An elder of the Fula community (name unknown) told newsmen that their presence at the Bicentennial launch was to signal to other members of the Liberian society that they are not strangers in a country they migrated to even before the coming of the settlers. He said their great grandparents were here; they, too, are here; and their children and unborn generations will be here, because this is where they call home.

   Observers believe that the Fula community has a major stake in the Bicentennial celebrations, as one of their kinsmen, Abdul-Rahman ibn Ibrahim Sori Jalloh, came to Monrovia along with other free slaves from the United States.

   Abdul-Rahman ibn Ibrahima Sori was an African prince and military commander who was captured in the Fouta Jallon region of Guinea, West Africa, and sold to slave traders, who sent him to the United States in 1788. Upon discovering his noble lineage, his slave master, Thomas Foster, began referring to him as “Prince”, a title he kept until his final days. After spending 40 years in slavery, he was freed in 1828 by order of U.S. President, John Quincy Adams, and Secretary of State, Henry Clay, and sent to Monrovia, Liberia, along with his wife, Isabella, and four children.

   This history, which has been confirmed by US libraries and many prominent Liberian historians, including Rev. Emmanuel Bowier, Dr. Edwood Dunn and Dr. Alpha Bah, places the Fula tribe at the heart of the celebrations, with rumors filtering that they intend to celebrate the coming of the popular Fula slave in March.

   Besides the coming to Monrovia of “Prince”, Fulanis had been around for more than a century, settling in many counties, especially in Grand Gedeh, Sinoe, Margibi and Montserrado counties. They scored their political point in the 2017 general and presidential elections when some of them supported the CDC, Unity Party, Liberty Party and All Liberian Party. A number of them were appointed by President Weah, with others serving as civil servants since the administration of ex-President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. 

   However, the Fula tribe still suffers immense discrimination and segregation from other tribes of the Liberian society, with many of them who are legitimate Liberians being denied national documents due to their surnames.

   With President Weah throwing out a challenge to the many gifted authors to write a full and comprehensive history of the country, one is left to wonder whether or not the Fula tribe will be captured in the history of the new Liberia.

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