Formal Invitation to All Peaceful Global Citizens and Lovers of the Arts

From Rabbi Joe Gbaba

The Chair and members of the Organizing Committee of the DATI Tripartite Anniversary, and the Chair and members of DATI Board of Directors and DATI Peace Advocates in the United States and the Republic of Liberia, warmly invite you, family, friends, fans, and well-wishers, to the 49th Anniversary of Rabbi Joe Gbaba as Liberian Playwright, Theatre Director and scholar/artist, the 46th Celebration of the founding of DATI as Liberia’s oldest surviving collegiate theatre organization, and the 40th Wedding Anniversary of Rabbi  Prince Joseph Tomoonh-Garlodeyh and Princess Ariminta Porte-Gbaba.

Venue, Date, and Theme of the Tripartite Anniversary

The Merion Tribute House

The DATI Tripartite Gala will take place on December 16, 2023, at the Merion Tribute House, 526 Hazelhurst Avenue, Merion Station, PA 19066, from 6-11 PM. The theme of the event is “National Unification and Integration: Liberia is Better when Its Citizens Live in Peace and Harmony”.

Please note that due to the historic and cultural nature of this event, our guests must come prepared to listen keenly and to actively participate in the planned activities of the Tripartite Anniversary, some of which include the observance of traditional Liberian and African spiritual rituals. This means there must be absolute silence in the hall when we are paying homage to and are requesting the blessings of our ancestors to cleanse our bloodstained homeland.

About DATI

The word “Dehkontee” means, “There is time for everything.” It is a traditional Liberian expression that derives from several Kwa-speaking ethnic groups such as Krahn, Kru, Grebo, Bassa, Sarpo, that are in Southeastern, Eastern, and Southcentral Liberia.

Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc. (DATI) is a 501 ©(3) nonprofit African-centered cultural and educational organization. It was established in 1977 at the University of Liberia to promote and preserve Liberian and African history and culture through the performing and visual arts. This year marks the 46th Anniversary of DATI as the oldest surviving collegiate theatre organization. DATI has three chapters: DATI USA based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and DATI Maryland Gbenelue Chapter in Harper, Maryland County, and DATI Montserrado Dougbor Chapter in Monrovia, Liberia. We are raising funds to institutionalize Liberian history and culture. All donations made are tax-deductible. Thank you for your generosity and welcome to our Tripartite Celebration!

Below are the Tripartite Anniversary goals and flyer. They provide detailed information regarding admission to the DATI Tripartite Celebration and the activities that will take place.  

Goals of the DATI Tripartite Anniversary      

1.  To instill a strong spirit of patriotism, humanity and global connectedness within our guests who will attend the celebration. Thus, the event is about asking not what your country, or the world can do for you, but what you can do for your country to make a difference in the lives of the people in our collective lived world.

2. To actively engage and solicit patriotic Liberians, Americans, and lovers of the arts from across the globe to join in the initiative to construct the first school of the performing and visual arts and center for peace and cultural studies and to preserve the history and culture of Liberia, Africa’s oldest democratic republic whose culture and history are at the brink of annihilation because:

a. The only bastion of Liberian culture that was the beacon of hope, self-knowledge, and national identity (the National Cultural Center located in Kendeja) that was established by the government of Liberia in 1964, was demolished and bulldozed in 2008 by the government of Liberia during the regime of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The land on which our national cultural shrine stood was sold to an American businessman, Bob Johnson, to construct a hotel resort in place of Liberia’s cultural shrine. Thus, depriving present-day Liberians and future generations of Liberians at home and in the diaspora access to their historical and cultural heritage and self-knowledge. As Marcus Garvey (1997) states: “History is the landmark by which we are directed into the true course of life… And, the history of a movement, the history of a nation, the history of a race is the guidepost of that movement’s destiny, that nation’s destiny, that race’s destiny.” 

Thus, the question is, do Liberians have a destiny, and the answer is, NO!

b.  There is a need to institutionalize Liberian history and culture; promote peace and reconciliation, reconceptualize the national curriculum of Liberia to include the history and culture of indigenous Liberians and teach and offer degrees in Liberian Dance, Music, Culture, History, and indigenous Liberian languages, with the aim to create cultural awareness and national unity and consciousness among post-war Liberian citizens at home and abroad.

Again, we would like to quote another great Pan African scholar, Dr. Karenga (1990; 2004), “Part of Pan African historical and cultural consciousness was to ensure Blacks were aware of their rich African heritage as descendants of the world’s greatest and earliest civilizations and being conscious of the ensnarement and deceptions skillfully carved overtime by their oppressors through religious and imperialistic manipulations and impositions.

c. Liberia has a great promise when it comes to cultural and historical research and the development of a robust tourism and showbiz industry, as well as studies of ancient cultural finds that are in Liberia. Liberians are talented, artistic, and hospitable. When successfully completed, the facility will serve as a reservoir of Liberian history and culture, and as a center for peacebuilding, cultural and historical research for the expanse of universal learning.

3. To establish long-lasting Liberian institutions that will symbolize and promote the unique and shared Liberian heritage and national identity. Most Liberians do not know about their history and culture, and they do not have a national cultural identity. In addition, most Liberian organizations are short-lived, but DATI has survived forty-six years of national tumult and transformation, and it has played a significant role in not only preserving Liberian history and culture through the performing and visual arts, but DATI has also been instrumental in peacebuilding during and after the Liberian bloody civil war.

4. To promote and celebrate Liberian and African family values, peace and reconciliation and national unity. For an example, the celebration of Rabbi Gbaba and Princess Ariminta’s 40th Wedding Anniversary is a symbol of building strong, cordial and committed Liberian family unions and homes for the permanency, safety, and well-being of Liberian children and their families. Therefore, the function aims to promote Liberian/African family and cultural values that can be passed on to future generations of global youths.

Protocol of the DATI Tripartite Anniversary Gala and Fundraiser

Guests planning to attend the DATI Tripartite Anniversary Gala and Fundraiser are asked to kindly observe the following protocols.

1.  Advanced Ticket Sale and Payment Methods

All Guests are advised to purchase their tickets in advance through the following payment methods in order to have their seats reserved. Tickets can also be purchased on the date of the event but due to time factor, we advise you purchase your tickets in advance so you can actively participate in the Tripartite ceremonies. Also, please note that the seating capacity of the hall is 150. Presently, there are only 140 seats left.

a.  Cashapp: $JosephGbaba (267) 973-1709

b.  Prepare check or money order to: Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc., P. O. Box 143, Clifton Heights, PA 19018

c.  Via Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc. Wells Fargo Checking Account #: 3931972677; Routing #055003201  

d.      Guests who pay for their tickets will receive a confirmation email or text message and your parking and admission passes for the event. Your name will be written in our official guest list and on our website ( in the “Booking” Section.

e.  The guest list will be updated every week as we approach the actual date of the event. But, if you do not see your name on our website, it means your payment was not confirmed. In addition, if you made your payment through one of the organizers, please contact that person to express your concern. If your payment is confirmed, then you are required to present the parking pass to the parking attendant to park your car and admission pass you will present to the ushers at the entrance of Merion Tribute House where the coat attendant will check in your winter coat and the usher will check the master guest list to confirm the ticket package you purchased and direct you to your seat. Please note tips for the parking and coat attendants will be highly appreciated.

2.      Arrival Time (5-6 PM)

a. Due to the participatory nature of the event, all organizers are required to be at the Merion Tribute House no later than 4 PM. We will have access to the building no later than 2 PM for the caterer to set up and guests are advised to begin arrival between 5-6 PM to park your cars and be seated.

b. The Tripartite Anniversary will begin at sharp 6 PM with the traditional welcome ceremony that includes the presentation of white kola nuts, pepper and salt, and white chalk. For ladies wearing make-up, you may just dip your forefinger in the plate with the powder and place it on your forehead before you take your seat.

c. The next ceremony is the traditional African Jewish Peace Ritual: lighting of the fifteen candles representing the fifteen counties in Liberia on the Peace Altar. A member of the audience from each of the 15 counties of Liberia will be called upon to light the candle for their county. There will be an extra candle for all guests from the global community.

d.  An intercessory prayer will be said by a member of the clergy present and Rabbi Gbaba and all guests will exchange peace greetings and/or do the Liberian handshake before taking their seats.

3.  Tripartite Dinner (6-7:30 PM)

The Tripartite Dinner will be served buffet style. The chief caterer of the evening will give a brief introduction of the Liberian delicacies she will prepare (Potato Greens and Jollof Rice). Mrs. Kou Kargbo will explain the Torbogee dish. For now, the main course will include Potato Greens and Rice, Jollof Rice. Toborgee will be prepared by Mrs. Kou Kargbo at the request of her husband, Dr. Nyanquoi Kargbo. Hors d’oeuvres include baked chicken, baked salmon, vegetables and fruits, punch, ginger bear, champagne, wine, and water. The finalized menu will be provided a month before the event in December.

4.  Official Fundraising Activities (8:00-9:30 PM)

a.  Welcome remarks: Mrs. Lynda Buesmaill-Tall, Chair, Organizing Committee (5 minutes)

b.  Bidding Process (naming of entire building or portion of the building and/or a specific cultural program in honor of a loved one) to be explained and presented by Mrs. Juliana Dixon, Chair DATI Ways and Means Committee and Assisted by Mrs. Irene Roberts-Gulley, Co-Chair, DATI Tripartite Organizing Committee and Mr. Timothy Gardiner, Chair, DATI Board of Directors (30 minutes)

c.  Recognition of Grand Patrons, Patrons, Sponsors, and Guests: Statesman Joe Monyue, member, DATI Board of Directors (10 minutes)

d. Remarks by Dr. Nyaquoi Kargbo, member, Outreach Committee (10 minutes)

e. Remarks by Vonjo Tommy, Sponsor, DATI (5 minutes)

f.  The Tripartite Ball (9:30-11 PM)

Published by DATI Public Relations Unit, September 20, 2023