Celebrating and conserving our culture is a way of life for many of our people. Even though many say the practice of culture has totally vanished from Liberia, while Western values have eaten up the soil of Liberia and Africa at large. For these reasons, there are many Liberian children who do not understand their culture and the way of life of their ancestors.
Unlike many towns around Liberia, Dimeh Town in the Dowen District of Bomi County, has vowed to make culture a top priority in their community, noting that the way of their fathers cannot be forgotten.
It was revealed by the Chairlady of the Town, Madam Janet Rogers that the community has been practicing its culture since they were born and took over from the elder people they met there.
She noted that before a child becomes a matured man or woman, they are trained in the ways of their fore-fathers.
“Our main expression of our culture here is dancing, so all the women in this town —one way or the other— know how to dance. Their Cultural education has nothing to do with their Western Education. We make it our duty to teach them our culture before they become old enough to go to school,” she explained.
She said out of appreciation to their culture, the women of Dimeh founded a women’s dance troupe to entertain visitors during important occasions and ceremonies.
She said the masked dancer known as “the Country Devil” will wear a white clothe signifying Purity and togetherness.
“Because of the way we have treated our culture in this part of the country, we have had international guest from all parts of the world come and talk to us about how we respect our culture,” Madam Rogers explained.
“When our culture is practiced in the midst of a certain group of people, there is much more love and unity than expected. Our children know the meaning of respect and they know what it means to be obedient,” she said.
Madam Rogers explained that girls in the Sande bush no longer spend a long amount of time there. “The bush only opens when the girls close their regular schooling activities. We decided it should be that way so that the girls would not get distracted from regular Western school,” she said.
However, she said the community would continue to attach values and respect to its cultural heritage.
Like other Women performing on the ceremony marking the 26th anniversary of the late Bai T. Moore, 4 year old Bendu Sonnie, beautifully danced to one of the native songs that was sung in the Vai dialect.
According to onlookers around, little Bendu has been a part of the cultural team for almost a year. It was revealed by others that she has expressed a lot of interest in cultural dance and it is possible that she might continue dancing in the future.