Liberia: TAMMA TV CEO Wants Liberian Culture Revived
-As Lofa County wins maiden edition of National Heritage and Cultural Challenge
The recent activities that characterized the successful hosting of the maiden edition of the National Heritage and Cultural Challenge (NHCC) might have brought back some fond memories to Abdullah Kamara–a lover of the African tradition and a cultural enthusiast.
Kamara’s Tamma Corporation, which operates TAMMA Television, was the host of the NHCC that saw cultural performers from the 15 counties displayed crafts and performances that are akin to their culture, traditions and values. The maiden edition of the challenge was won by Lofa County.
As the founder and Chief Executive Officer of TAMMA Corporation, Kamara told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview how he was touched and overwhelmed by the level of performances displayed by the participants. The interview was held on Thursday, February 2, 2023.
“Our culture and tradition are rich and vibrant. We need to uphold the values and pass them unto our kids and other generations to come,” he said.
Kamara's reflection on the roles that culture played in the life of the Liberian state and in building peace, love and unity among Liberians in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, has triggered a revolution within him. He wants to, with the help of like-minded people, embark on a revolution to revive the country’s culture and bring back its heritage to prominence.
He expressed dissatisfaction over how Liberian culture is looked down upon nowadays. He has therefore called for the revitalization of Liberia’s culture to ensure that young people understand their own culture and also practice it. Kamara said Liberians must do all to keep the culture alive.
“Our culture used to be renowned in the 60s, 70s, and 80s and this led to people traveling from different countries to come and see our cultural performances. Now, we want to make sure that our young people understand things such as inter-marriages, our warriors, historical figures, and many others,” Kamara told the Observer while highlighting the achievement of the maiden edition of the NHCC which climaxed on January 28 in Congo Town.
Hosted by Tamma TV, a subsidiary of Tamma Corporation, the challenge initially witnessed the participation of Liberia’s 15 counties but only 11 counties later transitioned to the village for the exhibition due to lack of funding or support from the four counties leadership.
Kamara said he is delighted to see the maiden edition of the National Heritage and Cultural challenge unearthing talents and educating young people about their culture and will continue to improve and ensure that young people understand their culture.
Kamara said the 11 counties participated strongly and showcased their culture from their various counties and as always there’s one winner and Lofa County was crowned as the winner with a cash prize of US$40,000.00. He said Lofa County extreme performed excellently, followed the rules in the village throughout their stay, and got the huge vote needed to win the exhibition.
“The National Heritage and Cultural Challenge saw people who understand Liberia’s culture and people who can provide complete entertainment relative to Liberian culture, stating “we have people that can sing and dance and good actors and actresses as well as natural leaders.”
Kamara, there’s a gap in talents as well as a lack of support to develop new talents of young people but expressed optimism that young people understand their own culture because they are willing to learn and understand these things.
“We have our young people who don’t understand how many kola nuts a man needs to carry to get a wife. We have young people in their 20s who have never visited their village or county. We will offer the platform and those who participated and performed well are now being provided a TV show to continue,” Kamara said.
“Interestingly, I have to give the Grand Bassa County team transportation to go to Bassa and these are people who have never been to Bassa. They decided to go and meet with family members and relatives to learn about their culture and this is the wonderful aspect of it, especially changing people's lives and making them understand their own culture. Having over 40 persons participating in the process, this was a rewarding experience for me,” Kamara said.
He said there is a lot to be done in reviving Liberia’s cultural heritage and called on the government and Liberians in general to support initiatives geared towards reviving Liberia’s culture.
Kamara said three of his children abroad do not know or understand their culture and many of the children live in Liberia therefore, there’s a need to educate the young people about their own culture.
Kamara said Maryland County had a special way of showcasing its culture which was admired greatly.
“The Vice President Chief Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor visited the village and was very impressed and many people have now developed an interest in the initiative and started calling to form part of it. Even a movie director from Nigeria called to work with us,” he said.
“We have to travel across the country to create awareness about the process and ensure that the 15 counties are fully involved and also prepared, which was done in 2022. However,
Kamara said that some of the counties did not give support to the process which led to them reaching out to individuals for support including Dabah Varpilah of Grand Cape County, Jefferson Koijee of Lofa County and others, stating “these individual supports was based on their interest in seeing Liberia culture and heritage grow.”
Kamara said sadly, Nimba, Cape Mount, Gbarpolu, Bomi, and River Cess counties dropped barely three days to the transitioning to the village for the exhibition indicating a lack of support from the county authorities and people in their counties thereby leaving only 11 counties entering the village.
Meanwhile, TAMMA Corporation, the parent company of TAMMA TV, and host of the National Heritage and Cultural Challenge are involved in entertainment with two Channels on SACOM ( channel 2&3) and it’s focused on promoting local content and is also on Facebook and YouTube.