— As Rediscover Liberia presents cash prize, awards to the 15 finalists
Lauretta B. Cisse, a 17-year-old student of the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU), was astonished and thrilled when she was announced as the First Place winner of ‘Mama Liberia’ Poem Challenge competition organized by Rediscover Liberia in partnership with the Liberia Poet Society.
Rediscover Liberia, which was sponsored by Lonestar Cell MTN, Monrovia Breweries Inc, among others, is a non-governmental organization that is engaged in showing the beautiful and hidden parts of Liberia as well as showcasing the talents of young Liberians. The event was intense, with over a hundred submissions. But the jury and voters rated Cisse’s poem as the best.
Ms. Cisse, who is a practicing journalist and a young prospect to look out for, came first among the top five after a competitive selection process by jury and voters. Cisse’s poem, titled “A Day Will Come”, is an assurance to all Liberians that a day will come when “we will rise beyond all expectation and where Liberia will again be great.”
Her poem was followed by others from Dixon Norbert Yiadom, Mohammed Madela Kemokai, Anja A. Ricks, and Emily Joyce Williams.
Speaking at the ceremony in Sinkor last Saturday, August 1, 2020, Sarah Evans, Rediscover Liberia Project Director, said poetry has always been a part of human life. “It is an art that captures the soul and spirit of one’s language and nation. A great poem can become a part of us forever.”
The poem ‘Mama Liberia’, she added, is one such example, effectively capturing the soul, spirit, and beauty of our country.
Prior to Independence Day, “we celebrate Mama Liberia by giving its people a platform to showcase their creativity through written and spoken word,” Ms. Evans said.
She indicated that during the current tumultuous period, the Mama Liberia Challenge united its people, stirring artistic passions and the patriotic sentiments of Liberia’s children on the cusp of their mother’s birthday.
According to her, the challenge is initiated in celebration of a video clip, which “we hope will inspire many to put into words what their beautiful and resilient country means to them.”
As an international organization, Ms. Evans said they partner with local organizations to join efforts with the government to portray Liberia’s image to the international world out there.
“Liberia is a resilient country, with resilient people, and we need a positive message to send out there.
“15 persons were selected out of almost 100 people who submitted their applications for the Mama Liberia Poem Challenge that we had in the past two weeks. Out of the 15 finalists, five came top, and Ms. Cisse was selected first,” she said.
She stressed that since the start of the competition, Rediscover Liberia has been creating promotional content for the country, adding: “We are making several video clips and documentaries based on the poem about Mama Liberia, and we release the poem video today, which is premier but also inspires us to reach out to the people, let them know and display poetry to them and what it is all about.”
Cash prizes and gifts packages worth over 100,000 LRD were awarded to the 15 finalists selected by the professional jury of the Liberia Poet Society.