Legendary Songstress Yatta Zoe Launches New Storytelling Initiative

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1949
Ma Yatta Zoe

Liberia is a land of rich tradition, history and culture. But nowadays, traditional stories which are to be passed down from one generation to another for an important life lesson, are not being told.

This situation has left thousands of young Liberians unfamiliar with their heritage and the history of culture. Nevertheless, on November 29, 2019, iconic folklore singer Yatta Zoe will launch a nationwide cultural campaign to reawaken a passion for storytelling among Liberians of all ages to change the narrative.

“Traditional storytelling is one of the greatest tools we have to build not only the curiosity and creativity of our children but also their sense of empathy and belonging. It allows us to build connections with each other by passing on knowledge and providing a shared experience, while at the same time being important building blocks of literacy learning,” Madam Zoe noted.

The iconic traditional folk songstress, who is widely known by many as the queen of traditional Liberian music, has toured Africa, Europe, and America where she networked with renowned singers like the late Fela Kuti and thelate South African Mariam Makeba.

Ma Yatta Zoe, as she was affectionately called by peers released several hit songs including “You took my Lappa, ‘All the Pocket Pickers’ and ‘Young Girl Stop Drinking Lysol.’

In the latter part of her career, she worked as a costume designer, recruitment officer and trainer of the former national culture troupe at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism and took part in several international arts and culture festivals.

The theme of her new initiative, “Telling Stories, Not Lies”, will kick off with the Mano River Youth Heritage Awareness Fest.

According to the folklore singer, the “Telling Stories, Not Lies” is intended to encourage factual storytelling among older generations to attract young people’s attention to the truth rather than lies.

“We need to start telling our traditional stories or else we will lose our identity. Traditional stories need to be told because they teach us lessons, instill morals and values and often, simply to entertain us. These storytelling moments stay with us throughout our lives and become some of our most cherished memories.”

“Factual storytelling not only encourages a great way of learning about one tradition but also teaches us important lessons in life and builds a sense of unity, she said.”

Madam Zoe further explained that during the launch of the heritage fest, she will highlight former President William V.S. Tubman’s cultural vision for the future generation and what can be done to achieve it.

“President Tubman might not be loved by everybody, but he was a passionate cultural enthusiast. If all Liberians can emulate his passion for culture, we will not be suffering from cultural identity crisis,” Madam Zoe added. “Currently, Liberia is at a crossroad when it comes to culture promotion and preservation. If nothing is done in time, we will not be able to redeem the situation.”

Madam Zoe will launch her initiative to revitalize Liberia’s lost cultural heritage and historic properties on Thursday, November 28, 2019 at the Cachelle Courtyard on Cheeseman Avenue in Sinkor.

On Friday, November 29, Madam Zoe will stage the first Mano River Youth Heritage Awareness Fest, under the theme: Telling Stories, Not Lies. The program will be held on Providence Island, Monrovia.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Ma Yatta Zoe,

    Thank you very much. We are looking for Liberians like you to put us on the right track. We highly encourage your initiative.
    This is what we call an accomplished leader. God endowed you with a talent, you have successfully lived on it and are ready and willing to pass it on to future generation by reawakening the entire country on our cultural identities. You have my greatest admiration. I pray that other Liberians will see what you have done and try to emulate you. Thumbs-up Ma!

    Samuel Eto’o Fils, the legendary and iconic Cameroonian football star, has just been admitted to Harvard University to study MBA. Given the quality of education he already has and given the many successful businesses he has around the around, he has decided to prepare himself to take over the management of his business empire, reason for enrolling at Harvard.
    Eventually, if he decides to become president of his country, he will be acclaimed by all, given his experience in running his own business and academic background.
    I just wished our legendary and iconic footballer could have followed suit.

    Look at the mess the country is currently in “Dr.” Weah. The last time I visited Liberia, you had a television station that could not even emit beyond central Monrovia, yet you were bent on ruling an entire country.
    As the only African Ballon d’Or holder, Liberian football is not sterling; low continental participation rate, no continental trophies, no sporting infrastructure in your “beloved” country Liberia, practically no Liberian youth partaking in competitive football in Europe, etc, etc.
    This God-given talent, what have you done with it to benefit your country? Were you given such talent to reduce us (Liberians) to rubbles?

    I believe each of us will answer questions before the Divine Throne. May God protect the innocent children of Liberia, Amen!

    • Petarus Dolo., please stay on the subject matter instead of bringing politics into this issue. We are talking about Yatta Zoe here who wants to bring back stories telling so what does that have to do with Samuel Eto going to Harvard or the government?

  2. Yes👍 indeed! We need to know our past; through “TELLIING STORIES”. It says a lot about who we are. Let’s learn about our once upon a time great leaders; Lamco Lippy, Suah Coco, Buzzi-the greatest of the Lorma Kings and the many others; who are not mentioned in Liberia’s History and Literature. Thanks; to Ma Yatta-Zoe.

  3. Culture and identity issues are critical to a Liberia in transition. I hope the media will work with culture icon Yatta Zoe on a communications strategy that will get her message to the hearts and souls of Liberians.

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