A special souvenir program honoring a distinguished Liberian tailor and country cloth designer of Kolahun District, Lofa County, was held on Sunday June 19, 2016 in Monrovia.
The program marked the 132nd birth anniversary of Alhaji Muana Kamara, which means that Alhaji Muana (which in Mende means “We are here) Kamara is the world’s second oldest living human being.
The first, according to The Inquirer, a Liberian daily, is Madam Klayonoh Bleorplue of Nimba and Grand Gedeh, Over 150 years old.
The Internet records the oldest living person as Madam Misao Okawa of Japan, who turns 117 years old today, June 22, 2016. The world’s fourth oldest person is Madam Susannah Mushaft Jones, an African American from Brooklyn, New York, who is 116 and 311 days.
Alhaji Kamara was born on May 27, 1884, during the administration of the 11th President of Liberia, Hilary Richard Wright Johnson. He was President from January 1884-1892. Alhaji Kamara was born four months after President Johnson took the oath office.
The old man, Alhaji Kamara, vividly remembers his life under the presidency of the following Liberian heads of state: Hilary Richard Wright Johnson (1884-92), who retired when Alhaji Kamara was only eight years old; Joseph James Cheeseman (1892-96); William David Coleman (1896-1900); Garretson Wilmot Gibson (1900-04); Arthur Barclay (1904-12); Daniel Edward Howard (1912-20); Charles Dunbar Burgess King (1920-30); Edwin J. Barclay (1930-44); William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman (1944-71); William Richard Tolbert Jr. (1971-80); Samuel Kanyon Doe (1980-90); Dr. Amos Sawyer (1990-94); David D. Kpormakpor (1994-95); Wilton G.S. Sankawulo (1995-96); Ruth Perry (1996-97); Charles McArthur Gankhay Taylor (1997-2003); Charles Gyude Bryant (2003-06); and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2006-present).
The President that Alhaji Kamara most vividly remembers is President Tubman. Old Man Kamara recalls that President Tubman was the one the President that did more than most “to open up the interior of Liberia.”
The official ceremony was held at the Larkpazee residence of the honoree, Alhaji Muana Kamara, who was born in Grand Cape Mount County in the year 1884, during the administration of.
Chief organizer and sponsor of the honoring program, Momo Boima Kamara, proprietor of African Country Cloth Tailoring and Design Shop on Camp Johnson Road, said he undertook the initiative as a mark of respect for his mentor and teacher.
At the well-attended ceremony, the honoree, the 132 year-old country cloth designer and professional tailor, Alhaji Muana Kamara, urged Liberians that unity and prayers are key recipes for nation building.
Alhaji Kamara added that in unity there is strength and in sustained prayers there is a great deal of success stories and splendid achievements.
“In doing anything on the planet earth,” Alhaji Kamara cautioned Liberians to, “Pray all times, even if one wants to go do business, office work and work on the farm.”
Another successful tenet of life, according to Alhaji Kamara, is to always try hard to be humble and to forgive those who most often hurt or hinder one’s development, growth and progress.
He has visited the Holy City of Mecca in Saudi Arabia four times and stated, “There is no special medicine there, but prayers and supplication to God for directives and commands.”
Alhaji Kamara further urged those who graced the occasion to hold together and tolerate each other every day, no matter what the circumstances may require.
Alhaji Kamara also reminded Liberians, his children, grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren and relatives that for one to attain a long life span, honesty, kindness and sincerity are the hallmarks.
Telling his story, Alhaji Kamara narrated that at the age of 15, he moved to Sierra Leone to further his education in design and tailoring; and after many years of studies in Sierra Leone, in 1919 he returned to Popalahun, Lofa County, at the age of 35, where resided for a year.
Later, he migrated to Kolahun based on an advice from the late Honorable Jusu Dunor to help mould the minds of the youth in design and tailoring.
Alhaji Muana Kamara produced the first country cloth in Kolahun, which he made from cotton, designed with colorful threads.
In 1920, the country cloth was manufactured into gowns that attracted everyone who saw his handy work especially, Honorable Jusu Dunor.
This became a traditional dress code for chiefs and elders in Lofa County.
In 1925, Alhaji Kamara introduced modern sewing machines to his students and people of Lofa County and taught 126 persons in tailoring and design, an initiative that spread the profession to other countries.
In 1942, he made his first visit to the Holy City of Mecca, which was a first for a Muslim from Kolahun District.
Old man Alhaji Muana Kamara has been blessed with 87 biological children, 174 grandchildren and countless numbers of great grand as well as great, great grandchildren in and outside of Liberia.
In a statement delivered on behalf of all children and grandchildren, one of the youngest sons, Moivarney Kamara of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), expressed gratitude to the Almighty God and Allah for the long life given their father, grand, great grand and great, great grandfather.
During the program, one of Monrovia’s leading country cloth designers and tailors, Momo Boima Kamara, gowned old man Alhaji Muana Kamara and his wife Haji Meito Kamara in appreciation of the old man’s mentorship and blessings.
It was Alhaji Muana Kamara that trained Momo Boima Kamara in tailoring and country cloth design. Momo therefore took the initiative, with the blessings of the children, grand, great, great grandchildren to organize the program in honor of Alhaji Muana Kamara.
Alhaji Kamara still has, by the grace and mercy of God, all faculties intact. Alhaji Kamara can still talk, which enabled him to make his speech on Sunday, though very slowly.
He was born to the union of Mr. and Mrs. Senesee Kamara of Grand Cape Mount County.