-Says Dr. Edna Molewa, South Africa’s Minister of Water and Environment
The life of Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, who rose from a poverty-stricken background to go on to hold several senior government positions in Liberia, has been documented in a book titled, “From Foya to the Capitol.”
The biography, written by the visually impaired Dr. Sakui Malakpa, digs deep into the early life of the Vice President from Foya to his journey to Monrovia for education, which came at an incredible cost, including severe hardships that greeted his arrival in Monrovia, to his legacy in public service.
“From Foya to the Capitol” opens with a remarkable foreword by President Sirleaf and then quickly moves to the VP’s birthplace in the remote village of Worsonga in Foya District, and then to his job as a janitor at the then elite College of West Africa (CWA) to complete his high school education at that same school.
The must-read book later moved on to look at the struggles VP Boakai went through while at the University of Liberia, where he earned his first degree, in Business Administration.
We then follow his public professional sojourn, which started with him as a manager at the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation, to becoming Minister of Agriculture.
Well written with a lively narrative, the book is a motivational document that encourages young people to have faith in their ability to achieve their dreams, no matter the situation.
At the book launch over the weekend, South Africa’s Minister of Water and Environment, Dr. Edna Molewa, who is also chairperson for international relations of the African National Congress (ANC), described the book as one full of many lessons.
Serving as keynote speaker at the launch at the Executive Pavilion, Minister Molewa noted that the first lesson anyone reading the book would learn is that, despite the VP not having any luxuries as a child, he never saw his life as hopeless, never blamed people for his condition, but worked hard and focused on education to achieve greatness.
Dr. Molewa said another lesson one can draw from the book is openness and transparency, very crucial virtues the VP possesses.
Dr. Molewa, a political activist, was detained several times during South Africa’s apartheid regime. She added that the “book is inspiring and motivational” and that “everyone should grab a copy to read.”
“Another thing everyone should learn from this book is that in life, we need to persevere through education before we succeed. Let us give this book to our children because in it lies inspiring, motivational and good moral character lessons with which anyone can learn to become a better person tomorrow,” she said.
Before Dr. Molewa’s recommendations, she opened up a discussion about the historical ties that exist between Liberia and South Africa.
Dr. Molewa said that there still remains many hills to climb, referencing Nelson Mandela’s seminal autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom.” She told the audience that South Africa decided to choose the path of peace and prosperity and growth, and Liberia must emulate that example to sustain her peace.
In response, VP Boakai noted that his biography is neither about a monarch, a war history, nor about an iconic celebrity, but rather about someone who came from a poor background to become the nation’s 30th Vice President.