By Madam Lebogang Chaka, CEO, Afro Visionary Legacy
I am writing this from my home in South Africa, a land that owes much of its freedom to Liberia like many African countries. A white candle with sage burns on South African soil in honour of this your passing as your father Col Walter Maxwell Pelham Sr welcomes you home. Munah, your passing is not only a loss for Liberia but for the entire African continent.
There is an African proverb that says, “It is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life”. The reason this proverb comes to mind is because Munah lived her life as fierce as a lioness, she was at the forefront of building her nation till her last days. I met this majestic leader on the shores of Ghana in May 2017 where we were both speakers at the Sheroes Conference.
As a speaker that has spoken across the continent, I meet a lot of young Africans but as Liberians, you would agree that once you have met Munah, you never forget her warmth. Munah stayed my Senior Sister and will forever be that. My first memory of Munah when I heard of her passing was walking the streets of Accra with her and her telling me of her journey from being a model to being a servant of the people. She told me of how fulfilling it was to serve and how she would have members of her community knocking on her door at all hours asking for assistance.
What struck me as we were walking under the moonlight of Accra, jumping from one shop to another was the sparkle in her eye when she talked about serving her people. She talked about a young boy who came to their office seeking assistance and he was ignored, she talked to the young boy who ended up having a radio station that later assisted her to mobilize. As we walked the street, she was recognized greeted by the people and she would reply ever so gracefully. It was at that moment when we walked over to buy a kente dress for me and she negotiated on my behalf that I fell in love with this humble leader.
On the 26th July 2018, I was fortunate to visit Liberia during its Independence Day celebrations, I had known for some time that she had been ill and I was overjoyed to see my senior sister recovering and at home in Monrovia. I spent the Independence Day with this angelic leader and the same humility that I had seen in her spirt in Ghana, I saw in her land. She was kind to those we met, she was giving to those she could help, she was not only open-handed but most importantly, open-hearted. I was in Liberia for a cause close to my heart and as gracious as she was, she helped me reach my goal. It is a cause that I still hold close to my heart and will ensure that in a due cause, I fulfill the promises made on that trip to the people of Liberia.
Honourable Munah Pelham Youngblood, you are to me what all young Africans should aspire to be. A voice that never once said, I am too young. A bold leader, a mother to Sarafina, a wife to Dr Youngblood, a daughter to your mother. You are the epitome of beauty, grace, eloquence, and strength. As a Pan African speaker, I promise to continue to tell your story. A story of a young leader that dared to call for the re-writing of the Liberian History.