“Our Culture Makes Us Very Unique, Different”

Liberia’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Madam Mawine G. Diggs.

— Commerce Minister tells Liberian Cultural Union

Madam Mawine G. Diggs, Liberia's Minister of Commerce and Industry, has urged members of the Liberia Cultural Union to promote young and upcoming artists in the country.

Liberia, she added, has a lot to give the world, but "we haven't tapped into it yet, and so with our intellectual property (IP) office, it is extremely essential to recognize that what you already have, no one can take it away from you either when you are brilliant and skilled.”

Minister Diggs made the statements on Monday, May 16, 2022, when members of the Liberian Cultural Union paid her a courtesy visit at her Congo Town Ministerial Office.

“As Liberians, we should love ourselves and love our own. People take so much pride in their culture, for example, the Nigerians, Ghanaians, and other African Countries in the sub-region. Our culture makes us very unique and different and I believe we ought to recognize and value it,” she said.

Minister Diggs, however, appealed to the union to be generous in their support of the country’s young talents who have what it takes to move the industry forward.

“We frequently desire to be like everyone else,” she noted, “yet Liberians are unique individuals. The importance of our gifts and talents cannot be overstated.” 

According to Minister Diggs, the purpose of the bicentennial celebration is “to highlight the culture, talent, arts, and natural riches that exist in our country, and you are all an important part of that; without you, there would be nothing to highlight. 

“There is nothing to show to the world without the artists,” she concluded. “It is also important to note that culture is not just the tribe you belong to, but also the food you eat, the clothes you wear, and the songs you sing, so I agree that we should listen to songs on the radio, but we also need to shift our attention a bit to our artists.” 

Earlier, Kekura Kamara, President of the Liberia Cultural Union, praised the government for its assistance to the Union over the years through the Ministry of Commerce. 

He stated that some of them have been involved in arts and culture since the 1970s, which is their passion, and are willing to do more for Liberia. 

Mr. Kamara revealed that arts and cultural programs were well-known on television at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT).

He said: “We used to look at government programs and other areas of national interest and review them on television every Sunday. We produced Malawala Balawala, which became a household name in Liberia. 

“It’s unfortunate, Madam Minister, that we don’t have these kinds of programs nowadays that portray genuine life. But we are grateful that you have allowed us to come here and express our gratitude today.” 

Since Madam Diggs took over as minister proper of the Commerce Ministry, he claims, the creative community has sensed her presence and wants to thank her for her partnership. 

“We have worked over the years and we know that today we have an IP system in Liberia, but the enforcement has not been forthcoming. As a result, we have not been able to get our just royalties. Today we get good news that you are enforcing it and we have seen it in recent times,” he said.