The Rabbi Joe Gbaba Peace and Cultural Festival Kicks Off April 15-17 in Harper Maryland County
... in Celebration of DATI's 45th Anniversary
By Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc.
The Rabbi Joe Gbaba Peace and Cultural Festival officially commences on Friday, April 15, 2022 at 5 AM GMT with slaughtering of a bull to give thanks to Almighty Younsuah for the peace we enjoy today in Liberia under the administration of the Weah government and with the help of the international community. The cow is also being slaughtered to appease the spirits of our forefathers so that our land will be cleansed of misfortunes and the blood that was spilled during the Liberian civil crisis.
The traditional ritual will be supervised by Chief Zanzan Karwor, Chairman of the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia and co-administered by a Bodioh (traditional Grebo/Kwa High Priest) and Grebo elders with DATI Peace Advocates as co-participants and witnesses. DATI Peace Advocates will witness and participate in the ceremony as a teaching and learning experience for Liberian youths who are not conversant with such an important traditional rite that takes place during a traditional feast.
The three-day festival is expected to bring together hundreds of students, traditional elders, Liberians and foreign nationals and tourists who are eager to sightsee and experience the display of Liberia’s rich and diverse cultures. Below is the calendar of events for those who are interested in attending The Rabbi Joe Gbaba Peace and Cultural Festival in Harper City, Maryland County, Southeastern Liberia.
Calendar of Events
Friday, April 15, 2022
The three-day festival begins at dawn early Friday morning, April 15th with the traditional animal ritual sacrifice. A bull will be slaughtered at 5 AM GMT. The rite will be administered by traditional elders and the event will be recorded as part of DATI’s cultural research agenda.
The soccer tournament is named in honor of Honorable Timothy Gardiner, DATI-U.S.A. Board Chair. First African American to chair DATI's Board of Directors in 45 years!
The ritualistic animal sacrifice will be followed by the Timothy Gardiner Peace Soccer Tournament at the Martha Tubman Sports Stadium in Harper City, Maryland County. The tournament starts from 7:45 until 5 PM. Five local high schools in Harper will vie for The Timothy Gardiner Soccer Trophy. Both the trophy and soccer event are named in honor of Honorable Timothy Gardiner, Chair of DATI-USA Board of Directors.
Five high schools in Harper City will vie for The Timothy Gardiner Peace Soccer Trophy. Mr. Timothy Gardiner is an African American married to our own Liberian daughter named Munah Somah-Gardiner and he is the Chair of DATI U.S.A. Board of Directors. Participating schools include Our Lady of Fatima, J.S. Pratt United Methodist High School, Cape Palmas High School, John Hillary Tubman High School, and East Harper High School. Admissions to the Olympic games is 50 Liberian Dollars.
The Timothy Gardiner Trophy
The Rabbi Joe Gbaba Performing Arts Concert at Harper City Hall: Friday, April 15th 6-10 PM
Guests of The Rabbi Joe Gbaba Peace and Cultural Festival guests will be entertained at the Harper City Hall by some of the most talented local artists in Maryland County. They include but are not limited to Super Culture Dance Crew, H. Godbless Collins, John Navies, Christian Paul, M.G. Kyle Drag Group (Skinny Boi, Captain, C.M.Chatta, Emmanuel Thompson), and "DATI's Nightingale", Statesman Oliver P.K. Griffiths, among others. They will feature original music and cultural performances that represent the various ethnic groups and communities in Maryland. The various artists will vie for The Rabbi Joe Gbaba Performing Arts Trophy. The Master of Ceremonies for the evening will be Statesman Shadrach Davis, valedictorian of the DATI Maryland Gbenelue Chapter Cohort II Graduating Class of 2022. Stateswoman Philomena M. Arkue will introduce the occasion for that night. Admissions to The Rabbi Joe Gbaba Performing Arts Concert are: Ordinary $200LD and Patrons $500LD
Saturday, April 16, 2022: DATI Peace and Cultural Parade and Pageantry Feast:7:30 AM-10 PM
The highlight of The Rabbi Joe Gbaba Peace and Cultural Festival is the DATI Peace and Cultural Parade and Pageantry. It will blow your minds away because the event itself is a tourist attraction! Participants include the various cultural troupes in the region, traditional elders, students from the 15 counties in Liberia, immigrants from neighboring African nations, and members of the local communities in Harper, Pleebo, and adjacent villages and towns.
All participants, including tourists, are required to be dressed traditional African attires. There will be Grebo and Kru war dancers carrying traditional artifacts, relics and wearing make-up. In addition, all those who intend to watch the spectacle are also required to wear traditional African attires to exhibit great pride in our cultural heritage as Liberians and as Africans. Participants of the DATI Peace and Cultural Parade and Pageantry will assemble at the Merry-Go-Round opposite the Mt. Scott United Methodist Church in Harper and march through the principal streets of the city. The parade will end at the Harper City Hall with an indoor program. The Master of Ceremonies is Statesman Oliver Garlo. The occasion will be introduced by Stateswoman Jeanet G. Toe.
The Festival Dinner and Delivery of Cow Head Sauce to Traditional Elders
During the festival dinner, there will be a traditional ceremony during which the head of the women who prepared the festival dinner and cooked the cow head will bring the pot bearing the sauce with the cow head in the hall. The women will do a traditional dance and chant before delivering the cow head sauce to the elders and attendees of the festival feast. Chief Zanzan Karwor, Chairman of the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia is expected to receive the cow head sauce from the caterers, bless and thank the ladies for their service and then grace the food before the guests can eat the meals prepared for the feast.
DATI 45th Anniversary Program
The formal DATI 45th Anniversary Program starts immediately after dinner is served. The occasion will be introduced by Stateswoman Jeanet G. Toe of DATI Maryland Gbenelue Chapter Cohort I Graduating Class of 2019. Eight DATI Peace Advocate trainees who successfully completed their training in Peace Mediation, Conflict Resolution, and Cultural Awareness will take oath and be sworn-in as DATI Peace Advocates. Seven are members of DATI Maryland Gbenelue Chapter: Statesmen Shadrach Davis (Valedictorian of Gbenelue Chapter Cohort II), Oliver P.K. Griffiths, David T. Hinneh, George Grear, Jr., Ambrose Brilliant Weah, Jr., and Stateswomen Nelly Sieh-Dweh and Christina Quayee. There is only one graduate from DATI Montserrado Dougbor Chapter, Statesman Cyrus T. Gblinwon.
Professor Statesman Jerry Mwagbe will swear in the new DATI Peace Advocates and then Statesman Shadrach Davis, the valedictorian of 2022 Class, will deliver his peace message to the audience. Stateswoman Nelly Sieh-Dweh of Gbenelue Chapter Cohort II Graduating Class of 2022 will introduce DATI’s 45th Anniversary distinguished Guest Speaker, Stateswoman D. Sheba Brown, Chair of DATI-Liberia Board of Directors. Mrs. D. Sheba Brown will deliver her keynote address to the nation and people of Liberia on the dire need to promote peace and reconciliation and preserve the rich and diverse cultures of Liberia. Her speech will be followed by greetings from DATI Montserrado Dougbor Chapter to be delivered by Statesman Henry Fayiah Tamba, Acting Director of DATI Dougbor Chapter. The Executive Director and Founder of Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc. will present a virtual message to the audience from his residence in the United States where he has lived for the past twenty-five years. Meshach Sieh Elliott, Director of DATI Gbenelue Chapter, will give the vote of thanks.
The “Bah Noh Deh Doh” Theatrical Production
The last item on the calendar of events for Saturday, April 16th is the dramatic production entitled “Bah Noh Deh Doh”. It was written, directed by Dr. Joe Gbaba’s playwright apprentice, Statesman Alfred J. K. Nugba. The play narrates a land feud between two Grebo villages and DATI Peace Advocates intervened to peacefully resolved
Sunday, April 17, 2022: Thanksgiving Service
A Thanksgiving Service is expected to be held on Sunday and a brunch to be followed at the residence of Stateswoman Philomena M. Arkue’s residence. The exact venue and address of the thanksgiving service will be furnished later.
How to Donate to DATI Kukatonon Peace Project in Liberia
1. Via Post: Make check or money order payable to: Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc., P. O. Box 143, Clifton Heights, PA 19018:
2. Bank Transfer Info: You can also make payment through Dehkontee Artists Theatre, Inc. Wells Fargo Checking Account#3931972677; Routing #055003201;
3. Cashapp: $JosephGbaba (267) 973-1709.