On Europe Day, 9 May 2017, the European Union launched a re-edition of the book “Legends of Liberia”. Since the copy Number 1 was offered symbolically to H.E. President Johnson Sirleaf, this book sponsored by the European Development Fund and illustrated for the first time, has been on a journey across the nation.
Originally compiled upon the request of President W.V.S Tubman by Peter Pinney, Australian explorer who travelled across Liberia in the 1950s, the EU is donating copies of the re-edition of the book to cultural and education institutions across the country. Speaking at the launch on Europe Day, the EU Ambassador Tiina Intelmann said “We have brought this book back to life because it belongs to the Liberian people and the country’s cultural heritage should be preserved and promoted”. She also added “Language, culture and traditions are the foundations of a country’s cultural identity and the orally transmitted stories from the sixteen tribes of Liberia deserve to be remembered for many generations”.
The book has so far been donated to the libraries of all universities, community colleges, Rural Teacher Training Institutes and the Teachers’ Colleges of Liberia, public libraries, reading centres and many key institutions and renowned Liberian education and culture “icons”. The book has wide potential application in the education and cultural fields and can be used in so many different ways: in teacher training and classroom teaching, reading fairs and activities with young children, youth animation, theatre and play, music production, just to name a few.
The journey of the “Legends of Liberia” has not ended and in the coming weeks it will be formally handed over to more libraries, the Liberian Association of Writers, the National Museum in Monrovia, the National Archives, the National Traditional Council and other key entities.
The European Union supports the dissemination of this book in an effort to contribute to preserving the tradition of storytelling in Liberia, and to pass it on to future generations because culture and traditions are the foundations of any country’s identity.