Watochen — Alexander Cummings, political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), has charged Liberians to promote and preserve their cultural heritage. Mr. Cummings further said that the culture of a group of people is their identity.
He made the call during this year's Klebo Clan's cultural festival held in Watochen, Maryland County. According to him, people and culture are inseparable.
The ANC political leader expressed delight that the people of Klebo Clan have been so passionate and committed to the preservation of cultural heritage. According to him, society and culture are intertwined.
Cummings' attendance at this year's Klebo Clan festival coincided with his nationwide tour which he began in Maryland County last week.
Also speaking, the Senator of Maryland County, Gbleh-bo Brown, said it was an honor to share the stage with Cummings, particularly in identifying with the people of Klebo Clan. "This is not just a great day for the people of Klebo Clan but it is yet another rewarding day for the people making up the six towns that formed this clan," he said.
Senator Brown hailed the people of Klebo Clan for remembering the sufferings endured by their fellow kinsmen. "This is so remarkable. Our people have shown a great sense about their culture. I am happy to be part of this event," he said.
Held from January 13 to 18 2020, the festival was full of colors and fun. It was, indeed, a festival of African dance, music and other performing arts.
On the opening day, drum sounds reverberated in the surroundings and tribal songs were sang in the typical dialect of the Watochen people in that part of Maryland County. Ahead of the day, the town had been decorated with fine colors to add beauty to the festival.
Among the highlights of the day were dances, traditional songs, food sale, local brewery (palm wine) and imported gins.
For those three days, politics took a back seat in the clan, as everybody was soaked in culture of their clan.
Organized by the six towns making up Klebo Clan, led by Nelson Neal, paramount chief of the town, the festival was part of the clan's efforts to remember 22 of its citizens who were apprehended by former President William V. S. Tubman in 1968.
According to Neal, in 1968, an armed officer came in the clan to collect taxes for government and reportedly drank alcohol and misplaced his arm and President Tubman declared Marshall Law on 22 residents of the town and sent them to jail.
Neal said: "During that time, people died, women were raped, and people were beaten while others were killed. This is why we celebrate this day."
Over the years, Klebo Clan people have been noted to host different festivals that have evolved into widely participatory events featuring extraordinarily rich musical traditions and dance.
This year's event, which showcased the rich cultural heritage of Maryland to the rest of country, equally created opportunity to harness the talents of the people to build an art and cultural economy that could support the county in all spheres. The festival also featured arts and crafts exhibition, dress fashion and musical concerts.