|161st Independence Day Orator Preaches Change|
|Published on July 28, 2008||Email To Friend Print Version
Dr. Sakui Malakpa, this year’s National Independence Day orator on Saturday gave a rousing speech appealing to Liberians and partners to reflect on the country’s 161 years of independence and institute changes in the country forward advancement.
In his speech, entitled “Hoping on the Inevitability of Change: Challenges, Chances, Choices,” Dr. Malakpa said Liberia has experienced colossal changes that must be looked upon as opportunities to make history.
The visually impaired Liberian professor and lawyer who is based at the University of Toledo in Ohio (U.S.), called for unity and reconciliation, an appreciation of the country’s diversity, and a rewriting of Liberia’s history.
Dr. Malakpa, a graduate of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, reminded Liberians that history must clarify, transform, and empower people to move beyond past wrongs.
“Liberia did not begin with the repatriation of American slaves and their establishment of the Republic in 1847,” proclaimed Dr. Malakpa, reminding everyone the country had a diverse array of indigenous inhabitants before the early 1800s.
He said that the encounter of indigenous Liberians and repatriated U.S. slaves was the first of many transformations that Liberia underwent.
Reflecting on the country’s long history, Dr. Malakpa said that change is an ongoing process in the professional lives of Liberians and the life of the nation. He encouraged Liberians to rise from intellectual slumber, and interrogate the past in order to derive a more comprehensive understanding of the country’s present state.
Dr. Malakpa also called for the change of Monrovia’s name, referencing Mozambique’s post-colonial renaming of the capital city to Maputo, to reflect Liberia’s indigenous past.
Dr. Malakpa appealed that Liberian languages and cultural traditions be incorporated into the curriculum of schools and institutions of higher learning.
A Diaspora Liberian, he also appealed to Government to develop a strategic plan to incorporate Liberians abroad in the reconstruction agenda of the country. He also proposed dual citizenship as a policy directive that will further encourage Liberians in the Diaspora, like himself, to engage with the country in a more meaningful way.
Dr. Malakpa thanked President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for a once in a lifetime opportunity, and said that she was “first among equals.”
He also paid tribute to the late President William R. Tolbert for sponsoring his education after the death of his parents and the development of his blindness at the tender age of 16.
Dr. Malakpa, proudly representing the Union of Liberians with Disabilities, said that an able bodied person is someone who is just not disabled yet, encouraging everyone to be mindful of the nation’s collective responsibility to Liberia’s disabled communities.
In the end, his message resounded with phrases about national reconciliation and unity, as he reminded Liberians that “we must see ourselves as one family.”
Meanwhile, President Johnson Sirleaf has conferred upon Dr. Malakpa the award of ‘Knight Grand Commander in the Humane Order of African Redemption (KGC/HOAR).’