Liberia: The Cultural Gap

first_imgMonrovia – Growing up in Liberia, whenever I call my name, I garner the stares and expressions of a name that sounds too strong or otherwise traditional. In fact, I get the feeling from facial expressions that the name belongs to another world, especially in my case, as both names are purely Liberian indigenous names. While in secondary school, it was worse. The calling of my name was greeted with instant laughter, jeers and intentional mispronunciations, intended to instill humiliation and fear. I remember many colleagues couldn’t bear the emotional bullying associated with bearing traditional African names and opted to have their names changed. This is typical of the average Liberian classroom where western names are pronounced with distinction and claimed with pride but traditional Liberian names are wrongly pronounced and treated with disdain. The name carrier bore the burnt of the struggle and left to face the accompanying degradations.The name scenario is a tip of the iceberg of the extent to how wide Liberians have negated their culture with western cultures, and in some cases other African cultures over their own cultures. A Liberian would prefer to be proudly called by another West African name and claim lineage to that country or ancestral history, but would refuse to proudly bear his name given under sacred conditions by his or her grandparents. Treasured and rich names with deep history are relegated to borrowed names. There are varying examples to the nature and breadth of how Liberians have abandoned their cultures over the years to diffusing and assimilating completely into others. This trend has affected generations to such a dangerous extent that there remains a major gap in the culture. Major tribes have histories of their founding fathers and how they came to being but have chosen to ignore those stories, completely forgotten to speak native dialects, hence a whole generation of young children grow up unable to speak their dialects. Ironically, the inability to speak one’s language comes with a false sense of sophistication. The ignorance of one’s history and cultural practices meant a man was too ‘civilized’ to conform. The reality is sad. A society without a clear definition of its history and culture has no foundation to build upon, and no purpose. We have a completely shattered appreciation of our culture from clothing, cuisine, language, history, etc. Every society has a signature delicacy that is known by foreigners upon entering that country. We have several dishes, from hot cooked palm butter and bitter roots to potato greens with red palm oil, bitter balls mixed with okra and fresh water palm oil to torborgee and rice, palava sauce and rice, domboy and pepper soup and GB with wollor soup. These are delicious delicacies that can be marketed and possibly exported to showcase the kinds of food we eat as Liberians. Culture is the melting pot of a group of people and the lining that binds us together. How many average Liberian kids understand the relevance and role of traditional chiefs, traditional dance ceremonies for birth, funerals, and other occasions?There is a surge in learning how to speak like other West Africans, copying their accents, but afraid to identify with our own accents. We have to develop ourselves and develop a spirit of cultural identity.Cultural identity is often defined as the identity of a group, culture or an individual, influenced by one’s belonging to a group or culture.A developmental psychologist, Jean S. Phinney, formulated a three stage model describing how this identity is acquired.The first stage, unexamined cultural identity, is characterized by a lack of exploration of culture and cultural differences – they are rather taken for granted without much critical thinking. This is usually the stage reserved for childhood when cultural ideas provided by parents, the community or the media are easily accepted. Children at this stage tend not to be interested in ethnicity and are generally ready to take on the opinions of others.The second stage of the model is referred to as the cultural identity search and is characterized by the exploration and questioning of your culture in order to learn more about it and to understand the implications of belonging to it. During this stage you begin to question where your beliefs come from and why you hold them. You are now ready to compare and analyze them across cultures. For some, this stage may arise from a turning point in their lives or from a growing awareness of other cultures, and it can also be a very emotional time. This is often the time when high school students decide to go on an intercultural exchange program.Finally, the third stage of the model is cultural identity achievement. Ideally, people at this stage have a clear sense of their cultural identity and are able to successfully navigate it in the contemporary world, which is undoubtedly very interconnected and intercultural. The acceptance of yourself and your cultural identity may play a significant role in your other important life decisions and choices, influencing your attitudes and behavior. This usually leads to an increase in self-confidence and positive psychological development.It seems we’re walloping in the first stage of cultural identity and are mimicking other cultures and taking the opinions of others about ourselves. Until we realize who we are, where we come from and what we want, the road to the future would be blurred, and we risk becoming cultural chameleons.Lekpele Nyamalon is a Liberian writer and poet, an OSIWA Poetry fellow and can be reached at: nyamalon@yahoo.com Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Baseball, softball league champs garner top H-DN awards

first_imgMcKinleyville >> Fortuna’s Hailey Dolcini earned her fourth Humboldt-Del Norte League Softball MVP award and Eureka’s Ethan Fischel, St. Bernard’s Garrison Finck and Ferndale’s Taylor Watkins also picked up MVP honors as the H-DN All-League baseball and softball awards were announced on Friday.Dolcini capped off another stellar season with her fourth Big 5 MVP award after leading Fortuna to its fourth straight H-DN title and victory in the county championship tournament.The UC Riverside-bound …last_img read more

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SA recruitment on Facebook

first_imgJanine ErasmusTo many, Facebook is nothing more than a frivolous way of wasting time. Others consider it a useful way of keeping in touch with friends and family, especially those far away. Now a South African recruitment company is using it innovatively – for skills recruitment.Quest Flexible Staffing Solutions announced in April 2008 that it had launched a Facebook application designed to assess personality types and establish a line of contact between applicant and agency. The Work Personality Quiz is considered to be a first among recruitment companies in South Africa, says Quest managing executive Margot Errington. “Quest is a frontrunner in South Africa in developing and launching a Facebook application as a skills recruitment device.”There is sound logic behind the decision to launch on Facebook. According to internet information company Alexa, Facebook is the second most-accessed site from South Africa, coming in ahead of the likes of YouTube, News24, Amazon.com and Cricinfo. Online reputation company Rapleaf has released data that places more than half of Facebook’s 70-million users into a single age category. The 18-25 year category encompasses a full 52% of users, while 21% fall into the 26-35 year group. These are prime ages for employability.Quest is well aware of this, and aims to take full advantage of the potential for finding skilled professionals with this very unusual method. “The social networking environment of Facebook is an untapped community wherein skilled job seekers interact,” says Errington.In designing the application Quest also intends to brand itself as an innovator in the staffing solutions sector and source credible, qualified leads for positions offered, as well as creating a pleasant work-seeking association in people’s minds.Quest scooped the national award for the best human resources service provider in 2007. Awarded by the body known as Business Process enabling South Africa, the award recognises top achievers in the field of business process outsourcing.Getting connected with Quest and FacebookIn order to connect with Quest, users must add the application to their Facebook profile. Once this is done the user can take the test, which consists of 15 situations that may happen in the real workplace, and a choice of responses for each one. The responses will reflect the user’s style of decision-making and, says Errington, will help them establish what role they would be likely to play in a team.“Our Facebook application is essentially the first step in a recruitment process,” she says. When the test is completed a cartoon-like character corresponding to a certain personality type appears in the application box on the user’s profile page. The user can also choose to receive notifications of relevant job opportunities from Quest, based on their personality profile.The five outcomes have been matched to the letters of the Quest name: Questioner, Understander, Energiser, Soldier, and Terrier. There are two hidden personality types which may or may not be discovered. A short description of the basic characteristics of each type is given, along with a few suggestions for suitable careers.Dave Duarte, of learning strategy company Huddlemind Labs and one of the developers of the test, says: “We took a real psychometric test, the type which Quest might use to screen job applicants, and adapted the tone of the questions to suit Facebook’s fun social environment.” While Facebook is not a professional environment, it is used by many professional people and Duarte says that in developing the application it was important to balance this fact with the fun and social environment of the site.The Facebook phenomenonAccording to the most recent statistics released by the social networking utility, Facebook is used most by people in the US, followed by the UK and Canada. In order of active users, the remaining top ten countries are Turkey, Australia, France, Sweden, Norway, Colombia, and South Africa. Demographics show that South Africa has over 650 000 users, of which 37% are men and 63% are women.Users have over 20 000 applications to choose from, ranging from fun and often downright silly, to functional and productive. Facebook says that 140 new applications are added every day. And with over 250 000 new users signing up every day, the site is home to people of all kinds.While there are many quizzes available on Facebook, the majority of which are designed to reveal facts about users’ personalities, not all of them can be said to be particularly precise. Says Duarte, “The Quest quiz is fun but it is also scientific and accurate.” He adds that the accuracy of the test combined with the aspect of fun will encourage Facebook users to share the application with their friends and colleagues.Other companies are jumping on the Facebook bandwagon. South African human resource website HR Future has started a Facebook group, where users who join can stay up-to-date with relevant industry issues regarding human capital. The group is aimed at professionals in the sector – HR managers and directors, HR and business consultants, and other executives.Useful linksQuest PersonnelDave DuarteHuddlemindHR FutureFacebookAlexaBusiness Process enabling South AfricaHR Future Facebook grouplast_img read more

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Soccer City: jewel in 2010 crown

first_img7 October 2009 Johannesburg’s calabash-shaped Soccer City Stadium will be the jewel among the 10 stadiums that will host the first football World Cup to be played on African soil. Situated south-west of Johannesburg, a stone’s throw from the famous township of Soweto, Soccer City Stadium will host the opening ceremony and the opening and final matches of the 2010 Fifa World Cup™. Here it is on the Map Bigger than the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, the Stade De France in Paris and the Yokohama International Stadium in Japan, Soccer City will be one of the largest stadiums to host a football World Cup. Nearing 90% complete, with the pitch laid and work on the stadium precinct already well under way, the sheer scale of the stadium awed experts from Fifa and the 2010 Organising Committee South Africa (OC) during a recent stadium inspection tour. The stadium’s unique calabash shape will be seen by millions of television viewers around the world, and remain as an enduring symbol of one of the proudest moments in South Africa’s post-democratic history.Comprehensive design shift To take its place among the top sports venues in the world – such as the Olympia Stadium in Berlin, the Stadio San Siro in Milan, New Wembley in London and Bernabeu in Madrid – Soccer City underwent a comprehensive design shift. The original stadium, known by locals as the FNB Stadium, was almost completely demolished, with significant parts of the new structure being built from scratch, starting in early 2007. The budget for the reconstruction of the stadium – the biggest roofed stadium ever built for a World Cup final – is estimated at R1.2-billion. Stadium manager Brian Carter told BuaNews that the stadium’s seating capacity has been increased from 88 000 to 94 700 through extensions to the upper tiers around the stadium. In addition, 99 more suites have been added to bring the total to 184, with private boxes and VIP suites being built. “Eight television presentation studios, a soccer museum and a 300-seater restaurant are being built, as well as a parking area that will accommodate 15 000 vehicles,” Carter said. The International Broadcasting Centre that will house the world’s media for the duration of the tournament is under construction next to the stadium. Safa House, headquarters for Fifa and the 2010 Organising Committee, is also situated nearby. ‘Melting pot of African cultures’ However, the feature that will grab the most attention when the world of football descends on South Africa in June 2010 will be the stadium’s calabash-shaped design Selected from a number of competing designs, the calabash was picked as a uniquely African object and a recognisable symbol of the African continent. In Africa, the calabash is used for cooking food, traditionally over a fire. It is socially synonymous with family time, entertaining friends and sharing stories. “The calabash, or ‘melting pot of African cultures’, sits on a raised podium on top of which is located a ‘pit of fire’,” Carter said, adding that spectators and television viewers would get the impression that they were sitting inside a giant cauldron. For South Africans, the future Soccer City always evoke the original venue and its rich history. First built in 1987, the stadium has become synonymous with South African football and has hosted some of the best-known games played in the country, including numerous cup finals and South Africa’s victory in the 1996 African Cup of Nations. Rally to welcome Mandela from prison Soccer City is also remembered for the mass rally held to welcome former President Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990, when more than 100 000 people crowded the stadium to hear Mandela call for a non-racial, unified South Africa. Together with the newly revamped Orlando and Dobsonville Stadiums as official 2010 training grounds, Soccer City will entrench Johannesburg and Soweto as Africa’s premier footballing city. Construction at the stadium is expected to be completed in time for hand-over to Fifa and the 2010 Organising Committee by October 2009. The stadium will host the opening match of the 2010 Fifa World Cup on 11 June 2010, followed by group stage matches, a second-round match and a quarter-final. On 11 July 2010, the two best teams in the world will step onto the turf of Soccer City to determine which country will lift the Jules Rimet Trophy. Source: BuaNews and the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa Organising Committeelast_img read more

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ROUND 3: Pacquiao ends round strong with solid punches to Broner’s head

first_imgOil plant explodes in Pampanga town Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Manny Pacquiao, right, throws a left to Adrien Broner during the WBA welterweight title boxing match Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, in Las Vegas. APMANILA, Philippines—Manny Pacquiao again connects early in the round with Adrien Broner still using that jab to create distance.Pacquiao’s jab manages to shorten the distance as he pins Broner to the ropes only for the American to go for a clinch stopping the champion’s offense.ADVERTISEMENT ROUND 2: Pacquiao still the aggressor, Broner connects with a couple TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Broner is able to use his right straight but the most he can do is graze Pacquiao’s forehead.Pacquaio then connects with a left straight to Broner’s forehead.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsBroner tries to connect with another right straight but he hits Pacquiao’s guard and then receives a straight left to the face.Pacquiao then lands a couple to Broner’s head in the final seven seconds of the round. Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony PLAY LIST 00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony00:50Trending Articles02:17Keith Thurman gambling on himself to KO Manny Pacquiao in 1st round02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss View comments SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionlast_img read more

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Wind remains on firefighters side in bout with northern Alberta wildfire

first_imgHIGH LEVEL, Alta. — Despite heavy smoke, officials say a lighter wind out of the northeast has allowed for great progress on reining in a wildfire that’s forced thousands of people from their homes in northern Alberta.Authorities say the Chuckegg Creek fire remains out of control as it churns about three kilometres south of High Level, but favourable weather on Tuesday allowed crews to protect power poles west and south of the community.The blaze has eaten its way through about 800 square kilometres of timber, with the main area of spread on the northwest side away from town.Officials say crews using heavy equipment are making progress on a fire guard around High Level and parts of the fire perimeter.Nearly 5,000 people were cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nations on the long weekend when flames were licking at the southern edge of the town, about 750 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.The fire has been rated at a Level 6 — the most intense rating on the scale — which means flames are jumping from treetop to treetop in the tinder dry region.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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