UK-based Liberian writer releases new book

palm

Beyond the Palm Trees’ begins with the historic arrival of American Free Black Slaves in what was known as ‘Grain Coast’, now called ‘Liberia’, and further illustrates how the acquisition of land began in the country that paved the way to the establishment of the famous ‘Oil Palm Plantations Company’.

‘Beyond the Palm Trees’, written by Liberian social anthropologist Dr. Henry Maurie Lassie, reflects the story of a young man from the hinterland of Liberia whose primary ambition to marry and live a normal family life was negated by a series of misfortune.

It began on the eve he met his newly wedded wife in bed with another man. Aggrieved by this event, the young man gave up the marriage and put the issue behind him. Yet still in life, he married another beautiful woman who produced him two lovely sons.

However, due to his frequent and prolonged absence from his village often without his wife, the young man one day returned home and met his wife heavily pregnant for another man.

Disillusioned with these unfavourable social circumstances in life, the young man decided to permanently leave his beloved village in search of a manual work in the newly established oil palm plantations company. And with the experience of two consecutive failed marriages behind him, the young man lost faith in all women and vowed never to keep one as a wife for the rest of his natural life. But when faced with the trauma of loneliness in his new environment he decided to reverse his vow. And while returning home one evening from a regular habit of drinking Bamboo Wine at a popular venue, the young man came across a beautiful young lady wandering in the cover of darkness not far from his dwelling unit in the plantations. 

Dr. Henry Maurie Lassie

Dr. Henry Maurie Lassie

Obsessed with traditional hospitality and sympathy for strangers which instantly impressed the stranger, the young man and the lady instantly fell in love with each other and apparently embarked upon a relationship that resulted into a hasty traditional marriage. But barely five years down the line, the marriage broke down when the young man uncovered an illicit affair between his wife and the area manager under whose supervision he had worked for the past twenty-two years. The area manager in fear of retribution hastily prompted an early retirement of the young man as an excuse to evict him from the plantations’ housing unit.

In the mitigating circumstances, the area manager rushed to his home village called ‘Lopolu’, to seek juju protection and to equally urge the juju men to kill the young man. Having lost his job, his wife and his dwelling unit but not his life, the young man decided to revenge by putting an end to all juju activities in Lopolu. This objective was achieved through trickery and deception when the young man eventually went and confiscated every fabric of juju paraphernalia from Lopolu and returned to his new locality where he practised the newly acquired juju skills to his own advantage. But this venture apparetly affected the livelihood of other people in the oil palm plantations company and beyond.

Among those badly affected was the revered leader and founder of the ‘the African Apostolic Faith’, a Pentecostal Spiritualist establishment within the plantations. And in the ensuing rivalry between Christianity and traditional belief system, the African Apostolic Faith lost most of its members to the newly self-declared juju man which in turn, decreased the weekly intake of the church with devasting effects. 

This literature is a fiction but has certain elements of cultural truths and practices that still hold sway. This story does not reflect the true images of persons who may still bear the actual names of its main characters; there’s no entity known as ‘Oil Palm Plantations Company’ in Liberia; and apart from the village of Nyandemoh-Lahun in Lofa County, there is no settlement in Liberia known as ‘Lopolu or Freeman Town.

amazon.co.uk

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