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Sierra Leone News: Govt. declares Madam Yoko’s grave a National Monument

Madam Yoko, sourced from MRC archive

Madam Yoko, sourced from MRC archive

The Government of Sierra Leone through the Monument and Relics Commission (MRC) supervised by the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs has over the weekend declared the grave site of the late Madam Yoko a National Monument.
The declaration which took place at the grave site in Moyamba town in Kaiyamba chiefdom in Moyamba district is in pursuant of Section 10 of the Monument and Relics Act of 1962. It comes 110 years since the death of the iconic first woman Paramount Chief in Sierra Leone and leader of the Bondo Society.
Giving a brief history of Madam Yoko during a grand ceremony at the chiefdom’s town hall, a pupil of St. Joseph’s Convent in Moyamba narrated that Madam Yoko who lived between 1849 and 1906 can be remembered for her influential leadership role she played not only within the Sande society but also the entire Kpa Mende confederacy adding that she was a tutor for young girls in the areas of home management and marriage life. Madam Yoko she said rose to the rank of Queen of Senehun and had diplomatic interactions with the British in colonial days.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dixon Fofanah said the occasion was to show respect to the late Madam Yoko. He went on to say that she demonstrated strength and that young girls should emulate her fine example. “Many have died but we did not declare their graves as national monuments. She was not educated and though a woman at that was very strong,” he maintained.
He also said the proclamation would bring financial benefits to the district and therefore pledged government’s continued support to the Monument and Relics Commission.
Addressing the crowd, a descendant of Madam Yoko, Jacob Aruna said his relative was being celebrated because of the style of leadership she exhibited during her time.
Stakeholders present at the ceremony also applauded the venture of the government to proclaim the grave site as a national monument. They committed themselves to ensuring the security of the site.
The program was climaxed by the pouring of libation at the grave site that was accompanied by traditional performances by members of the Sande society.
By Edna Smalle
Tuesday December 06, 2016

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