A prominent member of the diaspora Liberian Mandingo community, Kalifala “KD” Donzo, has launched the Mandingo Koyunmalon award to inspire and motivate development and progress in the Liberian Mandingo communities at home and abroad.
Mr. Donzo who lives in Woodbridge, Virginia launched the award on July 4, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the honoring program for the former Deputy Police Director for operation, Abe Kromah.
According to Mr. Donzo, “For far too long our community lagged behind other Liberian communities in education and professional development. In post war Liberia, things are changing and in order to accelerate that progress, we are launching this award to be given to deserving personalities whose accomplishment and contributions reflect positively on the Mandingo communities in Liberia and abroad.”
He went on to say that the “Idea of awards is not a strange thing but this award is the first of its kind in our community and we want to call the attention of our community to the aim and objective of this award.”
The monetary value of the award is $1000.00 to be split between two outstanding Mandingo personalities whose contributions have impacted the Mandingo communities at home and abroad.” The award will be given once a year.
For the inaugural edition of the award, the two winners are Abe Kromah, former Deputy Police Director for Operation, Republic of Liberia and Nvasekie Konneh, the Liberian writer and the author of the book, “The Land of My Father’s Birth.”
Responding to question of how he came about selecting Abe Kromah and Nvasekie Konneh as the first recipients of the award, Mr. Donzo responded as followed;
“I strongly believe that it is about time that as a community we must appreciate deserving brothers/sisters in our community who have tirelessly worked over the years in the interest of our community. Take for example, the Nobel prize, it is an award given to people who are driving innovation in various fields to advance humanity. Awards of this kind appreciates and encourage people of all work of life to be innovative and bring the best to humanity. These prizes come with recognitions and as tokens of gratitude from us. So in our community, this award may be an initiative of one person but I believe it’s a challenge to every one o f us to step forward with creative and innovative ideas that will enrich our community academically, professionally and culturally. I know there are competent brothers/sisters in our community who are better off financuially and can undertake such initiative and I hope this will be a starter for them as well. I believe and hope that this effort will be the first of many of such awards to encourage progress in our communities.”
Going forward, according to Mr. Donzo, candidates for this award will be selected by a panel of five peoples who will go through the lists of candidates submitted by peoples from the Liberian Mandingo
communities . The committee will streamline their works over the years and how such works have positively impacted the Mandingo communities. The committee’s final choice of two individuals will be the recipients of the annual award.
The candidate list for this year 2015 came down to Prof. Alhaji G.V. Kromah, Nvasekie N. Konneh, Abraham K. Kromah and Joseph Sackor. “All these individuals have contributed meaningfully to the advancement of our community.” According to Mr. Donzo, “These are individuals whose works serve as wells of inspiration for our children who will step into our shoes tomorrow to continue our collective legacy.”
The announcement of the Koyunmalon Award was greeted with loud cheer during the honoring program for Abe Kromah on Saturday, July 4. It took many people by complete surprise, including the two award recipients.
Reacting to the award, Abe Kromah had this to say, “Over the years I have known KD to be a man of integrity in the community, a man the community can depend on in time of need and this award is just a manifestation of his hope and aspiration for the community. I am proud and very grateful to be one of the first recipients of this award. For me it’s not about the money but the good intention behind it.”
For his part, Nvasekie Konneh said,
“There are those who only talk and there are others who don’t only talk but act on what they talk about and KD is one of them. I am very surprised of this gesture on his part but at the same time very grateful. This shows that he has a deep feeling for the community and he’s committed to making sure it continues to progress. I really appreciate this award. It shows that the brother has great appreciation for our contribution in making the difference in our community.”