Not very often we find time to read pages from Liberian history. But along the pages of Liberian history are many movers and shakers that were in the thick of things in the build-up to formation of what is now called Liberia. Tom Thomas of our staff takes us down memory lane as he unravels a brief exploit of the reverred traditional leader of substance, King Sao Boso.Please read on.
Sao Boso was leader of the Condo Federation, which was basically based in Northern and Western Liberia before the arrival of the settlers. The King, who was from the Mandingo extraction and of the Muslim faith, was the leader that came from the current Gbarpolu capital, Bopolu, to Monrovia in order to bring together the settlers and the native people in the area, beseeching them to consider each other as members of one African legacy.
Sao Boso earlier led a combined army of Mandingo, Lorma and Gbandi warriors from Upper Lofa to set up a safekeeping corridor for traders and travelers along the highway involving Lofa and the coastal areas by way of current day Gbarpolu County.
When the truth and appreciative discussions were held in what is today Vai Town in Monrovia, dealing with the conflict between the settlers and the Dei/ Bassa people, the various councils, no doubt, drew on the ethical wisdom of their religious background; Sao Boso being a Muslim, the settlers being Christians, and the Mamba and Bassa people belonging to their African spiritual religion were able to eventually forge a pact of understanding for unity to prevail among the people.
Whether the principles of these three religions have translated into a clean system of control and governance with equal rights among the people can be visibly seeing in the existence of Liberia today.
Sao Boso’s ability to put together an associate type administration of autonomous chieftaincies with a leg on each side of the vast territory from the then Tuma River to the Coast, and from the Lofa River in the West to the St. Paul River, contributed immensely to the attainment of a cohesive country now called Liberia.
Sao Boso brought together his rivals in one management, including Chief Zuwulo of Fuama, grandfather of the late Senator Botoe Barclay of Bong County. The events and peace efforts of the King were distinctly recognized about 150 years later when a successor of the settlers, President William R. Tolbert, renamed Front Street in Monrovia as King Sao Boso Street.
Okay indeed, if we had taken practical lessons of mutual absorption from the Bassa Chief Zangar who preached the ideals of unity and addition between the settlers and the indigenes, we would have had an unlike Liberia today.
In fact, King Sao Boso was one local chief that intermingled with many traditional chiefs of Liberia and African intellectuals who were the forerunners of the intellectual exploits of Liberia.
For example, George Padmore, William E. B. Dubois Edward Wilmot Blyden were some of the most ardent intellectual advocates for the adjustment of the rich African culture among the settlers.
Benjamin J. K. Anderson, a middle level official in the government of President James Spriggs Payne, alleged in the growth of Liberia by the involving of the interior people with the coastal settlers, with guidance from King Sao Boso’s son, Sao Momolu, BJK.
Anderson traveled to the Western Mandingoes in Musardu, where the Mandingo Chief, Vabulaye Dulleh expressed enthusiasm in becoming part of the emerging Liberia.