The name Anna Moneh Quiwah may not have been a household name in Liberia but she was the obvious reason why Africa was able to produce an African soccer World Best Player.
That heroine remains the only reason attributable to Liberia’s proud blend of the only African country that has produced the first and only best African living soccer legend in George Manneh Oppong Weah. In short, without her, there would have been no George Weah; without Ma Anna, there would have been no ‘First African to become FIFA’s Best Player’, a fate we may never see in our current generation and possibly the next ones to come.
But on March 6, 2013, the day Ghana, her host country observed its 56th Independence Anniversary and two days prior to the celebration of all women under the internationally acclaimed International Women’s Day, Mother Anna succumbed to death in the Ghanaian capital, Accra. That was the day the ‘King of African and World Football’ lost his mother.
Probably more hurting is that she was just a month away from celebrating her 64th birthday.
The death of the Liberian woman whose fruit of her womb was to later become a global icon is worth memorializing, especially during this time of International Women’s Day as it becomes my prayer that she will be forever remembered among Liberian mothers who did everything to produce great statesmen for our country.
A mother of nine surviving children, out of 13 she gave birth to, Ma Anna did not restrict her motherhood to just the ones she physically gave birth to.
As a refugee in 2003, I personally encountered her in Accra, Ghana, few weeks after my arrival from Lagos, Nigeria. In less than an hour, my acquaintance with her seemed like one that had lasted for years. Her Teshie Nugua residence was home to several Liberians with no breathing space; yet, she didn’t mind.
Few minutes after our introduction, I then later asked her in Bassa how she was managing with the house-full of so many people in a foreign and economically-hard city like Accra.
“My son, even you yourself can live here now if you like. I don’t worry about many mouths to feed because it is God that provides”, she replied in her most-loved Bassa vernacular.
And that is where Moses Weah, one of her children, is right when he told me via mobile phone: “Our mother will be dearly missed. She was indeed a true mother to all”.
The late Ma Anna was good-humored and most of all, very much humanitarian by nature.
“If there is anything that people who lived close to her will forget, it certainly won’t be the way that woman used to love everybody, including strangers. She opened her home to everyone everytime….to that I can speak openly”, remarked another Liberian who knew the late Ma Anna during her refugee days in Ghana.
With the passing on of Ma Anna, I join the rest of Liberia and Liberians including friends, loved-ones and the relatives of the Weah family to express my deepest condolence. But one more thing, please: Ma Anna is not dead. She lives on, especially among those who she covered and extended her maternal blessing to.