These Abandoned Buildings Are the Last Remnants of Liberia’s Founding History

THE HOUSE OF WINSTON TUBMAN LIES IN RUIN IN LIBERIA. IMAGE GLENNA GORDON.

THE HOUSE OF WINSTON TUBMAN LIES IN RUIN IN LIBERIA. IMAGE GLENNA GORDON.

These Abandoned Buildings Are the Last Remnants of Liberia’s Founding History

In the front parlor of a dilapidated mansion with a god’s-eye view of the Atlantic a group of young men huddle around a light fixture that washed in from the sea and is covered in barnacles. They chip away at it with a hammer and a machete to open it and see if it can be made to work. They are not having much luck, a commodity that is in short supply around here. The building has no electricity or running water. Wind pushes through broken windows. There are holes in the roof. Rainwater has collected in puddles on the grand marble staircase and throughout the house, a faded yellow modernist structure on the edge of a cliff in the sleepy city of Harper in southeastern Liberia about 15 miles from the border of Ivory Coast.

The short iron fence that surrounds the regal mansion, known locally as “the palace,” bears a monogram—“WVST,” for William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman, Liberia’s longest-serving president, known for his 27 years of autocratic rule beginning in 1944. But the home of the man called “the father of modern Liberia” because he opened the nation to foreign investment and industry is now in ruins and occupied by squatters, a symbol of how decades of political turmoil have shaken up the old order established by freed American slaves.

Black Tomato Heads To Cape Town's Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art & Silo Hotel

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Black Tomato Heads To Cape Town's Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art & Silo Hotel

CR Fashionbook hooks up with London and NYC-based luxury travel innovator Black Tomato in The Art-Lovers Guide to Traveling the World

Scanning co-founder Tom Marchant's enticing list, we paused in Cape Town, where the recent opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), the largest collection of contemporary African art in the world. Located in the newly renovated Silo district, the impressive building (once a Grain Silo Complex) has been reinvented by renowned architect Thomas Heatherwick and is a totally unique space that fits into the African context.

The best place to sleep is at the newly opened Silo Boutique Hotel, built in the grain elevator portion of the historic grain silo complex occupying six floors above Zeitz MOCAA. Take a look at The Silo rooms, designed as a modern African feast for the eyes.

Does Burberry's Iconic Plaid Have Ties To The African Disaspora?

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A quick search on the history of plaid brings us to this PS Magazine article, deeply rooted in British history and especially Scotland.  One look at the styling in this high-impact image of Burberry's iconic plaid featured now at Interview Magazine online takes us to a more familiar story, a GlamTribale journey older than Scotland, one that begins in Africa. Models Elizabeth Ayodele, Sarah Abney and Ana Pau signal "a revival of '90s cool ~ with a colorful, ultra-modern twist." 

Progress! We move on to CIAD, the Costume Institute of the African Diaspora, with a UK web addy. CIAD's mission "is to be the main port of call for information regarding costumes, fashion history, textiles and textiles construction from around the African Diaspora and in so doing create a bridge between cultural organisations worldwide."

There's nothing more important to GlamTribal than the stories of human history and humanity's deep connections to Africa. It makes no sense to me that the British Empire invented plaids. The true story must lie in the reality of the African Diaspora, and further investigation is required.

One of our featherweight GlamTribal decoupage beads uses an African tile pattern. Both necklace and earring sets shown here also feature woolly mammoth decoupage beads and woolly mammoth bone beads 10,000-100,000 years old.  Like the so-called Scottish plaid found on a long-buried, 3.000 year-old Caucasian Cherchen Man in China in 1978, these woolly mammoth bone beads are most-likely from Siberia. Both discoveries are a long way from the African continent; yet scientists believe they have deep roots in Africa.

This is our story of human history, and GlamTribal is sticking to it, until science makes paradigm-changing discoveries about our journey to now. 

Our shared cultural history is a fusion stew of borrowing, blending and sometimes outright stealing the creativity and beauty created by others.  This historical truth is lodged in immense pain, suffering and outright domination of some people for the success and privilege of others. We cannot rewrite that history -- the journey to now --but we can connect the record.

Equally important, we can acknowledge and also honor the birth of  humanity and human civilization in Africa. It's our shared DNA, and white nationalists -- reinforced by cultural and religious institutions -- can try to rewrite truth, but the scientific record is clear. GlamTribal is sticking to this story, too.  ~ Anne