MONROVIA – For almost every Liberian, Dr. Joseph Saye Guannu is a name that clicks and exhumes scholarly memories of history, diplomacy and statesmanship. It is so, not only for those that read his books as academic requirement while in school, but also for those that gained their education before he came to the limelight.
After obtaining his secondary education in Liberia and tertiary and other higher degrees including a doctorate in the U.S., Dr. Guannu became a bombshell in the company of authors of Liberian history by not only authoring several books that up to date remain text books, but by also rectifying several errors in Liberian history.
However, the once revered icon who has become a household name in Liberia; especially in the education parlors, is now sadly bed ridden – confined to a wheelchair at his private residence in Sanniauellie. A narrow, rocky road from the heart of the city leads to his current home in a quiet neighborhood in the Fahngalo Street community.
His caregiver is grandson Prince Guannu. The once busy educator, diplomat, pen pusher and researcher, has suspended all of his projects due to ill-health coupled with aging condition. The historian was born at the inception of World War II in 1940. He lately began piecing together the History of the Origin of Nimba, according to Prince. Dr. Guannue may not also undesirably complete that project due to illness.
I entered Dr. Guannu’s residence – colored lemon green and adorned in attractive flowers with sweet fragrance. He’s wearing an African shirt and resting in a cushion chair with legs across a table.
Speech is something he’s now also struggling with, letting few words out momentarily. An interview with him was therefore out of the question. But he nonetheless, recognizes and greets people.
He has authored several books, most notable of which are Liberia History before 1857, Liberian History up to 1847, The inaugural addresses of the Presidents of Liberia from Joseph Jenkins Roberts to William Richard Tolbert Jr. (1848 -1976). Others are An Introduction to Liberian government: The first Republic and the People’s Redemption Council from 1983-1985, Liberian Civics 2004-2010.
The Perennial Problems of Liberian History 1989, and Nation-states and challenges of regional integration in West Africa, among other captivating and educative writings.
The Guannus are a proud family and Prince made it emphatically clear they were not out appealing for support and that his grandfather is being well cared for. Guannu is father of five – most of whom are in the United States.