Young Liberian Musician narrowly escapes Death as his Home burn to Ashes


Monrovia – Fifth grade Duke Randy Loveland alias ‘Ziggy Ray’ a young musical prodigy, will on today (Monday) attend school without his regular uniform, note books because his home on Thursday evening gutted by fire and burnt to ashes without retrieving anything.

Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo, [email protected]

They were three in the house including his two-year-old cousin and grandmother.

Ziggy, his cousin and grandmother were entrapped in the house until their grandmother fought their way.

According to Ziggy’s dad, Lorenzo Loveland, the generator that is only operated by key exploded while it was about to start.

“If not for my mother by now there could be no Ziggy neither Ivy, I am grateful to God and my mama,” he said.

Loveland, videographer and promoter of Liberian music, entire studio burnt to ashes including his new equipment he recently purchased from the Unites States.

He told FPA “Ziggy being his natural self understands what has happened, but believes in us to return things to normal. From his innocent perspective. That is what he wants and expects.”

Loveland said Ziggy will return to school but hoping that the school will accept him without his regular uniform as the family will “hustle” to get him back on course along with cousin.

Sondia Martha Tubman, Ziggy’s grandmother, is the founder and general overseer of the Word of Life International Ministry accompany by a school, both buildings got damaged in the fire.

A nearby apartment experienced minor burn.

Ziggy Ray was born on May 29, 2009 to Loveland, a videographer and Marthaline Joe.

Two years ago, the nine-year-old rocked the stage for the first time at the Cathedral Catholic School and thanks to a video recorded by someone in the crowd, he became an internet sensation as it went viral making him a household name on the Liberian music scene and the newest kid on the bloc.

He raps in the popular Liberian genre of Hipco, preaching against child abuse etc. His debut single, ‘Ziggy Ray in the Building’ received high ratings and is still on radio chat shows in Monrovia.

Off the stage, Ziggy is under the strict discipline of his grandmother who also doubles as his manager, making sure he does his homework on time and doesn’t misbehave.

He’s having the best of both worlds – a disciplinarian grandmother, loving parents and whole lot of music.

“He does his homework and he is disciplined whenever he goes contrary; he studies his lesson and he’s an ‘A’ student,” says his grandmother Rev. Sondia Martha Tubman.

Though he’s a celebrity to Liberians, at home Ziggy Ray is an ordinary boy who attends the Len Millar Salvation Army School and his favorite subjects are Mathematics and English.

It’s hard to believe he’s humble and shy when interacting with him as his pouted messages against child labor are winning him hearts and minds.

Ziggy the musician is also Ziggy the kid who cries for bread and sweets from his grand mom.

His talents are well useful in serving his grandmother’s church.

“I’m a child, I nah [I’m not] supposed to be selling on the street. You my ma, dah [that or it is] you supposed to be taking care of me.

The fire truck came fast surprisingly 20-25 minutes to rescued the situation but Ziggy’s home was burnt leaving his grandmother with nothing.

February 2018, the Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS) said most fire outbreaks occur in and around Monrovia, the nation’s largest population center.

LNFS named common causes of the outbreaks to the burning candles, electrical faults, mosquito coils, etc.

The fire service said the situation is made worse by the lack of running or pipe borne water, in most parts of the capital, that can be accessed in case of fire outbreaks.

It can be recalled that prior to the civil war, fire hydrants were installed around the city from where fire hoses could be attached to provide a continuous flow of water to fight fire outbreaks.

The LNFS with close support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 2015 released a five-year strategic plan outlining where the institution wants to see itself within five years.

The LFNS stressed the lack of budgetary support was severely constraining its ability to effectively discharge its functions.

The strategic plan also emphasized the need for training of firefighting personnel as well as provision of the requisite firefighting equipment including fire proof garments, hoists and other related equipment.

Currently, the Fire Service boasts of only four (4) fire trucks to serve a population of 4.3 million people distributed across the 15 counties of Liberia with total manpower strength of about 600 persons. It also has a total of six substations around the country with half of that number in Monrovia while the remaining three (3) substations are located outside Monrovia in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, Buchanan in Grand Bassa and Harper in Maryland County.

Each of the substations located in Monrovia have a fire truck but none are in full working order while the remaining substations in the counties have no fire trucks at all. Although the LNFS strategic plan calls for the construction of 11 additional substations around the country and the provision of adequate firefighting equipment and trained manpower, it appears that such considerations may lie far at the bottom of the country’s priorities.