Rose Kebbeh Kaiwuh is a journalist and presenter with Truth FM and RealTV in Monrovia. She hosts three programs FOCUS ON WOMEN, a program that looks at issues affecting women in Africa and the world at large, CONSUMERS WATCH, a program that digs out expired and and contaminated products on the Liberian Market and MOVIE EXTRA, an entertainment program.
Rose’s reporting on issues affecting women and children in Liberia has brought her attention from the Liberian public, the Diaspora and the international community.
Rose had a long difficult path to journalism. She was one of four children raised by a single father who worked as a janitor and then office assistance for the US Peace Corps in rural Liberia. Rose’s father was determined his children would go to school and he and the children worked long hours growing food to sell in local markets to pay school fees.
When the war came in 1990 rebels threw the family out of their home. One put a knife to 15-year-old Rose’s throat and only her father’s pleading stopped him raping her. Rose still carries a large scar. They walked to a refugee camp that had no food or water. Rose’s father became weak so Rose went out to the forest to find something for the family to eat. She was detained by warlord Charles Taylor’s forces, accused of being a spy and jailed for 3 weeks with little food or water. Her father died heartbroken, assuming his daughter was dead. “After my father’s death I was forced to move on with life. Losing my dad was like losing my own life, he was all I had; I wept for months,” she says.
Two of Rose’s siblings were killed and the third died of illness. Alone and under constant threat of rape in the refugee camp, Rose made the choice that many orphaned children make in war: she joined Charles Taylor’s forces even though she blamed them for the death of her father. She believed it was her only way to survive.
“I saw so many horrible things during the war. I saw women and children being slaughtered with swollen dead bodies lying along-side the roads. I felt the heat of the war seeing babies killed their mothers and fathers…. But I had to survive.”
Rose was a radio scanner and was later sent to the frontlines to monitor enemy communications. After the war she moved to Monrovia and put herself through high school. She is now undertaking her undergraduate degree part time.
“I wanted to be a journalist to tell those ugly and unhuman stories, not only the ones I experienced but those that are yet to be told. I know there are so many ills in our society that need to betold. We are working towards that.”