Haja Kinii Sombai-Goe
Our Matriarch, Haja Kinii Sombai-Goe, a God-fearing and devoted servant of the Almighty, has died at age 90. She died in her eldest daughter's home in Monrovia, Liberia on Saturday, May 3.
A staunch business woman in her early to mid years, Ma Kinii, as she was affectionately called by many, was popularly known as the "Bread (bray) Woman" in Bomi Hills (Tubmanburg) for her tasty light bread sold throughout the city.
She and her then husband, Elick M. Johnson, transitioned to Bomi Hills in the early 1950s with three infant children from Monrovia (staying briefly in Brewerville) where her husband worked with the Liberia (iron ore) Mining Company as the chief carpenter. They settled in Damballa, on the outskirts of the city, a block away from the Allen Yancy Elementary School, which would later serve as a buffer for her business endeavor.
Although the home-maker wife, now with additional children to care for, Ma Kinii developed her bread-making business from scratch to becoming a major source of pastry for students and teachers at the nearby school, as well as residents of the Damballa community. Soon, as an after-school chore, her children, two mainly, became citywide distributors of her bread, making her a household name in Bomi Hills, especially among mine workers. Ma Kinii would later develop business partnership with a Lebanese merchant, from whom she would take consumer goods on credit and sell them to diamond mining workers in the outlying areas for profit.
Seeing potential in the mining business, she obtained a license to prospect for diamond. Unfortunately, after investing all she had earned without proper advice, the mining business took a nosedive, and along with it, all enthusiasm for business.
Ma Kinii's devotion to her faith was unwavering. A very stalwart and steadfast Muslim, she made multiple pilgrimages to Mecca. For her, Ramadan, a period of fasting and supplication, was not 30 days, as is customary. She always observed an additional seven days of fasting before ceasing. From early 1962 until her health declined severely about a year ago, she fasted every Monday from sunrise to sunset. Few of her children followed her lead into the Islamic faith. Although she is sorely missed, she is in a better place enjoying the reward for her years of labor.
Haja Kinii Sombai-Goe was buried Sunday, May 4 in Kon Town, Garwula District, Grand Cape Mount County, her late husband, Paramount Chief Momoh Goe's hometown. As is customary in the Islamic faith, a third-day after-death sacrifice was observed on Tuesday, May 6, to be followed by another moment of sacrifice on the seventh-day after her death. A 40th-day feast is being planned in Kon Town. Details on the date of the feast will be announced later.
In addition to her parents, Ma Kinii was predeceased by several siblings including brothers: Varney Sombai, Momoh Sombai, Edwin Varney Gbesse Freeman, Siafa Sombai, Randolph Ellis and one sister, Haja Tata Sombai-Sheriff. Her youngest child, Richard Foday Freeman, died in the latter days of the civil war in Liberia.
She is survived by her children, Ella Freeman-Coleman (Joseph, deceased), Fred "Johnson" Freeman (Philomena), Emmanuel Siafa Freeman – "Bray Boy" (Felina), Tenneh Freeman, James "Jimmy" Kiazolu, and Bindu Freeman. Two brothers, Sekou Sombai, Roland Z. Sombai, and one sister, Jassie Sombai-Mulongo. Several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends, also survive her.
For additional information, please see the following:
Contacts in Liberia
Ella Freeman-Coleman 886-585-647
Fred Freeman 886-409-600
Tenneh Freeman 880-990-130
Bindu Freeman 886-952-765
Edmund Kai Freeman 886-514-635
James "Jimmy" Kiazolu 886-270-184
Contact in the U.S.
Emmanuel Freeman (Felina) (229) 347-5253
Georgia Freeman (301) 220-0956
Jassie Sombai-Mulongo (714) 862-4447
Roland Siafa Sombai (Mary) (917) 575-2901
Mimmie Kinii Freeman (714) 330-7144
Elick "EJ" Freeman (229) 347-5253
Tata Ellis (Marvin) (289) 218-61