Monrovia has been everything over the decades – a splendid African capital brimming with elegant stores and faces, a party city monitored by sheriffs wearing secondhand US police uniforms, a war zone marred by bullet holes and a broken-hearted city struggling to climb to its feet. Now aid workers are packing their bags, Liberians are returning from the US and Europe and the city is forging a fresh identity.
Walk along Broad St, Monrovia's main boulevard, and you'll hear the original beat of locally brewed hip-co and the gentle rhythm of Liberian English. You'll see the architectural ghosts of Monrovia's past and the uniformed school children of its future. You'll watch entrepreneurs climb into sleek, low-slung cars, market men sell coconuts from rusty wheelbarrows and models sashay in tight jeans and heels. Monrovia has shaken off many of its old epithets and is infused with a new, exciting energy.