1 big Fijian family
15 March, 2018, 12:00 am
IT was a bright Thursday morning at the funeral of flying instructor Iliesa Tawalo and among the hundreds who attended the funeral was the Tui Magodro, Ratu Simione Vutevute.
He sat silently with tears rolling down his cheeks as he admired the qualities of the 31-year- old instructor who had maternal links to Bukuya, Magodro in Ba.
It was only after the burial that the chief was keen enough to share with this newspaper his heavy heart and how he admired the final burial rites for his vasu (Iliesa Tawalo).
It was in this conversation that Ratu Simione pointed out that he had only one thing to share with his fellow Fijians, that there was a dire need to weed out racism.
“Au dabe tiko na somate qo, au qai varaica na levu ni duidui mata tamata e ra gole vata mai me ra mai buluti Iliesa (While sitting here today, I am observing the many different races that have come to farewell Iliesa),” Ratu Simione said.
“E da raica kina na noda veivolekati na veimata tamata i Vitiâ€¦.e da sa rui veivolekati (This is when we can really tell that everyone in Fiji, despite their races, are so close to each other)
“E dodonu me sa kua ni da dau vaduiduitaki vamata tamata ni da lewenivanua kecega i Viti. (We should never be discriminated according to our race as we all belong to Fiji.)”
Ratu Simione, who has been reigning in his district for the past 23 years beginning in 1994, said racism was something he was not familiar with.
Growing up in the Ba highlands, the 62-year-old chief shared how their elders were so close to people from different backgrounds and the bond they shared even to the extent of sharing food, clothes and their shelters.
And he was still wondering why the issue of race would be brought up nowadays and has been a topic of discussion in the village setting.
While Bukuya may be situated in the highlands of Ba, Ratu Simione said they knew too well what was happening around the country and something that has bothered him so much recently was the continuous racism issues being highlighted everywhere.
He said we could only live peacefully in Fiji if racism was weeded out and we all lived peacefully as a big Fijian family.
As a traditional leader, Ratu Simione said it was always important to ensure village regulations are followed, especially by the younger generation.
To get to the six villages of Magodro, one goes through either the Nausori Highland Rd from Nadi or from Ba Town through the Navala Rd.