A piece of history

The chair at Narikoso village. Picture: SIKELI QOUNADOVU

SILENTLY it sits on the doorway taking in the cool saltwater breeze breezing into the living room.

It does not move nor does it speak, the only sound that can be heard are the songs of sea-birds hovering the waters and waves crashing onto the beach.

From a distance the screams of joy and sounds of the laughter of children playing, women weaving and men return with their catch from out at sea.

Yet it does not move nor does it speak.

People walk by and some continue to use it, yet not many know how old it is, where it was made, what is it made from, and who is or are the original owner(s).

It was the first thing that struck my attention when I entered the home of Kelepi Saukitoga at Narikoso Village on the island of Ono in Kadavu – the chair.

It looked archaic and its style was old-fashioned.

It had a slip seat and a ruptured hole on the cushion (a sign of surviving decades of being sat upon probably.

Missing from the chair were two spindles and scratch marks were visible from the cresting rail, down the stile to its foot.

According to Mr Saukitoga Junior, the chair was brought by his father. He said the chair was used in parliament.

In the Fiji Parliament website, parliamentarians are seen in a picture seated in what appears as the same design as the chair in Narikoso.

I begin to wonder who all of these great men and women may have used this chair and what decision may have been made?

On the evening of the Independence celebration on October 10, 1970, then Prime Minister Ratu Mara is pictured seated on a chair, the arm of the chair which may be similar to the one in Narikoso. Picture: NFP

On the evening of the Independence celebration on October 10, 1970, then Prime Minister Ratu Mara is pictured seated on a chair, the arm of the chair suggest it could be the same chair.

The late Mr Saukitoga senior served as the butler to the late Tui Nayau and President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

The butler and the Tui Nayau were very close and they were so close that the President granted his dear friend many benefits and pardon.

So probably, most probably this chair was given by Ratu Mara to his dear friend before he retired.

The fine details of this chair may not be known, but what is, in fact, a fact is that this is a piece of our history.

Parliament in the 1970s. The chair at Narikoso is similar to this which suggests that this chair may have been from Parliament. Picture: FIJIAN PARLIAMENT