Funeral rites for chiefs

Close kinsmen of the late Tui Wailevu Ratu Rokodewala Niumataiwalu carry his casket to the Wailevu Methodist Church. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

A FUNERAL cortege departed the house of the Tui Wailevu, bearing the remains of the Tui Wailevu Ratu Rokodewala Niumataiwalu yesterday morning. The chief passed away after a short illness two weeks ago at his residence at Wailevu Village.

Women in the village sat silently, braving the hot sun yesterday in respect for their deceased leader.

Notable figures who attended the funeral yesterday included the Tui Macuata Ratu Wiliame Katonivere, Tui Nadogo Ratu Iisaniti Malodali, Minister for Women Mereseini Vuniwaqa and director immigration Nemani Vuniwaqa. Ratu Rokodewala, who passed away at the age of 82, is survived by his wife Adi Losana Tinanisucu, their five children, and grandchildren.

Meanwhile, more than 600 mourners are expected to converge at Sasa Village today to observe the last funerary rites of the Taukei kei Sasa, Adi Ana Valotu.

The chief passed away at the age of 93 last week after a short illness.

Adi Ana’s traditional herald Pita Tudonu, said their relations from the Nawaivuvu clan in Naduri Village had already begun blowing conch shells in the village on Wednesday to mark the mourning period.

Mr Tudonu said the blowing of the conch shell would end today after the chief had been laid to rest. He added that the body of the chief was scheduled to arrive at the village yesterday afternoon as it lies in state for the night at her traditional residence of Ca’ari.

Her body would be interred at the chiefly burial ground today.

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