Royal Visit: Dancers ready

Part of the men of Nakelo who will be performing a traditional dance for Prince Harry and Meghan. Picture: MATILDA SIMMONS

A GROUP of men from the district of Nakelo, about an hours drive from Suva, will carry out an 80-year-old traditional war dance to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The more than 100 men from about 10 villages in Nakelo have been perfecting their craft for the past seven weeks.

Called the Maravulevu or calm waters, the war dance hearkens to a past that speaks of ancient ties.

Josevata Naviri, whose father composed the war dance, said it was composed after the World War I highlighting the victory of the allied forces.

He added it was a challenge getting the men to perform this year because of the belief that it was associated with witchcraft but after consultation and awareness, they were happy that many responded to the call.

“Compared with what is being performed now — I think it was more culturally significant back then considering the amount of reverence and taboos that were practised,” he said.

“Today people have different church denominations and they said according to their different beliefs the performance was of devil origin.

“That is one of the challenges we faced but fortunately we have people who feel otherwise, and they are proud to represent the district.”

He said the men who first performed the war dance have all died, and it was their fourth generation descendants who will take part this evening.

The traditional war dance has been performed for every royal visit to Fiji since 1935. |

More Stories