IT is timely to share a bit on Melanesian culture here after the recent 5th Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture in Port Moresby which was hailed a success.
From the highlands to the islands, from the southern to the northern tip of Papua New Guinea, they proudly walk on to the podium, almost unrecognisable in the beautiful grass skirts, sea shell ornaments and painted faces and bodies.
Some, flamboyant bodies glistening under the orange stage lights, are showing off special plant extracts and traditional dyes and who knows what. Perhaps a touch of manufactured baby oil or even body lotion, an alien trend becoming a norm in some places today.
But amidst all the chanting and singing, one particular group stands out - their chanting heard clearly accompanied by light feet stamping and the sharp notes of small bamboo garamuts setting the tempo.
The Solomon Island students, for the first time at Divine Word University as an independent student association, rocked DWU’s memorial auditorium last year on the eve of the university’s annual cultural day.
And this year promises to be even more entertaining – on 23 August they perform again in the university’s cultural expo.
Third-year journalism student and Solomon Islander, Eddie Trevor Osifelo, said last year’s performance was a breakthrough for many SI students who were in their first and second years of study.
And this year Osifelo said they will perform something different, perhaps from Isabel, Choiseul or one of the other five Solomon Islands provinces.
Given the level of preparedness and anticipation, we expect nothing else but an extravagant Solomon dance come August.
Eddie Trevor Osifelo, who is also part of the DWU SRC Cultural Committee, said that, with a growing number of Solomons students and the recent establishment of SISA, it is expected there will be an active participation in the university’s cultural event in the years to come.
This year’s theme for the cultural day is “Enhancing PNG culture through international partnership” which emphasises DWU’s commitment to engaging with international partners in education and culture.
So very soon the DWU Madang campus will come to life once again as student groups gather to prepare for the much anticipated Cultural Day.