THE Asaro mudman is no doubt one of the main tourist attractions in Eastern Highlands and also a tourism icon of the nation.
I am sure if there is proper record keeping, the mudman is the main reason for tourists visiting EHP.
The mudman has a long and fascinating history with the people of Komunive in Asaro district.
The mudmen were first displayed publicly at the inaugural Goroka Show in 1957.
It was the traditional group that made the most impact on the crowd numbering more than 100,000 that year.
Spectators were said to have fled, terrified at the sight of the mud-coated bodies and the large grotesque masks.
The mudmen’s ritualistic dance is unknown outside their clans until that moment.
However, other tribes in the Asaro area are now cashing in on the mudman.
I cannot understand why these people cannot showcase their own culture.
Highlanders living in other parts of the country are also impersonating the mudmen at festivals, cultural shows at schools and big events.
These copycats must end.
Komunive village is 21km from Goroka town and 30 minutes by PMV along the Highlands Highway towards Kundiawa.
It is around the area commonly referred to as Mando.
That is where tour companies should be taking the tourists to instead of other places.
We, the traditional owners of the Asaro mudmen culture, want tourists to come to Komunive and see for themselves our unique culture and tradition as well as the environment and the dwelling place of the original mudmen.
I am not sure if the TPA and government are aware of this, but the mudmen have become porn stars because of the impersonators.
It is a disgrace to see a mudman on the cover of a pornographic CD.
I am disgusted my culture has been associated with such despicable acts.
It is a pity the government is not helping its people protect their culture and heritage.