The National, Monday October 28th, 2013
By GABRIEL FITO
SHAGUR village, on the northern end of Kairiru Island, in Wewak, East Sepik, came alive with colourful displays and a variety of traditional singsings to mark the start of the Monup Cultural Festival last Saturday.
“Monup” refers to a traditional trade festival where villagers on the far side of the island traded fish, cigarettes and food with Wewak and Schoutern Islands people.
Wewak MP and Correctional Service Minister Jim Simatab gave K8,000 to help the village run the two-day event.
Festival director Anthony Pieng praised Simatab for realising his people’s need to revive their dying culture and supporting a significant festival which will now be staged annually.
“We have a very unique culture, but if we do not preserve and teach our young ones the art of making canoes, trade and dance, we are at risk of losing our identity,” Pieng said.
Wewak Island president Pius Bugatar acknowledged his people’s effort in starting an important festival and pledged financial assistance for a bigger and better show next year.
Wewak joint district planning and budget priorities committee deputy chairman and Turubu LLG president David Kausik opened the festival on behalf of Simatab last Friday.
“Culture is our identity. If you have no culture, you do not belong to a clan or tribe in this society.
“That is why we must always keep our cultures and traditions alive for easy identification.
“I, therefore, appeal to youths to give up the habit of drinking home-brew and smoking marijuana so they remain focused on service, change and development while learning the customs and traditions from the older people, so that you are always identified as people from this beautiful Kairiru Island.”
Kausik said the committee would build a jetty and extend the water supply and sanitation programme to Shagur village.