By MALUM NALU
PAPUA New Guinea reggae sensation and tourism ambassador Anslom Nakikus, who is playing with the Lucky Dube Band in Johannesburg, South Africa, says music has a lot of potential to promote the country on the world stage.
He was a popular speaker at the Promoting PNG Positively Online workshop at Apec Haus on Monday last week, organised by the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority, and later performed live at the launching of the PNG In 360 video by chief executive officer Jerry Agus.
Other speakers included young American filmmaker Micah Trostle, Miss Pacific Islands Leoshina Kariha, tourism promoter Autu Autu, online entrepreneur Ian Hentri, Walindi Plantation Resort general-manager Cheyne Benjamin, and Buna Treks and Tours owner Florence Bunari.
Nakikus said he first went to South Africa in 2015 after 20 years as a musician in PNG, understudying greats such as his uncle John Wong of Barike Band fame.
He said he had been a fan of the late Lucky Dube since childhood days because of the “positive messages” in his songs.
“He sang songs with messages about peace, love, hope and unity,” Nakikus said.
He said in 2006, through the late radio personality Justin “JK” Kili, he recorded an album in New Caledonia, which set him on the path to international stardom.
He travelled to Johannesburg in 2015, following his dreams, and joined up with the Lucky Dube Band.
Nakikus released an album titled Love Me Again in April, which has 11 songs, and is now available online.
“How do we promote PNG through song and music?
“For me, the first important thing is to have the content that can appeal internationally.
“I worked on the album in 2015.
“How do I get it out for the world to see?
“In 2017, when I gave a demo to my recording studio in South Africa, the lady (studio owner) just freaked out.
“She said, ‘is this you, where are you from?
“I said, ‘I’m from Papua New Guinea’.
“There were hundreds of demos from all over Africa but they put mine on the top of the list.”
Nakikus is now back in PNG for a breather, and when he returns to South Africa, he intends to put out videos to go along with the songs on the album.
He said after his presentation that there were a lot of ways that musicians like himself and others could promote PNG positively around the world.
“I’m on the international level now so I can, in my video clips, promote PNG items like meri blouses, bilums, Tolai baskets or I can sing about my country,” Nakikus said.
“Wherever I play, I always have the Papua New Guinea flag on stage, especially at big reggae festivals the world over. I can also do workshops around the world to promote Papua New Guinea.
“There are a lot of positive things that an international muso can do for the country. My advice to other Papua New Guinean musicians is that your production has to be class to be of world standard, to promote the country on the world.
“There is something for PNG called ‘music tourism’.”
Nakikus says he emulates his style on the late Lucky Dube.
He is now raising the K200,000 needed to produce the videos and start preparing for his international tour next year.
“I’m from Rabaul, from Matupit Island, but I see myself as a Papua New Guinean,” Nakikus said.
“I don’t like to say that I’m a Tolai, Kimbe, Kavieng, Chimbu, whatever.
“I’m from Papua New Guinea.”
The sky is the limit now as Nakikus prepares to return to South Africa.
By MALUM NALU