The National, Wednesday June 26th, 2013
THE 10th Gogodala Canoe and Kundu Festival was a big success last week with the unique canoe designs and strength of Gogodala men on show.
Held at Balimo, Kabili Olo lagoon, Western, last Friday, 40 competitors from the eight Gogodala clans took part in a spectacular display of manpower by the strength and ability of the participants to control and steer the long canoes during the races.
The canoes were divided into grades according to their sizes starting with the biggest canoes in A grade – A grade had more than 60 paddlers, B grade had more than 50 paddlers, C grade had more than 40 paddlers and D grade had more than 30 paddlers competing.
Iyobo in the A grade division came first with a 75-man team.
The men from Ali village are from one of the last villages in Gogodala and it was there first time to race and beat the title holders from last year pushing them to third place.
Festival chairman Isaac Ipi said the event attracted 28 canoes last year and had grown to 40 canoes from 31 villages and more than 20 cultural groups this year because of interest in the event.
He said people in Gogodala were earning income from the event because culture was becoming a commodity for them.
Patron of the festival and Middle Fly MP Roy Biyama said the festival also promoted kundus of the Gogodala area and urged the participants to not spoil the event but keep it growing to preserve and showcase their culture
The festival had a budget of K400,000 with sponsorships from Crow’s Nest Hotel in Daru, NCC, Eda Construction and Rimbunan Hijau (RH).