Tribute to a patriarch

Normal, Weekender

Despite lack of formal education, Sir Kapi Natto was a quiet achiever, always wanting to see things happen, writes HENRY MORABANG

GIVING and supporting others is one of the main traits of the late Sir Kapi Natto, of the Fasu tribe in Kutubu, Southern Highlands province.
He had passion for giving – to the church, to a sporting body and community services activities.
Sir Kapi touched the lives of his people, from the remote village of Waro and around the country, in whatever he embarked on.
Born out of civilisation in 1939 in the hamlet patch on the limestone of Hekari, Sir Kapi Natto has travelled a hard life, far and wide, in pursuit of civilisation.
Two weeks of mourning were observed at his passing last month, and the many who turned up at the end of the mourning period described  him as an unselfish, shining light, true leader, great mentor and a father whose first love was sports.
His own Fasu people likened him to a huge forest tree which attracts all kinds of wildlife, seeking refuge, comfort and shelter from the harsh outside world.
Family spokesman Kossy Sosoro referred repeatedly to that big tree. Now that it was gone, the refugees would seek temporary shelter elsewhere until another Kapi Natto comes along.
From a humble life in Waroi, Kapi Natto attended the first government school, Toge Primary School, before moving to Erave to look for work.
He could not find anything better and left to work as stores supervisor for planter/rancher-cum-politician Ron Neville in Erave – from 1960 to 1967.
The family recalls, from his narration, that their old man was adopted by Kaia, a devout Christian family, where he met and married Piru who, a year later, gave birth to their first son John Kapi Natto.
The next chapter in Sir Kapi’s career plan came in 1968 when he became a prison officer, initially based at Baisu before moving to Bomana, outside Port Moresby, for further training. During stints at Kavieng and Ialibu, he involved himself in church work – between 1973 and 1976 with Gospel Tiding church.
After transferring from Ialibu to Buiebi jail, near Mendi, he was involved with the prison ministry and lobbied for the establishment of a Buiebi chapel.
About this time, Sir Kapi was involved with youth sports and was a diehard Tarangau supporter.
“He wants to see the prison camp standard flying high during sporting or community activities at the jail.
“In his job, he did not want to try to please everyone, he did his job diligently and humble way.”
Sir Kapi progressed up – from a general warder to become a corporeal, lance corporeal and senior sergeant before retiring in 1990. During his final tour of duty at Bomana he continued his spiritual work with prisoners, through the prison ministry.
It was through this work that he met and got along with then National Court judge Justice Mari Kapi who headed the ministry.
Sir Kapi’s mammoth contribution to the prison ministry did not go unnoticed when his mentor became Chief Justice Sir Mari Kapi and recommended him for knighthood last year.
Sadly, Sir Mari died before the knighthood was announced in November. Sadder still, the award will be bestowed posthumously at Government House sometime this year.
In retirement, he put all his energy into development of sports which, he strongly believed, would change the life of his Kutubu people. I salute him for this contribution.
Despite lack of formal education, Sir Kapi Natto was a quiet achiever, always wanting to see things happen.
He wanted better education for his people, who had suddenly found themselves in the middle of a pool of oil, and wanted them to become good leaders in their own rights.
Sir Kapi Natto was always faithful in what he did in life, always putting his trust and faith in God. Not only will he be missed, he will be hard to replace.
As Rev Uve Rova of the Prison Ministry said: “He lived an unselfish life. Life will never be the same again without Sir Kapi Natto.”
Sir Kapi Natto collapsed and died on Jan 24 in Lae after watching his favourite, Hekari United. He was buried on his traditional land at Mt Urisia near the Ridge Camp in Kutubu last Wednesday.



An ode to Sir Kapi Natto


LIFE is but a stopping place
A pause is what’s to be
A resting place along the road, to sweet eternity
We all have different journeys
Different paths along the way
We all were meant to learn some things
But never meant to stayÖ
Our destination is a place
Far greater than we know
For some the journey’s quicker
For some the journey’s slow
And when the journey finally ends
We’ll claim a great reward,
And finally an everlasting peace,
Together with the Lord