What defines a real Samoan tama’ita’i?
Ask the 34-year-old Sia Efi Ofoia from the village of Salani Falealili and she will be happy to tell you.
Sia strongly believes women are the fibre that keeps communities strong.
She also believes it is useless to call yourself a real Samoan lady (teine Samoa moni) if you don’t know how to perform your role.
“A real Samoan lady is someone who knows the culture so well and knows her place inside of our families, villages and churches,” she said.
“Knowing where you stand and you roles are very important.”
In Samoa, the ladies are referred to as “irons” (auli) as they are the ones to straighten out any difficulties or problems within families.
“The ladies or the women are the ones, who are responsible for taking care of our families, beautifying our villages, our churches and doing all the domestic chores at home.
“Each and every girl or lady in Samoa should know how to do all these things.
“And parents are the ones responsible for training them. In Samoa also, we give our respect to the ladies.
“The boys and men are also taught to respect the ladies and treat them well.”
Although a lot has changed over the years, Sia strongly believes that a real Samoan lady should never change.
“The changes will never change the fact that we (ladies) are very important in our societies and families.
“It is a must for all the mothers to teach their daughters about all the different chores that ladies should do.
“This includes, tidying the house, cooking, weaving fine mats and others.
“If we start them young, they will never forget about it when they grow up.
“Not only that, but you can easily tell a real Samoan lady by the way she dresses.
“We’ve seen all the changes we have nowadays with how our girls dress up and it’s not good.”
Sia believes that it takes a whole village to nurture young Samoan ladies for the future.
“It is our job to teach, train and nurture our daughters about the true Samoan way, because they are the future of our country.
“A real Samoan lady is someone who is respectful, understands our culture and knows how to do all the chores in Samoa.
“Nowadays, a lot of issues involving our young girls are a result of parental negligence.”