Chief Savea expresses concerns

By Sarafina Sanerivi and Ilia L. Likou ,

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HOLD ON TO OUR CULTURE: Savea Noveeli, 65-years-old from the village of Salelesi.

HOLD ON TO OUR CULTURE: Savea Noveeli, 65-years-old from the village of Salelesi. (Photo: Ilia L. Likou )

The Samoan culture is losing its ground. With some of the practices badly affected by outside influences, our people need to wake up now before it is too late.

That is the opinion of Savea Noveeli, a 56-year-old matai from the village of Salelesi.

Savea told the Village Voice Samoans need to hold on to their culture with all they have.

“When we think about the culture and if we look at our culture nowadays, it is not the same anymore,” he told the Village Voice.

“And to me, we should really look at this carefully and do something about it. 

“If we look at some of the villages in Samoa, our culture is no longer strong there. I am not referring to any particular village or all the villages in Samoa. 

“We still have some villages where our culture and fa’a-Samoa is really strong, but for some you can see that the culture is dying within those villages. 

“The truth is, life is not the same anymore. And that’s the same for our culture.

“We have a Samoan saying, “E sui faiga ae tumau fa’avae,” meaning approaches and methods change, but foundations stay the same.

“But even the foundation (fa’avae) is not the same anymore.”

Savea went on to say that everything starts from families, and the breakdown in family values is one of the reasons why our culture is starting to fade away.

“Family is the first place where we get to learn everything about our culture. I remember the elders back in the days used to say that, just as long as families are united, villages and our country will be in unity as well.

“Family is where everything begins. And if the values of families are not maintained, then it will be the same for our villages, churches and country. 

“Remember our evening devotions we do at home, those are the times where the parents and the matai’s can talk to their children and the whole family about how to improve our lives and what to do.

“We call it family time. But we seldom see that nowadays. The children nowadays don’t go to the loku (evening services) at home.”

Moreover, Savea said one of the changes we have nowadays with our culture is that our matai titles are being sold out.

“This is common nowadays; and it is becoming a major problem. 

“It’s no longer sacred. Anyone can be a matai now as long as they have money, even if you don’t know anything about our culture and oratory.”

Lastly, Savea believes that we need to work together to uphold and maintain our culture and heritage before it’s too late. 

“They always say that prevention is better than cure, and we need to prevent our culture from dying out before it’s too late. 

“Our culture is part of our identity and we need to uphold our culture and heritage. 

“If we don’t do anything now, then our future generation will suffer. But we need to maintain our traditions and work together to uphold our culture.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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