Weaving for a living

Weaving is an art.

It’s a job when it’s done well. 

And it pays well too.

Ask Nefu Mafiti, from the village of Siufaga, Falelatai, and she will tell you. 

Speaking to the Village Voice, Nefu said the role of women as weavers is slowly disappearing which is sad for Samoa.

The 60-year-old believes the role of women as weavers is vital.

 “Mothers have an important role in the village as a whole,” she told the Village Voice. 

“And weaving is such an important part of that.”

Nefu said she learnt from her elders. 

“We’ve seen so many changes today,” she said. 

 “And many women can’t weave which is sad.”

Nefu said weaving is her bread and butter. 

 “As you can see, weaving helps maintain our culture, we weave fine mats and I feel that we are contributing to our culture when I’m weaving.”

Nefu is part of her village’s fale lalaga.

When she cannot join the other women, she weaves on her own. Her products include fine mats, papa laufala, fala lili’i and many other coconut creations. 

“What’s important to me is maintaining our culture in weaving. That’s why you can find us ladies sitting here and weaving most of the days.”

Weaving is also a way of earning money.

“If you can’t find a job, learn to weave because you never know where money will come from,” she said.

“If you have the passion for something, do it well and you will earn money from it.”

Nefu said she wants to pass down the skill to younger generations.

 “We don’t want the future of our children to be wasted so we are aiming to do as much as we can for them now. That includes teaching them how to weave. Can you imagine a Samoa without mats?”

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