Fijians celebrate 50th independence anniversary

Digicel Samoa hosted a party at the Lava Hotel last Friday evening to mark Fiji’s 50th independence anniversary with the Fijian community in Samoa attending the event.

The celebration was well attended by members of the Fijian community who were entertained by various performances that evening.

The secretary of the Fijian community in Samoa, Lao Kaivei, told the Samoa Observer that the 50th anniversary celebration was significant occasion for all Fijians around the globe.

"It’s a significant event for us because in Fiji at the moment there is a big celebration and we thought that every Fijian in the world will be having their own small ways of celebrating, even though we’re going through COVID-19 and all the restrictions," he said.

"We thank the whole management for this collaboration with us to have this, and it’s very significant for us, especially when we’re away from home where everything is happening and then here with our small community.

“It’s a time too for us to meet our fellow Fijians because with restrictions we don’t move around a lot. 

"It’s an opportune time for us to get together, and share stories of what’s happening in our lives and get to reminisce about leaving our place to be here. 

“It’s a time to catch up with our fellow Fijians."

Mr Kaivei added that they have been celebrating all week in their respective workplaces, and there was a big celebration in Suva last Friday, where there was a 50 gun salute to mark the anniversary.

"We’re glad that even away from home we can celebrate it in our own small way," he added.

"But I’m grateful to the Lava Hotel and Digicel for this because if not for them, we wouldn’t have put anything together. 

"If we make something like this outside there, the Government will stop it, the only way you can get that done is through a hotel because the Government is allowing that which again we are very grateful for. 

"We really thought that we’d have to put it off but with the grace of God, it happened."

The Fijian community in Samoa has always celebrated Fiji Day annually at different venues in Samoa over the years.

"We’ve always celebrated this annually in Samoa. The other year we celebrated it at Taumeasina Island Resort, Tanoa Hotel and then last year we had it at the U.S.P. Fale," Mr Kaivei said.

"It’s a big day for us where people of different ethnicities in Fiji look forward to this day. 

"Fiji is composed of different people: Indian origins, Fijian natives and a whole lot of people in Fiji that we all call Fiji home. 

"We’re glad that we could share our homeland with other people even though we’re far away from home."

According to Mr Kaivei, there are about 500 Fijians in Samoa with about 350 of them active members of the Fijian community. Most of them are in Samoa for work.

"The number of Fijians in Samoa is close to 500 but we’ve been able to get around to about 350 members involved in the Fijian community and those are active members but apart from that there are people who stay around here that are Fijians," he said.

"A lot of them are here on work permits and a few have gained residency here but a lot of us come here for work."

Mr Kaivei said that the Fijian community is grateful to Samoa for welcoming them and making Samoa a place they can also call home.

"We’re glad that we’ve been hosted by a Government and country that has been very nice, we feel like home here, we love this place, it’s just like Fiji and we’re glad that we can be welcomed and grateful to the Samoan government and people for accepting us.

"We thank the Samoan Government and Samoan community for being a good host to us and this is our home away from home."

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