Recent Sigidrigi Songs

Story behind the song: Ko ira na vuda (Our Ancestors)

This song relays the general belief of the modern Fijian that their ancestry, origin, journey and settlement in Fiji began in Africa. The surprising fact however, is that this song was never sung by the first Fijians who came into contact with missionaries and the period leading into and after the deed of cession.

Thomas William a missionary-anthropologist who arrived in Fiji in 1839 studied the native Fijians and could not trace an origin even noting ‘that native songs are silent in the matter’.

The story of the journey involving the Kaunitoni was first told to Sir Basil Thompson by a Jonacani Dabeta of Beqa around the early 1890’s. He discusses this journey in his book ‘South Sea Yarns’ published in 1892.

Reverend Ilaitia Tuwere also discussed this in his book ‘Vanua:Towards a Fijian Theology of Place’. He mentions that this belief became widely publicised by Ratu Kitione Vesikula, a chief from Verata (the home of Lutunasobasoba) in a series of radio broadcasts. The methodist church and also the government then helped in the dissemination of this legend which has now become widely believed by native Fijians as the story of their origin.

This is the English translation of the song:

Our ancestors, let me tell you
How they travelled from South Africa Verata their true village
From one side of the lake in Tanganiyika

Lutunasobasoba their leader
In their journey from South Africa With his wife
Lady from Egypt

Lutunasobasoba has five children
They are our chiefs
Only one daughter
O Bui Savulu staying in Bureta (Ovalau)

Roko Moutu staying in Verata
Vela Siga is in Burebasiga
Tui Nayavu in Batiki
Dau ni Sai is in Kabara

The reason they came away
Because of a wasting illness
They crossed the Atlantic Ocean
Looking for a land in the Pacific

A hurricane hit them
They felt unsafe in their canoe
In the Kaunitoni and the Duibana
The Kaunitera is the name of their canoe

Lutunasobasoba was wailing
Oh my descendents, I feel sorry for you
My stone chest has been emptied
And it goes with my book

Whether this legend only written around 1890 in a book called South Sea Yarns is true or not is open to debate. It is true that legends and family ties are close between the villages mentioned in the song. It is difficult to ascertain but it is likely that this ties were present before the book was published.

Something that can be questioned is the chest and a ‘book’ that sank in the ocean during a storm. There are no known writings in ancient Fiji but there are some caves that have inscriptions and carvings and some even claiming that they resemble old Hebrew characters.

But that is all conjecture and we will leave it there.

Taki.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

7 comments to Story behind the song: Ko ira na vuda (Our Ancestors)

  • nemaia nababa

    Untrue story its just a made up story, the real story only the people of Ra knows it, time will tell the real truth God Bless

  • Ropate Nasau

    The first Fijian migration from Tanganyika occurred during the 10th century but if one has to dig deeper to find how Tanganyika was initially occupied, then the name CUSHITE will appear as the first migrants from Ethopia who first settled there during the first century.

    The well known Ethopian ruler in the Bible was Queen of Sheba. King Solomon’s son with the Quen of Sheba was Menelik whom King Solomon sent all the first born sons of the high priests to accompany him on his return to his mothers land after he visited his father when he was 13 years old.
    The chief priest son later revealed that he had also secretly brought the Ark during this return journey thus Menelik was terrified that it was the most dreadful cargo as of its Bible history.

    Since they have journeyed far from the Temple of King Solomon without any consequence he later decided to continue thinking it must have been approved by the Almighty God of Israel.

    The CUSHITES are the decendants of Cush whose father was Hem a son of Noah (from the great flood). The Cushites settled along the river Nile and their city was called Meroe. Similar to Marou as pronounced in Fijian….read on and search through the net with the enclosed brief and use the Bible as your guide for this could be the missing link of the Fijian race.

  • Jone Seniroqa

    Thank you Nemaia..can you tell me why does Ucunivanua Verata hold a soecial position for the people of Kabara as Mata-i-Kabara.The Ra people are also in Kabara and they hold a position called Mataisau. They arrived in Kabara before Daunisai. Definitely the Ra people were here in Fiji well before the arrival of the Kaunitoni. Lets respect who we are.

  • Truth be said, the voyage was one of utmost secrecy, no trace of origins, no written language(though they had theirs!),they didn’t know where they were heading and as if something or some power led them on, and the traces of their origins are fully revealed in studying the facts.
    Only Lutunasobasoba alone knew the secret and he died with it, however fortunately,we now know why.Why they were there? Where did they come from? What were their occupation? And what cause the dramatic and catastrophic error that otherwise had led us to leave? All this is contained in the book that fell overboard.

  • Vuli

    I very curious about this story but something make really sense to me which is the last Verse: Tagi mate o “Lutunasobasoba,Isa noqu kawa era sa vakaloloma, Noqu kato vatu dina sa mai tasova, Rau lutu vata kei na kena i vola.” Why did Lutunasobasoba cried and mourn for the book? Why is this books so important? The LDS or Mormon believes that Prophets keep records of their people and doing we call Scripture or bible. Satan will never make people keep their geneology or scriptures he tries to destroy it. Moromons believe that the Ten tribes were scattered around the four corner of the world and keeping their records and geneology with them. If you all remember Jesus Christ said John 10:16 “other sheeps which I have not on this fold them also I must bring.” Lutunasobasoba only one that knew the importants of those book and he lost it. He did not mourn and say o well that does not affect our people but he said our FUTURE GENERATION will suffer because no scriptures to help them become good GODLY PEOPLE. Mormon or LDS believes that there was a time call APOSTASY which is means DARK AGES. When god took all the scriptures away from us becasue of so many Sins. I believe we are direct descendant of the ten tribes of Israel that were lost.

  • Asiki

    They all arguing who came here first.Only one man came yesterday to changed and ruled everything on this land.His name is Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum.

  • Yalewa Ni Niusiladi Lailai

    Im so intrigued by all your comments. Every one seems to be coming from the same point that we did sail from some African location and on the way here something precious fell overboad. I heard it was the ark of the covenant but first time im hearing about a book. Couldn’t it be the bible? Just asking.

    Btw Akisi lol

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>