More than 200 villagers from Patamea, Savaii, performed with elegance and pride to commemorate Samoa’s 56th anniversary.
The Eleele-Fou ground in Apia was a sea of white and red as the young and old of Patamea danced and sang their hearts out to cheers from the many who gathered.
Their performance was based on “Black Saturday” when Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III was killed.
Taalefili Leena Isaia told the Weekend Observer that for him, Independence Day is a day of victory and he is very grateful to be part of this significant event.
“Independence for everyone is freedom and when we are free it is something that we should be thankful and happy about.
“Today (yesterday) we get to wake up with thanksgiving. If we were still colonized by foreigners, it would not be the same.
“This spirit of joy that the new generation gets to discover and live in harmony with is the vision that our ancestors had in mind when fighting for our land and our rights.
“To be reminded of this day each year is something that is special and we all value it, but performing here is another different feeling,” Taalefili said.
Patamea Village was the opening number for the cultural performances.
“This is the first that we have joined the celebration. Patamea is a village that is not well-known and being here has not only made a name for us, but also celebrating this milestone.
“We are so happy to be here and aren’t we as performers in this generation lucky because there have been many other people in our village who have passed on and have never gotten this chance to be here.
“Back in the days, the farthest that we have gone was having a band team but never had this chance that we have now,” Taalefili added.
“There are 275 of us who came here to mark this celebration. This is the majority of the people in our village. We have some other members in our village from a different denomination that did not join.
“It took us eight weeks to put our performance together. As you can see there are so many different age groups here because this is important to us.
“Even the young children who are here are from Year 7 all the way to the children who are in college. Having to lead the performance is something that I do not take lightly.”
The Government of Samoa gifted the performers from Patamea $12,000.
“We are thankful for the Government and what they have donated to our people.
“Not only that, the Government has acknowledged us, but to perform and see the government officials and the people here is something that we really appreciate.”