Promoting Culture at Samoan Festival

Last week at the Samoa Nei Galo Festival, eight schools participated in contemporary dancing that told a story of Samoa’s struggle for freedom from slavery. Students representing the Saint Joseph’s College, Lepa/Lotofaga College, Paul VI College, Safata College, Aleipata College, Avele College, Anoamaa College and Leififi College partook in the performances.

They were judged based on six different categories with Leififi College, Aleipata College, Lepa/Lotofaga College and Saint Joseph’s College coming away winners. Leififi College got the artistic performance/dynamic presentation award, the award for best presentation of the theme went to Aleipata College, and there was a tie for for Original Composition/Entrance/Exit with Lepa/Lotofaga College and Saint Joseph’s College sharing the award.

The award for cultural creativity/expressions was shared between Aleipata College and Anoamaa College, while the best costume design/costumes was equally won by Paul VI College and Anoamaa College. Avele College and Safata College both claimed the best music/music accompaniment.

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Minister of Education, Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.) Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio, who delivered the opening speech at the event, said it was important Samoa’s young generation were aware of their roots. “The main aim of this program is to promote our Samoan culture. The program is significant not only in upholding but also understanding our culture.”

The Ministered thanked everyone for your hard work in terms of the time dedicated to the preparations for the competition. He added, “It is important for the young generation to be aware of their identity and roots.”

Aleipata College principal, Saniie Matamu Toa, was elated at her school taking out the best presentation of the theme, which was O le ea o Samoa mai le pologa ia Toga (Samoa coming out of slavery from the rule of Tonga). “We acted out a story that depicted how Samoa overcame the Tongans power and reign. I am so proud of the students and teachers efforts in working together to produce something magnificent that claimed a play in this year’s show,” she said.

Mataafa Elia Autagavaia, culture adviser within the cultural division at M.E.S.C., praised the talent on show from all the participating schools.  “For this year we have changed it from traditional to contemporary, and it is quite different in the eyes of our country. We are so used to stories being told and acted out but with contemporary, it has transitioned to a different level of expression for storytelling in the form of dancing,” he said.

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