Traditional roles a vital key in COVID fight

Frontline workers at a vaccination drive at the FNU campus in Nasinu. Picture: FT FILE

The role of the vanua in the battle against the COVID pandemic has always existed within the structures of the vanua which when activated became a safety net for those in the structure, says Roko Tui Tailevu, Mosese Nakoroi.

However, he said, iTaukei people had been disobedient to government advisories and were very vocal against the administration of the vaccine questioning the vanua’s role in the war against the pandemic.

While contributing to the Macuata province awareness campaign on COVID-19, Mr Nakoroi said the vanua’s role already existed in its traditional structure taking an example of a Tailevu village that used such structures to implement their ground operations as they tried to combat the movement of the virus across their village borders.

Here, Mr Rakoroi said the bati or traditional warriors of the village took turns to guard the entries to the village adding that only their voices were heard in the village as was the practice in the old days while traditional leaders sat in the policymaking council to make rules for villagers.

Mr Rakoroi added that the turaga ni koro (village headman) and traditional heralds continued their work of cascading information in the village adding that the village did not find any difficulties in adhering to the structure because it has always existed in the past.

When these structures were used, Mr Rakoroi said, it ensured peace and harmony in the village adding the role of chiefs was to re-look at these structures and revive them.

He said through the structure it would be easier to cascade information through to the grassroots using the traditional system from the yavusa (clan), to the tokatoka (family units) and finally the matavuvale (family unit).

Mr Rakoroi explained that these structures were safety nets for the vanua.

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