The tema or kapkap are flat, round breast plates or disks made and worn as men’s chest or forehead ornament in the Solomon Islands. Tema is one of my favourite ornaments from the Melanesian region.
I particularly like the tema because of its spiritual meaning, its stunning appearance and temas take a long time to make, by hand. A A tema in the Melanesian culture is regarded as a spiritual object. They are worn as a protective shield during tribal warfare and for general well-being. The white part of the tema represents the moon. It is made from the giant clam shell. In the Santa Crus Islands, the traditional symbol of the frigate bird, shark or dolphin is intricately carved out of the turtle shell and embedded or attached to the clam shell base. The brown necklace is made from bark and bush ropes.
According to the Chivoko people, anything and everything you need comes from the forest and the sea. Food, building materials, things they could wear, are all provided by Mother Nature. If Mother Nature was destroyed, that would be the end of life. This is a story about a community coming together to make a conservation effort to protect their land, sea, environment, and their heritage for their further generation. What is great about this short film is that the future generation are taking action and are part of this effort.
Written and filmed by the storytellers themselves from Chivoko Village, Northwest Choiseul, the Solomons Islands. Choiseul Province is the northernmost island in the Solomon Islands double chain archipelago and lies approximately 45 kilometres southeast of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.
There is a term I heard when I was growing up. It was “yellow-top”. It was also called “blondie top”. I have heard people from mine and other provinces used this term in Papua New Guinea to refer to East New Britain and New Irelanders. It was not meant to be derogatory in any way; people from these places had natural blonde hair. This ‘look’ is found in many other Melanesian populations across the Pacific. I guess this blonde look on black skin has intrigued other races but to us (Melanesians), it is quite normal.
I accidentally found this video on YouTube and I wanted to share it. I found some of the narration quite amusing, especially in the pronunciation and arguments about the races/genes that could have contributed to the hair colour. The study was interesting.
In the next video, as it is Christmas Eve, I wanted to share some gospel music from the Melanesia. As majority of our people have followed Christianity, these songs are for worshipping. The Melanesian Choirs (Solomon Islands) sung these songs in the movie, The Thin Red Line.
This choir and the songs remind me of Christmas and my childhood memories. I miss those days when I spent Christmas with my mother, grandmother and aunts, and we would sing. It is this time that I remember all these amazing women, some gone and some afar, that love to sing their hearts out. I hope you enjoy the choir.