Island News

Life in Suva with George ‘Fiji’ Veikoso

Written By : WAISEA MAKUTU. George ‘Fiji’ Veikoso is a household name in Fiji and other parts of the world that play his music. The Buretu, Nakelo, Tailevu man believes
22 Jan 2011 12:00

image Written By : WAISEA MAKUTU. George ‘Fiji’ Veikoso is a household name in Fiji and other parts of the world that play his music. The Buretu, Nakelo, Tailevu man believes that without the Lord’s hand getting in the way of all things he has faced, he would not have been the showbiz personality that has been widely acclaimed.
“I was born here and my family stayed at Derrick Street or Raiwaqa makawa (old), which meant the early pioneers of the housing settlement,” Veikoso said during his interview.
Veikoso said he was told that he was such a healthy baby and was drinking so much milk they had to do away with the standard baby milk bottle. Then they fitted the teat straight onto the bottles of milk that were bought from a nearby retail shop.
This led to his first trauma when he thought that anything in bottles irrespective of size, shape or colour is to relieve his hunger.
Then his family moved to live outside Raiwaqa, which is just a few blocks away from the former Tradewinds Hotel now known as Hotel Novotel Suva Lami Bay.
They lived there for a couple of years before moving to Samabula East just a few blocks up from the former Bajpai’s Supermarket.
“I started primary education from Class One to Class Four at Assemblies of God Primary School and continued on at Saint Agnes Primary School from Classes Five to Six,” Veikoso recalled.
“I would call in at the residence of uncle Paul Williams who would occasionally have a get together with Tomasi Mawi and Sakiusa Bulicokocoko.”
These men were renowned musicians.
“I would fake being sick just to stay in and listen to them practice and talk and the talks they gave me had an impact on my life.”
They also told him to take a sound, put them into his heart and make it his.
“This was the defining moment of my life,” he said.
When he was 12 years old, during the school holidays, he would be selling papers on the streets and at the Suva bus stand.
This ended on the day he was really hungry and used all the money from the papers sold on meat pies and sausage rolls.
“During these times I experienced that unforgettable moment when we were going around in Suva and with my other three companions sharing a half loaf of bread.
“Those were probably the silliest of moments also but being around with my friends was everything to me.
“I was bored of school but continued with my secondary school education at Indian College until my family moved to the United States of America in 1985.
“Dad was the first Fijian officer in the US Air Force and it was a long road but very rewarding since we now have the best of opportunities.
“I only sang in church and later would accompany Sosiceni Tamani, the ‘Sunshine Man’,” Veikoso added.
One day his mother turned up where they were practicing and demanded that the family will serve the Lord only and he was included in that package.
“She would beat the daylights out of me and Ratu would yell do not let him live so we won’t have any grandchild.
“Things did not turn out right for him and the bad boy was sent back to Fiji,” he said.
By this time he had established that his life was music and music was his life.
In 1986 his mum called and reminded him that he would only come back to the US if he would behave.
He made his first recording a month later and toured around the country promoting his album.
Apart from music I love to watch rugby and anything authentic like a Bula shirt would be a good wear on any occasion for me.
“I have a nightlife character and in my past times I make recordings and write music.”
Today, Veikoso is still strongly connected to his country especially to his roots.
He is a frequent traveller of our national Air Pacific that services the Nadi-Honolulu route as he now resides in Hawaii.
Veikoso is currently spending his holidays here.

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