NATION

Grandmother Had Danced For A Prince

It was the day Fiji was handed the documents of Independence by a young Prince Charles. The Prince of Wales was the representative of the Queen and British, the colonial rulers of Fiji.
21 Sep 2020 10:18
Grandmother Had Danced For A Prince
Setaita Seiduadua, 60, danced for the Prince when she was a 10-year-old in October 10, 1970. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Fifity years ago, Setaita Seiduadua then a bright eyed 10-year-old was part of a group from Kalabu Primary School selected to perform a meke at Albert Park on October 10, 1970.

It was the day Fiji was handed the documents of Independence by a young Prince Charles. The Prince of Wales was the representative of the Queen and British, the colonial rulers of Fiji.

Ms Seiduadua is now 60, a grandmother of 14 grandchildren.

She always makes a point to repeat her story to then every Independence Day.

The performing area was in front of the Charles Kingsford Smith Pavillion.

From where she was performing, Prince Charles was seated to her right.

Born and raised in Kalabu, Ms Seiduadua still lives there. To her October 10 holds a very important place.

“I was in Class Six when I was selected. There was a huge crowd gathered at Albert Park,” she recalled.

“I still get butterflies in my stomach when I think of the day. How we gathered the courage to walk into the performing area.

“But as we started to perform, it was a different feeling. I can say we danced our hearts off.”

She recalls looking for the savasava leaves with the girls from school to put together their costumes. She said it was a hot day but a little heat was not going to stop them from dancing for the Prince.

She said at first they had very little idea who the dignitary was. They were informed minutes before they entered the field.

She said she remembered Prince Charles saying Fiji was a beautiful island and he loved Fiji.

The story and adventures have been told by her to her six children and now her grandchildren.

Ms Seiduadua is looking forward to a national celebration. She hopes there is an event in which the public can participate.

“It is special this year. 50 years and I want to be part of it. If there is a celebration held in Suva, I will definitely go and see it,” she said.

There are various activities planned by the Government for the Fiji50 celebrations. There are plans to have a parade at Albert Park along with competitions for the public.

The Suva City Council is doing a beautification project which includes planting of trees.

Fiji became a colony of the British Empire on October 10, 1874. Ratu Seru Cakobau ceded Fiji to Britain.

Fiji gained its independence on October 10, 1970.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

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