Feature

Fiji50: Rajesh’s Small Contribution To Our Inaugural Independence Day

Mr Singh was in Class Four at Marist Primary School in Vatuwaqa, which is now Marcellin Primary School.
03 Oct 2020 11:32
Fiji50: Rajesh’s Small Contribution To Our Inaugural Independence Day
Rajesh Kumar Singh, 59, explains the first rising of the Fiji Flag during the Independence Day celebration at Albert Park, Suva, on October 10, 1970. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A bottle of juice, a silver medal and a small Fiji flag.

These were part of the items that were handed to school children who arrived at Albert Park to be part of the Independence Day celebrations held on October 10, 1970. Among the crowd of school children from various schools was then-nine-year-old Rajesh Kumar Singh.

Mr Singh was in Class Four at Marist Primary School in Vatuwaqa, which is now Marcellin Primary School.

He said all he could see was a sea of people. He said they arrived at Albert Park around 8am in the morning and sat and waited for the official ceremony to start. They waved the flags as the royal entourage passed through the crowd and onto the main stage.

“In the lead up to the day, we already started having special classes where they taught us how to sing the national anthem,” Mr Singh recalled.

“We witnessed the Union Jack coming down and the Fiji flag was hoisted. That’s when we started singing the anthem.”

Photography was a luxury not everyone could afford in 1970. He said he would have loved to have a photograph showing him at the ground.

“Now, whenever I see a group photo from Independence Day, I tell people, I am in there somewhere,” Mr Singh said.

The 59-year-old is currently employed by the Suva City Council’s maintenance and grounds team.

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj


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