NEWS

84-Year-Old On Quest To Restore Family’s Identity

An alleged mix up in the Vola ni Kawa Bula has made it difficult for the family for many years.
06 Apr 2021 11:36
84-Year-Old On Quest To Restore Family’s Identity
Jone Ramokosoi (left), with his 84-year-old father Timoci Ramokosoi Junior.

Timoci Ramokosoi Junior and his children have been living like aliens on their own land and all of this because of his omission from the Vola ni Kawa Bula.

Now 84 years old, Mr Ramokosoi Jr and his children are hoping to correct this through the court system.

Mr Ramokosoi Jr’s father, Timoci Ramokosoi Senior, had him registered and a birth certificate issued just two days after his birth. He was born on July 29, 1939 and registered on July 31, 1939.

This is the original birth certificate of Mr Ramokosoi Jr (see document images). Through this he was written in the Vola ni Kawa Bula as being from Naduru in Nausori.

Timoci Ramokosoi Junior’s birth certificate issued in 1939 .

Timoci Ramokosoi Junior’s birth certificate issued in 1939 .

Declaration by the-then chief herald in the vanua of Kuku, Eroni Rokouwe, that Timoci Ramokosoi Jr is the son of Timoci Ramokosoi Sr.

Declaration by the-then chief herald in the vanua of Kuku, Eroni Rokouwe, that Timoci Ramokosoi Jr is the son of Timoci Ramokosoi Sr.

Notification of birth in iTaukei.

Notification of birth in iTaukei.

The Vola ni Kawa Bula, commonly known as the VKB, is the official Fijian register of native landowners. It is known in English as the Native Land Register.

In the initial copies of the VKB register, Mr Ramokosoi Jr is listed as the son of Timoci Ramokosoi Sr and Salanieta Tokainaliwa. The names on his parents appear on lines one and six of the register.

The fact that Mr Ramokosoi Jr is the son of Timoci Ramokosoi Sr is even stated in a form filled by the village elders to the Native Land Commission.

 

A common name – the change

In 1990, the VKB register shows Mr Ramokosoi Jr being listed as the son of Salanieta Tokainaliwa but the father’s name is missing.

This Salanieta Tokainaliwa’s name appears two lines below the name of Mr Ramokosoi Jr’s mother and is a different woman altogether.

Furthermore, this Salanieta Tokainaliwa was stated as being unwed and a different name of a Ra native has been listed as Mr Ramokosoi Jr’s father.

However, the name Salanieta Tokainaliwa is a common name that many village women had been given.

 

Lost identity

Mr Ramokosoi Jr’s son Jone Ramokosoi said that was the struggle his brothers and children have been living with.

“For a iTaukei, his land is his identity. In our case, we have been removed from the very register that gives us that identity,” he said.

“When my father was told of this, he was so heartbroken. How can he be told that his father is someone else when the birth certificate and even other documents state that he is the son of Timoci Ramokosoi (Senior) of Naduru.

“Can you imagine when our children want to know who they identify with or where is their land.”

Mr Ramokosoi Jr has five children, 27 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren. And none of them know where their vanua is.

 

The court cases

It was in the 1990s when a court case was filed by lawyer, the late Tevita Fa, which stated that Mr Ramokosoi Jr’s parents were not Timoci Ramakosoi and Salanieta Tokainaliwa. According to Mr Ramokosoi Jr, he was unaware that a case had been filed on his behalf. And only got to know that such a court document existed only after being informed of the judgement.

Tevita Fa’s law firm is no longer in existence.

His son Jone Ramokosoi said they had not filed a case then, but their names appeared on the court document.

He said they did not know why the lawyer would act on their behalf when no such instruction was given.

But now the family has instructed a lawyer to set the records straight.

The Ramokosoi family are hoping that justice prevails and their patriarch is rightfully recognised so their identity is given back to them.

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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