Tawake Receives Bachelor’s Degree On Behalf Of Late Brother

I’ve never been so heart broken, says Mom
16 May 2022 12:26
Tawake Receives Bachelor’s Degree On Behalf Of Late Brother
Family of the late Josaia Usumaki (pictured) (from left) Leone Tawake (brother) Nieta Salakula (sitting) and Josaia Usumaki (father) commemorating the life and graduation of the late Josaia Usumaki from the University of the South Pacific at their home in Nasole on May 15, 2022. Photo: Leon Lord

What was meant to be a graduation celebration for Josaia Usumaki became an event of remembrance.

The 28-year-old completed his Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Certificate in Education and was among the list of students who graduated from the University of the South Pacific last week.

He had received his letter of graduation from the institute and was eagerly waiting for the big day.

His six years of hard work and his dreams were crushed after he succumbed to heart problems last month.

Mr. Usumaki was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia when he was in class five and over the years, he developed other health problems, the latest was his heart.

His parents were contacted by the University to receive his certificates on his behalf, but they had to send their younger son, Leone Tawake.

The graduation ceremony was simply too painful for them to face.

His mother, Nieta Salakula, could only imagine her son proudly walking to receive his degree the moment her younger son marched up to the stage.

“It was such a painful moment for me because my son who tirelessly worked towards this degree was not there. As a mother, I reminisced about all the sacrifices I have made to give my son this opportunity,” she said.

“Six years of anticipating a happy occasion disrupted by death. I’ve never been so heartbroken.

“Imagine working so hard towards what you call a milestone achievement only to die before you even receive it. It pains me more than it happened to my well-mannered and honest son.”

Mr. Tawake said it was not easy for him to receive his brother’s certificate as he walked up the stage.

“We couldn’t help ourselves but cry. We thought of all the tough times that we overcame,” Mr. Tawake said.

“My parents have been caring for him because he was sickly. They worked hard to provide a life that was comfortable for him.

“He managed to go to university in 2016 thanks to the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS).”

Mr. Tawake said sometimes his brother went to school with no lunch and bus fare. He was determined to graduate.

The Mokoisa, Kadavu native is the first in his family to graduate from university.

He was the third eldest of five and was looking forward to becoming a secondary school teacher.

“Today (yesterday) is a day filled with emotions because this feast was meant for him but that has turned sour for all of us,” Mr. Tawake said.

“This piece of paper will now be just a decoration in our house.

“My brother has set a goal for us to achieve, which I’m grateful for. He was a role model to us because of his continuous win over his sickness.”

He was a lovable person and was loved by those around him.



Advertise with us

Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.

By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.