Wednesday, 26 March 2008 2:42 PM

Heathens Among the Christians

Although Solomon Islands is said to be a Christian country, there are people who still live as "heathens".

Solomon Times spoke with Danny Irika from East Kwaio in Olomburi Village of Malaita Province, who revealed that about ten tribes in their area still practice worship rituals of their ancestors.

According to Mr. Irika, these people live in the bush away from civilization and "everyone there still don't wear clothes, they walk around in their villages naked".

"These tribes still observe practices of our ancestors, for example women are not allowed to enter residences that house men, and young girls are not allowed to wear clothes but only married women are required to cover up below," Mr. Irika explained.

He told Solomon Times that in the event of fighting between the tribes, "they must make sacrifices by killing one pig and offering it to the ancestors".

"Sacrifices are only done by their "alafanigao", who is to go up their place of worship and offer the sacrifice to their gods," Mr. Irika said.

Alafanigao is a well-respected man in the community who is not allowed to eat anything that any woman puts into her mouth.

Asked on the consequence of an alafanigao accepting what a woman puts into her mouth, Mr. Irika said "it is believed that the devil will kill the alafanigao because he broke his custom by disobeying".

He said that while half of the people in Kwaio are Christians, another quarter are still heathens.

According to Mr. Irika, the heathens of Kwaio do not speak in pidgin but only in their own dialect.

Mr. Irika said that the only change that takes place among the heathen is when one of them comes down to the villages where Christianity's established.

"They are required to wear clothes but once back in their own village, they will go back to their way of living."

"It is unique how these people live among the growing changes in all societies, especially walking in the nude," Mr. Irika said.

He highlighted that among taboos in the heathen communities, "it is against their culture for visitors to laugh at their nudity and lifestyle".