Wednesday, 20 February 2008 9:05 AM

Traditional Valuable Asset for Peace

The traditional 'red money', or tafuli'ae in Malaita dialect, is fast becoming popular not just within the Solomons but also abroad.

The 'red money' is made of red shells being weaved into ten long strands of strings.

"The shell money is traditionally linked to the people of Langalanga lagoon in Malaita Province," a shell money maker from Langalanga, Margaret Fulton Waruka told Solomon Times.

She said the tafuli'ae is commonly associated with bride price in most provinces throughout the country.

"The tafuli'ae, or 'akwala'afu meaning ten complete strings, can however be used not only for bride price but also to make peace in times of trouble," Mrs. Waruka explained.

"In the old days of the Langalanga people, the red shell money strands are tied at the end with a piece of red cloth, both of which represented the blood," she added.

Mrs. Waruka elaborated that when somebody is murdered, the other family will give the red money to the victim's family as compensation for blood shed.

Mrs. Waruka added that the tafuli'ae is also used for making peace between provinces all around the country, and even individual or family problems.

These days, the use of tafuli'ae is now becoming a common gift, especially to prestigious visiting delegations from abroad to Solomon Islands.

"The shell money has lots of use, they can be for house decorations, special occasions, decorating the bride during wedding occasions, but mainly it is the identity of the people of Langalanga," said Mrs. Waruka.

She said that it is also now a common souvenir given to visiting friends to the Solomons.

"Among all the reasons, the tafuli'ae still stands as the utmost precious gift to a bride-to-be in the traditional trade of bride price," Mrs. Waruka said.

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