Tuesday, 24 June 2008 7:31 AM

Walking Bare feet, a Cultural Identity?

Many things have changed in the Solomon Islands since the abrupt introduction of the western culture to the country few decades ago, but a practice which has withstood the test of time is the tendency of many to walk around in bare feet.

In schools, in offices, around town and even amidst a wild crowd of party goers it is not uncommon to see people walking and dancing around with nothing on their feet.

And the catching practice has not only been restricted to local Solomon Islanders with an increasing number of the country's expatriate community joining in the trend.

But why is such a simple act so popular? To find out Solomon Times interviewed a number of people whose reasons ranged from financial difficulties to an act of cultural defiance.

One of the people interviewed by Solomon Times, Mr Charles Neha explained that walking around in bare feet meant keeping in line with age old traditions practiced by his ancestors.

A patriot to his finger tips with strong traditionalist views, Mr Neha said locals should not abandon the practice of walking around in bare feet just because they are told to do so or are ashamed to.

"For thousands of years our people have traveled, fought and slept with their feet in the state it entered this world and they survived, so why should we throw that small but important part of our history away just to look good to other people?"

Mr Neha said walking around in bare feet is a unique but slowly diminishing aspect of the Solomon Islands culture so he is proud to see a resurgence of the practice among the country's people and especially amongst youths who form most of the country's population.

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province