Direct descendants honored at Girmit Day

May 13, 2024 4:37 pm

[Source: Fiji Government/ Facebook]

Thirteen direct descendants of the Girmityas today received recognition for their contributions towards nation building.

President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere have them medals, and a certificate of recognition.

Among them was 109 year-old Gangamma who was excited to be part of the event.

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“I am very delighted and happy to be here. I feel honoured that was called to be part of the event. If I am still alive I will attend next year’s event too.”

Gangamma says her parents settled in Koronubu, Ba after arriving from India.

“We were welcomed by European man when we reached Koronubu who was very nice. We did sugarcane, rice and peanut farming at that time. But I don’t remember much as I was very little.”

The Girmit Celebration Committee stated that there are many other direct descendants in the country who were unable to attend the event due to ailing health conditions.

Meanwhile today’s official Girmit Day celebrations began with a vibrant float procession from Lautoka’s Shirley Park to the Girmit Multi-Cultural Center.

Each float conveyed poignant messages from the Girmit Era, illustrating the hardships endured by indentured laborers and depicting their way of life in Fiji.

Sugarcane Growers Council staff Abdul Khan says it took them three days to prepare the float.

“This is the house similar to the one they used to have during the Girmit time. They were built using wild grass, timber and coconut leaves.”

The Girmit Cultural Center in Lautoka had a carnival-like atmosphere.

The celebrations allowed people to visit stalls and gather information on the Girmit Era from the displays at the Center.