Visiting Melanesian countries who are in the country for the MACFEST festival were left in awe after last night’s opening ceremony at the Lawson Tama stadium in Honiara.
Thousands of Honiara residents graced the opening ceremony that featured a march from the Honiara Town Council area down to Lawson Tama stadium , which delegates from participating countries, and locals join together in the march.
A splendid performance put on by 400 Honiara school kids was the main highlight of the evening as visiting delegates also joined in the celebrations.
Speaking during the opening ceremony last night, Governor General Sir Frank Ofagioro Kabui urged the Melanesian countries to take pride of their past and allow it to determine the Melanesian region’s future.
He urged the participating countries in the sixth Melanesian festival to use it as an avenue to revive, reconnect and renew the countries commitment to the society and people.
Sir Kabui also urged the Melanesian countries to remain steadfast and embrace Melanesian cultures for future generations, despite the challenges.
“We have come a long in existence as Melanesia, despite many challenges that our culture will continue to face, we must be steadfast in embracing our Melanesian culture, for our children and our children’s children,” he said.
“We must exercise resilience to the pressures to cultural change , and modifications through our commitment to preserve, artistically we must be innovative and creative in the bounds of our culture and traditions.”
Day one of the Melanesian Arts Festival today showcased key cultural performances from participating countries at the Melanesian village, Panatina.
Other counties performing was Fiji and host, Solomon Islands.
Apart from cultural are music performances and showcasing of arts and crafts from the participating countries.
Speaking to SIBC News, Melanesian Spearhead Group Director General Amena Yauvoli said it was good to see young people engaged in unique cultural performance.
He hopes, the 2018 Melanesian Arts Festival would allow participating countries to learn from each others cultures and traditions.
“Festivals bring our people together, to learn and exchange our views and ideas , to share knowledge that our future generation can sustainably preserved,” he said.
“I’m encouraged by the way in which our Melanesian people are getting together, cohesively participating so that we Melanesians as one.”
The festival will coincide with the country’s 40th Independence celebrations this week, and will concluded on the 10th of this month.