Politics, youth and music: A young Solomon Islander’s view
Floyd Manata 35, is a graduate teacher living in Port Moresby Papua New Guinea for around twenty years.
He is from Malaita Province, married to a girl from Meline Bay PNG with four girls.
Recently, Mr Manata visited his family in Solomon Islands and had a chat with SIBC Online about his interests; leadership, young people and music.
“I’ve been watching the politics in Solomon Islands just like any young person. These days the young generation are more vocal about the type of leaders they want. We can see that in the social media forums,” he said.
“I think we need vibrant and energetic leaders. Someone who can go in and influence the floor of Parliament. Not someone who goes in and takes a nap during the sessions. That’s something to think about in the 2019 general elections.
“We are rich in resources and we can develop them. In the PNG Highlands in Simbu, they produce onions. After three months of sale at one Kina for one onion, they make two hundred thousand Kina.
“Solomon Islands can do that too. Stop importing onions and grow them ourselves up in the mountains of Guadalcanal or Makira.”
Manata said Solomon Islands has a lot of young people with potential, but they are not being innovative enough.
“We need to be involved in more activities that makes us think outside of the box. There’s a lot the world outside has to offer. Making it happen is the main thing.”
Mr Manata said with Internet access availability in most parts of the country, acquiring information is not as difficult as it was before.
“There’s a lot of things you can study online. Apply for courses. I think one unique thing about young people in the country is that they find it very easy to copy-cat. That’s one advantage. We learn things very fast.”
True to his beliefs, Mr Manata was quick to expand his interests from education to broadcast media and music, and now to film productions.
“The most recent project I involved in was an awareness production about child labour in PNG. This is a very big issue at the logging and mine sites in PNG.
“It made me learn more about the issue and how to address it. How to talk about it, how we can get the message out to the public.
“It makes one emotional as well and you have questions too. Why are parents using their children like this? Do they know their rights? Whose choice was it?”
Mr Manata and his team completed the project last month. They created a 30 seconds video, a jingle, some posters and some T-Shirts.
They launched the awareness project on Child Labour Day.
Now Mr Manata is set to release a new album. It contains 16 songs, most of them in PNG dialects.
“Music in Solomon Islands has come a long way since the days of Fred Maedola, Apprentice Band then Sharzy. Now, we’re seeing Dezine and Jaro Local.”
“Solomon Islands music is always very popular in PNG. I think we have our talented producers to thank for creating those beautiful sounds. We go for the best sound, the best quality. We want to sound world class.
“Nowadays, we’ve gone digital. We’re no longer in the days of CDs or cassettes. What musicians need to do now is to link up with labels around, and sell our songs on i-Tunes, Spotify or Reverberation.
“Jahboy is doing well for himself, even Dezine, we just enjoy more of his music. Then Jaro local comes in and it’s just something else.”
Mr Manata said the government should set up a music platform to promote Solomon Islands music into the global market.
“We have so many talents, and they just go for their gigs every weekend earning two hundred dollars. How can we generate more income from outside?
“Our music has the potential to reach the whole world with the digital technology available. We just need to tap into it.”
Mr Manata flies back to Port Moresby this week.
BY: Kikiva Tuni