SOLOMON Islanders believe that tradition reinforces values such as freedom, faith, integrity, a good education, personal responsibility, a strong work ethic and value of being selfless.
These are the values that help to establish and shape the destiny of a nation and ensure its sustainability.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Manasseh Sogovare, highlighted this view during the official launch of ‘Birana I Wala’, a distinctive book about, the people, culture, tradition and heritage of the region in Langa Langa, Malaita, written by six sons of Wala.
Any effort to preserve traditions and cultures must be supported and those who are directly involved in it are worthy of our commendation, he said.
“There is something of value in our tradition and custom that I admire.
“They teach us that we are our brothers’ keeper, something that is foreign to other so-called superior cultures, which encourages a person to be independent at attaining the age of maturity.
“This may raise some eyebrows and [they may] look at us as primitive and backward.”
But caring for each other was a value based on Christian teachings and the teachings of other great religions.
He added that as a nation Solomon Islanders believed that kastom and religion complete the three pillars that established the country’s governance system together with the Westminster model of democracy adopted at independence forty years ago.
The nature of cultural clashes is the chance that weaker and little known cultures can become vulnerable, Mr Sogavare said.
It was most important for a culture “to facilitate access to knowledge about kastom as a way of preserving it,” he said.
It could not be over-emphasized that culture and its heritage reflect and shape values, beliefs, and aspirations, thereby defining a people’s national identity.
“We are called Solomon Islanders because we have a set of value system that sets us apart as a people and nation.
“People may raise eyebrows at some of our kastom, but that’s who we are and we must be proud of it.
“It is our worthy kastom. So it is important to preserve our cultural heritage because it keeps our integrity as a people.”