Southern Cross makes 2020 debut with Black Brothers and health crises

Pacific Media Watch contributing editor Sri Krishnamurthi on air today with the Pacific Media Centre's Southern Cross programme on Radio 95bFM. AUT student producer James Tapp is in the background. Image: David Robie/PMC

Pacific Media Watch

The Pacific Media Centre’s weekly radio programme Southern Cross made its 2020 debut today featuring Sri Krishnamurthi talking to 95bFM presenter Sherry Zhang and PMC director Professor David Robie.

The trio covered wide-ranging topics such as the tragic death last week of exiled Black Brother musician and political activist Andy Ayamasiba who has left a strong legacy in his adopted country Vanuatu – but never lived to see an independent West Papua.

The programme was introduced with a soundbite from the legendary song “Lik Lik Hop Tasol” (“Little Hope at All”), regarded as a sort of autobiographical lyrics about Ayamasiba’s life.

LISTEN: Southern Cross at 95bFM at the PMC’s Soundcloud channel

Ironically, the popular “Lili Lik Hop Tasol” was originally written in mourning for the death of fellow Black Brother guitarist August Rumwaropen.

Andy Ayamiseba … music with clear political imagery. Image: Loop PNG

Ayamiseba was the Black Brothers band manager and founder.

The song, with its clear political imagery and simplistic evocation of strength in adversity, is clearly autobiographical. It is, arguably, the anthem which animated Ayamiseba’s lifelong pursuit of freedom,” wrote former Vanuatu Daily Post media director Dan McGarry in a tribute.

“Andy Ayamiseba aged gracefully. Encroaching frailty complemented his unassuming, soft-spoken manner, but it masked a dynamism and fervour only visible to his trusted friends and confidants.

‘Jazz-funk rebel’
“Once lit, however, that spark provided a glimpse of the man as he was, the jazz-funk rebel, walking in his exile hand in hand with equally youthful – and equally naive – leaders. Together they redefined the Melanesian identity.”

PMC’s Sri Krishnamurthi with producer James Tapp and presenter Sherry Zhang in the 95bFM studio today. Image: David Robie/PMC

Krishnamurthi, Zhang and Dr Robie also spoke about a media controversy over a screaming New Zealand Herald banner headline, “Pandemonium”, at the weekend that was not backed up by the story – an unconvincing report about “panic buying” in supermarkets in the wake of New Zealand’s first case of coronavirus – and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s visit to Fiji last week.

But the most poignant story discussed was Krishnamurthi’s own very personal account of the “frightening and challenging” time he had had recovering from a stroke more than two years ago and trying to regain his journalism career.

Read his story here.

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