‘Don’t forget our past – write about us,’ says Vanuatu founding father

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Pastor Sethy John Regenvanu
Pastor Sethy John Regenvanu ... "[Vanuatu] writers haven't done important life experience stories which are a very important part of this history. They are the identity of this nation.’’ Image: Anita Roberts/Vanuatu Daily Post

By Agnes Herbert in Port Vila

A founding father and former politician has urged young journalists to write more about Vanuatu’s history.

In a presentation to trainee journalists, Pastor Sethy John Regenvanu called on future writers to write more about people who have contributed to Vanuatu’s history and record their stories.

“I am one of the few leaders who is still around and we are sort of a rare commodity,’’ he said.

“I’m not going to be speaking to people all the time.

“You may say that you cannot find important books that pertain to us, then you have to ask why.

“I want you people to feel able to come and interview us who have lived in different stages of the country’s evolution and have had the experience of leading this country into independence — and interview us and write books about us.’’

The 78-year-old author elaborated on the writings that are important for people to read. He said they included significant stories that tell people about the happenings of Vanuatu.

His autobiography Laef Blong Mi
He opened his presentation by displaying some of his own published works, which included his autobiography Laef Blong Mi, written in 2004.

Pointing to his autobiography, he said not many writers had written about important people in Vanuatu’s history.

“Not many of us have got a life story — like I have here,’’ he said.

“It means that writers haven’t done important life experience stories which are a very important part of this history. They are the identity of this nation.’’

The retired leader said he believed stories or information were best relayed when written.

“What you hear through word of mouth, or other mediums, faces the potential risk of distortion, exaggeration, third parties — and in due course becomes untrustworthy, unreliable and forgotten,” he said.

Pastor Regenvanu encouraged future journalists to always be truthful reporters and have the credibility to help others.

He said it was important to be “inquisitive” and to “take life seriously” as the media could have both positive and negative impacts.

Republished from the Vanuatu Daily Post with permission.

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