16yo proudly leads singsing group

He is only 16 years of age but beneath the layers of paint and traditional 'bilas', Kaistar Winnie Tau could well be a seasoned village leader.

He was a sight to behold as he energetically led the Pilikambi High Price Cultural Group during the recent Enga Cultural Show.

Unlike most of his peers, the 16-year-old student of Porgera International School is passionate about his culture and identity, and he is not ashamed to embrace it.

Tau was the lead dancer of a cultural group comprising of over 40 women from Pilikambi, which is the village of Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas.

Whilst taking a small break from dancing at the Aipus rugby league grounds, the 16-year-old, who was having lunch with his mother, shared that this was his fifth time to represent his area, outlining the importance of taking part in traditional activities.

“Singsing, ol tredishinel dens na mekim ol tredishinol songs; taim ol dai, bai mi kisim ples. So mi hamamas lo kalap wantem ol mama. Western kalsa wokim na ol tredishinol kalsa blo yumi dai.”

The Pilikambi High Price Cultural Group was among the 30 singsing groups that participated in the 26th Enga Cultural Show. Normally, the event would have attracted over 50 groups but due to COVID-19, the number had to be scaled down. The two-day event was a display of authentic ancient traditional Engan culture where tribal costumes, rituals and skills took centre stage.

Carmella Gware