Media fraternity, family and friend farewell Late Susuve Laumaea

The PNG media fraternity for the second time this week congregated at the Sione Kami Memorial Church to pay homage to another of their champions – the Late Susuve Laumaea.

On Wednesday another champion of the media and fighter for Press Freedom - the Late Oseah Philemon (OP) - was farewelled at the Sione Kami Memorial Church.

The Late OP’s body was flown to Lae on Thursday where another funeral services was given before he will be laid to rest in his village of Labu on Sunday.

Both veteran journalists – Late Philemon and Late Laumaea - died days apart from each other. 

Sus as he was popularly known, died on Monday Dec 20, while OP died on Christmas Eve on Saturday Dec 24.

Today, family, friends and colleagues paid their respects to Susuve Ikui Akara Laumaea, a veteran journalist who also trail blazed the cause of media and freedom of the media in PNG.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill who attended the memorial service kept virgil of Late Susuve’s casket, until the services ended.

He accompanied the casket out and saw it leave, before he left the church.

Earlier, the Prime Minister gave a glowing account of the Late Susuve Laumaea.

He also placed a wreath on the casket of late Laumaea side by side with Haiveta.

Beside him all this time was former deputy Prime Minister Chris Haiveta who sat with him and the immediate family until the memorial service ended.

The staff of the PM’s Department were there in numbers to pay their last respects of a true champion.

Late Laumaea’s clansmen and women from the Laipi and Luipi tribes also filled the Sione Kami Memorial church.

The voice of a woman broke the monotony of silence when she began weeping.

This was after the clans traditional dancers made up of women and a male who beat the drum began the “Lavo Aua- Pipi Itaupe”. 

As the drum beat echoed, and the women began to sing and dance, the weeping grew in unison into a crescendo.

Mai Makao explained to Loop PNG what the chant was all about to the people.

“It is like trying to throw a lifeline to a person in need to try and bring them back to safety or in this case to save him. But that rope is either too short, or the person is reaching out to grasp the rope, but it has fallen short…”

Their haunting and soul searching chant led the casket out of the Sione Kami to be taken away to 9-Mile to be buried there.

So long my Brother Susuve Laumaea – till we meet again.

Alfred Kaniniba