Wednesday, March 19, 2008


HE is a guitarist, a composer, a social worker and a school teacher but 55-year-old Qauia Villager Josefa Bilitaki, pictured, still manages to juggle all his roles with great ease.
Mr Bilitaki, who is originally from Naigani Island, has been a school teacher for the past 31 years and says he has loved every minute of his teaching career as well.
His love for teaching was inspired by his younger siblings who he used to teach when he was in school.
"I come from a big family of eight with six brothers and a sister and I remember teaching them to read the Bible and helped with their school work,'' he said.
"This is what inspired me to become a teacher and I have never regretted my decision," he said.
Mr Bilitaki is the assistant headteacher at the Dudley Intermediate School in Suva.
His love for teaching and his passion for playing the 12-string guitar encouraged him to compose songs on current issues of concern in the country.
His interest in music grew when his elder brothers used to play the guitar at home and from listening to songs on the radio.
"I have always been the crowd magnet ever since I was young and that has, I believe, also enabled me to write about things and to be able to interact with others.
"I have composed more than 11 original songs about issues we are facing in Fiji today and I am training a young student from Laucala Bay Secondary School who will be singing it for me,' he said.
Some of the issues which he has written about so far include the plight of Vatukoula gold miners and their families, Akesa Drotini, people living with HIV/AIDS in Fiji, a song about special people and how they are treated in Fiji and his recent one is about women and children who are victims of sexual crimes.
"Prior to this, I composed a song on reconciliation in Fiji after the 2000 coup and it has been recorded in three different languages here," he said.
Apart from devoting his time to music, Mr Bilitaki works with the youths in Qauia Village to help them earn a decent living.
"Most of the young boys in the village are unemployed and because we do not want them to fall into any bad group and start a life of crime, we have started a youth group called Muaniwavu Youth Group.
"These youths work together and plant vegetables and dalo in the field which is available behind the village.
"They work hard on the farm and are able to sell the produce and earn money.
"I am their adviser and I help them to get ideas on how to raise funds for the group.
"I also encourage them to improve their lives both morally and spiritually,' said Mr Bilitaki.
Mr Bilitaki believes that land is our greatest gift from God and we should make use of it to live an honest life.
"There are some young people who believe that following a life of crime would be their easy way to earn money but I want to tell them that it is not true.
"I have visited almost all the prisons in Fiji and, believe me, no young person would want to go there.
"My advice to young people is that the prison is the last place that they would want to be in," he said.
Mr Bilitaki says young people who are not able to get jobs should try to work on their land to earn their living.
He says hardwork, dedication and determination were the keys to succes in life.
He also believes in living a life for others and helping people.
"This is what life is all about. To make a difference in as many lives as possible.''
Adapted from Fijitimes Online