Talofa Lava & Warm Pacific Greetings

This blog is a canvas for stories from the unique voices of inbetween. . .’Afa Kasi voices.

My name is Grace Taylor, a ‘afakasi women residing in Aukilani, Niu Sila.  I am a spoken word poet, youth worker and currently completing my Masters in Youth Development.  I am passionate about ‘afa kasi identity, how it is shaped, explored and expressed.  I am embarking on a malaga of empowering the voices of ‘afa kasi generations to be heard – this blog is one way to provide that opportunity.

To date there is little Pacific academic research, theories etc discussing ‘afa kasi identity, which has forced people like myself to rely on foreign hybrid or bi-racial theories that just do not seem to speak truthfully to the unique experience of being a Pacific ‘afa kasi.  This blog is a step forward in the movement for research of our people to be carried out by our own people.

You are invited to share your own ‘afa kasi stories, to talanoa with others in which ever medium you choose – written poetry, performance poetry, storytelling, converstations, visual art, videos of dance or just posting up your experiences.

For those that share your words, it is a honour and for those that may read, thankyou.

On that note I will leave on my first ‘afa kasi poem. . .

Ia Manuia Lava

Grace Teuila Evelyn Taylor

Intertwined : Being ‘Afa Kasi

English roses
snow blooded lines
Samoan tattoo
coco blooded lines
created by the love of two
under the One
makes me.

This white skin
nurtured in a brown community
struggling to find unity
within me.

Bouncing from one skin to the next
putting my culture on to fit in with the rest
fighting to not be the miniority
in a vain attempt to have them accept me.

Even within my own family
spoken from the mouths of my own blood
saying it as a joke?
saying it with love?
Don’t be so nieve to think
I don’t know it’s about me you speak.

“Uummm teine palangi”
sideways looks and laughing light
exempt from feaus
making me feel whiter then white.
“I hear her mum is Sar – mo – win?”
has darker skin?
Damn, now I be shocking.
“Who Grace? She’s afa kasi man, hamo hard”
as if it were to excuse my lighter shade?
but I started it didn’t I?
‘I’m half Samoan’
say it loud
say it proud
Feeling I gotta be a little louder
Speak a little browner

I like taro and coconut cream
Palusami and kokoalaisa
Wearing my lavalava as my island dressing gown
Laughing at someone when they tripped and fell down

What I gotta do to prove
I’m just as Samoan as you?
What, you think it’s the colour of my skin?
the words I be speakin?
clothes I be wearin?
that whispers. . .racism

Then again,
I remember wanting my mum around me
as if she were a ticket
to prove I’m from the Polynesian family
now who’s whispering racism?

Why is it so hard to others to see
Others to believe
The mixed flavours of me
I guess it had to start with

Yes, racism
from family and friends, but my journey revealed
“damn Grace, it’s also from within”

Why can’t we choose to be colourblind?
instead of allowing our colour to blind
our vision
of who someone truly is
what they nurture, what they give

gotta find
I found in
His love is colour blind
your blood flows the same as mine

And yeah, I’m still learning my culture and identity
but I feel what you feel, also within me
when that island drum beats
it makes my heart beat
words from my land
to my heart it does speak

My blessed island curves
in this white skin
My English words
wrapped in humour that is undeniably Polynesian

It’s all one in the same
it’s ‘Afa Kasi
the name itself acknowledges

a journey
a struggle
a celebration
a life
being ‘Afa Kasi