The Sulu. NOT a traditional outfit of Fiji. It is a form of visual colonisation… albeit a very attractive, ironically masculine one… the Men of Fiji look very VERY attractive in sulus, whether they’re the casual “sulu vaka Toga” (what westerners call sarongs) or formal “sulu vakataga /va’taga”.
Something in all of us recognises the warrior garb hidden under the layers of ‘civilisation’… essence overrides conditioning.
The “sulu vaka Toga” meaning “clothes from Tonga” was introduced to Fiji by missionaries who insisted on covering the former “heathens” who had converted, with layers of ‘civilised’ clothing just to show who was in control.
Even white writers of that era agree that covering was a form of emasculation and control.
Strong, melanin glowing, naked iTaukei Fijian loins, covered appropriately by ‘malo’ -loincloth- and ‘liku’ -brief skirt- were just TOO much stimulation for insular, sin-story creating missionaries, so they condemned The First Peoples actual traditions as being ‘uncivilised’, even though for their lifestyle and climate, what The First People wore was logical and intelligent.
NOT based on superstition, fear and a lack of willpower, unlike their colonisers clothing.
iTaukei had civilisation. Way before the colonisers brought their backward ways.
They should have shared their science. Not their superstitions. We don’t condemn anyone’s faith. We condemn forced conversion.
The Indians brought ancient culture and diversity…. and there is no denying the amalgamation of ALL the races and cultures has created a unique bhuja mix, sweet, savoury, spicy, earthy, a mix of colours, .. but that’s a story for a later issue.
Sir Ratu Lala Sukuna popularised the formal* sulu, Sulu vakataga / va’taga (“cloth with pockets”) in the 1920s.