Mahadeo’s Girmit Centennial Award
John Mahadeo, 80, after receiving a centennial plaque from President Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote during the Girmit Centennial Celebrations at Albert Park.
It was a proud moment for John Mahadeo when he received the Girmit Centennial Award yesterday. President, Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote presented him the award during the launch of Girmit Centennial Celebrations at Albert Park in Suva, yesterday. The 80-year-old said he was happy to receive the award from the President. “I grew up hearing Girmit stories. I am proud to be a son of a Girmitiya,” he said. Mr Mahadeo was born and raised in Somosomo Village in Taveuni. He moved to Suva in 1953 after he got married. He has five children and they are living on their own while Mr Mahadeo resides with his wife in Suva.
“I was a cook for Fiji’s first Prime Minister, the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara for 28 years. “From 1963 to 1975, I was cook for the Sir Henry Maurice Scott,” he said. Sir Maurice was the first Speaker of the House of Representatives then and also a lawyer. “Things have changed over the past few years,” Mr Mahadeo said. “There is now unity in Fiji and everyone is given equal rights and freedom,” he said. Mr Mahadeo said he was happy with the Girmit Centennial celebration. “It’s unity here and it’s good to see people from different age groups gathered to thank their ancestors who came to Fiji as indentured labourers. “Their contribution towards Fiji will always be remembered,” he said. Vidya Wati, 84, mother of the Police director of Traffic Senior Superintendent of Police Mahesh Mishra, also received the Girmit Centennial Award. “I am happy to receive this award and be a part of this celebrations. It’s good to see people attend the Girmit Centennial celebrations,” she said.
Vidya Wati, 83, with President Major-General (retired) Jioji Konrote. Photo: Ronald Kumar
John Mahadeo, 80, with his centennial plaque yesterday. Photo: Ronald Kumar