A tribal showcase off the beaten path
Villagers from the North Fly district in Western Province will gather for one of PNG ’s lesser-known festivals.
The North Fly district in Western Province will come alive in September when it hosts the inaugural Selkambang Festival in Kiunga.
Sing-sing groups from Awin, Biami, Faiwol, Ningerum, Yongom and Pari tribes will perform at the festival, which is expected to attract hundreds of visitors from as far as Olsobip and Tabubil in the Star Mountains, as well as nearby areas and villages.
The festival organising committee is planning the event for September 15 and 16 to coincide with the country’s 43rd independence day celebrations.
Kiunga is on the banks of the mighty Fly River. It is the capital of North Fly as well as the main administrative hub of the province. It is the northernmost port town and the heartbeat of the operations of the giant Ok Tedi Mine.
It has several hotel choices, including the recently opened Cassowary Hotel (coralseahotels. com.pg). Others include Kiunga Guest House (old and new wings), New Century Hotel and a number of other lodges. They are located right in the heart of Kiunga town.
The town is just a five-minute drive from the airport.
Kiunga enjoys a laidback lifestyle and is one of the most peaceful and safe places in the country. Tourists are welcome to see the unique cultural performances of native North Fly tribes at the festival.
The festival was first held in 2013, but until this year it was called the North Fly Cultural Show.
It seeks to bring people together to celebrate their culture, as well as to appreciate and promote the district, known for its most distinct and most popular form of garment traditionally worn
by men from the area: the
selkambang (penis gourd). It is popular among the North Fly native tribes of especially Awin, Faiwol, Ningerum and Yongom.
They wear selkambang and perform the traditional dances without being ashamed of revealing their bare bodies. Nothing is improvised here and this is something you cannot find anywhere else in PNG.
Traditional warrior attire … young performers from the Awin tribe will take part in the Selkambang Festival.