The Map is a user generated database of video, audio and written testimonials of Fijians worldwide. The goal of the Fiji Oral History Map is to reflect the diversity and expansiveness of the Fijian community worldwide and to provide a forum for members of the community to share, explore and enjoy personal stories of Fiji and to connect globally.
The website allows users to click on a map to zoom to locations around the globe from where stories have been uploaded. Users can also record and upload their own stories onto the map.
The Fiji Oral History Map is now collecting stories – whether you currently live in Fiji or come from there and now live in Australia, the United States, or elsewhere, whether you are iTaukei, Indo-Fijian, other Pacific Islander, White, Chinese, or mixed-race, whether you are young or old or somewhere in between, the Fiji Oral History Map project wants to hear your story.
Head over to the website (fijitimefilm.com/oral-history-map/) and watch stories already uploaded. Record and tell your own stories by uploading your video onto the map (fijitimefilm.com/tell-us-your-story/).
Fiji Oral History Map launch details: from 5-8pm, August 29th at OMG!, 43 Sixth Street, San Francisco, (415) 896-6374. There will be a live DJ, great food, and a cash bar featuring special cocktails. In addition, the launch will be broadcasted live.
Fiji Oral History Map is connected to Fiji Time, a documentary film currently in production about the island nation of Fiji and its people told through the prism of one British colonial family’s experience.
When you are born in a land your ancestors have stolen, who are you?
Fiji Time is a film by Alexandra Lacey that tells the history of colonialism in Fiji and its aftermath through the prism of one British colonial family’s experience.
In 2008, 82 year old Jean Bish returned to the land of her birth after leaving over 40 years ago. The film follows Jean in Fiji as she experiences highs, such as meeting a long‐forgotten childhood friend, and painful lows, such as finding her beloved family home reduced to rubble. As she travels across the island on her personal journey, Jean not only narrates her own experience of growing up in the well‐manicured world of British colonialism, but she also introduces us to the darker stories of the Bish family history.
The scenes of Jean returning to the island are interwoven with the story of George H. Lee, Jean’s great‐grandfather, who arrived in Fiji in 1870 to make his fortune. Jean is drawn to George’s story both as compelling family history, but also as emblematic of the larger story of colonialism: a story of adventure, exploitation, and arrogance.
Tropical memories, dark family secrets, and the harsh legacy of colonialism collide in Fiji Time, the fascinating account of a woman’s emotional return to the land of her birth. Searching for remnants of her past, Jean faces a severe crisis of identity, as her idealised memories of a colonial childhood clash with her radical politics and the fractured political and cultural present of Fiji, a country rocked by a series of coups.
Ultimately going beyond one family’s story, Fiji Time reveals the larger story of Fiji through its current inhabitants and examines how colonialism fractures and disrupts the identities of both the colonised and the coloniser. As the film interweaves these two stories, it contextualises them within the larger history of Fiji and the present‐day legacy of England’s entanglement with the island.
Through this history, we see the legacy and impact of colonialism on all of Fiji’s inhabitants: colonials, Fijians and East Indians. By interweaving the past and the present, the personal and the historical, Fiji Time creates a rich and nuanced understanding of an island often little known outside of its immediate horizons. The three stories inform each other, allowing the viewer a deeper understanding of not only Fiji, but the way in which colonialism inserts itself into a culture, takes hold of all parties and doesn’t let go.
Photos courtesy of Alexandra Lacey.