Posted by: koolwine | June 10, 2017

Samoa: Where We Once Belonged

The coming-of-age-story of a thirteen-year-old Samoan girl presents an often unsettling look at violence and sexuality in her Pacific Island community.  

Country Focus: Samoa

Where We Once Belonged
By Sia Figiel
Originally published by Pasifika Press in New Zealand, 1996.
My edition: Kaya Press, 2007.
247 pgs.

Genre: Fiction

About the author: Samoa’s first female novelist, Figiel has published two additional novels and two poetry collections. Where We Once Belonged, written in the traditional Samoan storytelling form of su’ifefiloi, or “stringing together flowers,” won the 1997 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for fiction.

World Lit Up Rating:
(On a scale of 1-5, with 1 book = turned off and 5 books = lit up)

Sia Figiel


Being beaten up is alofa – real love. Real love is when children are beaten up bad by their parents. Teach the child while he’s a child so that he will know when he becomes a man. This is in the bible. This, too, is written in the earth at Malaefou. To beat a child is to give her respect, to teach her how to behave, to teach her to be humble, to listen, to obey, to love her.

A parent (a father especially) did not love his children when he let them roam around like animals, doing whatever they pleased without consequence.


  1. American & German ‘colonization’ hadn’t helped much I guess; but then those parenting styles I hear are still occurring in USA+!


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