The Erstwhile Savage: An account of the Life of Ligeremaluoga (Osea) – A Review

The Erstwhile Savage:
An account of the Life of Ligeremaluoga (Osea)

A brief life history.

Hosea Linge’s place of origin is Kono which is in the West Coast of New Ireland. He was born at Kono at the dawn of the new era, when the Missionaries were just beginning to spread the gospel in the islands.

Consequently, he witnessed the white missionaries and Fijians upon their arrival with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was the first child from Kono to have gone to school in the Circuit school at Pinikidu.
Having graduated from the circuit school, he then attended the district training institute at Watnabara. On graduating from Watnabara he asked to be posted the Kavieng / New Hannover circuit.

When he was stationed at Kavieng, he met and married Pising, who died after their short marriage without bearing any children. It was a trying moment for Hosea who adored her very much. She is buried at Rarongo near Vunairima.

Hosea Linge taught at the Circuit school at Kavieng and after the Synod appointed him to be a teacher, he also taught in the District training institution at Vatnabara. He also assisted in moving the District Training institution from Vatnabara on the Duke of York Islands to Vunairima on the shores of Ataliklikun bay.

Hosea Linge was a committed teacher and taught and prepared many students in the District schools in order to effectively minister the gospel to their people.

In 1939 he married Rodi Mangin a woman from Kono and in 1940, it was announced that he would be appointed as minister. In 1941, he attended Ministerial training at Vunairima and was subsequently appointed as probation minister at Pinikidu in 1942. He had only been at Pinikidu a short while at the arrival of WW2.
He was at Pinikidu when Japanese soldiers came and removed the Rev. D. Oakes from the mission. Rev Oakes was amongst those who died when the ship they were being transported in; the Montevideo Maru; was torpedoed near Luzon in the Philippines.

In 1943, the Japanese wanted to behead Hosea Linge however he was always under the Lords protection. He stayed with the people of Pinikidu and conducted worship in the jungles and in stone caves. He used to tell the people that it would not be long before the Lord will bring back peaceful times. It was not long before his message came true when the war ended on the 15th of August 1945.

After the war, the Synod wanted to resume the George Brown College at Vunairima where he was appointed to be tutor. He remained a tutor and teacher until 1949 when he returned to his circuit of Kimadan where he ministered until 1961 when he retired.

The Erstwhile Savage.

Having read reviews of this book without reading the book, I was determined to get a copy so as I could make up my own mind as to its nature and subject material. I ordered a copy from Amazon and it was delivered within the month.

Originally published in 1932, this book is an enlightening exposition of the life and culture of Hosea Linge’s people.

The book chronicles the authors early childhood experiences especially the dialectic nature of mission and Christian teachings and traditional values.

For me this book underscores the following:

a) for students of the gospel, this is an exemplary life. Through his early education his training his loss of a dear wife and friend, Pising; student dissension during the period of construction of Vunairima, having to abandon his traditional customs in order to serve Christ, Hosea Linge remained true to his faith, an inspiration to his people.

b) Hosea Linge records and connect several historical figures, which for me is an important issue. One particular person is Mano ToWamalar, a teacher, whose life has not been documented as yet. He was the leader of the Warbete movement who in 1958 had an altercation over tax matters with the Administration at Navunaram village in the Gazelle Peninsula. Two men, ToVurete and ToVetuna were “accidentally” killed during the riot when police fired shots over the crowd.The first shot having come from the pistol of Jack Emmanuel, the ADC at the time. Mano apparently died from injuries sustained during this incident.
There are several other historical revelations in this book.

c). I am particularly thankful that even though Hosea Linge was a converted Christian, he had the foresight to record in this book lost customs of the New Ireland people. This a valuable contribution to the Ethnographic literature on the New Ireland people.

d). Students of Geneology will find his clan and lineage interesting because those who are from his area can map their clan to what I would venture to say is a genealogical starting point.

This book is a worthwhile read and highly recommended. To the critics who say that that this book is simplistic Missionary propaganda; I simply say “..read it again.”
****

 

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