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Cry my beloved Bougainville


The scar of Panguna mine Cry my beloved Bougainville.

The fine salt trickles
The black chocolate cheeks of slip
And cool and violet heart of the Mungkasi; how
Shattered and defeated
By the rising west wind
You are.

Cry my beloved Bougainville.

The pit blast:
Boom! Boom! Moom! Boom!
The belching dust and lethal shanties of death you feared
And petty cash royalties for your beer…Oh, Mungkasi; how
Shattered and defeated
By the rising west wind
You are.

Cry my beloved Bougainville.

The rolling dancing and greenish hills
The rainbow’s crushing brawling waterfalls
And the jet-black colour gone and gone with the west wind, oh Mungkasi;
That is nothing, but greed and exploitation…oh, how
Shattered and defeated
By the rising west wind
You are.

Cry…cry and cry. Cry! Cry,
Cry my beloved Bougainville.

Cry my beloved Bougainville.


Roka_Leonard I was born of mixed parentage from Bougainville’s Panguna District and West New Britain’s Bali Island, but grew up in Bougainville.

My father, who was from West New Britain, was killed by the Bougainville Revolutionary Army’s raskols, who even today still trouble my Bougainville. But, I still love Bougainville and the West New Britain Province. and not the rest of Papua New Guinea.

My love of writing was inspired by my English teachers at Arawa High School from 1997-2000, namely William Mania from the Eastern Highlands Province and Kiwi ornithologist and author, Don Hadden. Both said, ‘ writing is one way we can bring nationalism to Bougainville that could help the Peace Process go on as people began to feel the spirit of belonging together’.

Later on in 2003, while studying at the UPNG I came across the African Negritude movement of the 1960s in Europe that called for writers to get African values and symbols into their art thus, I write in a way that Bougainvillean issues are prevalent.


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Leonard's writing is like the ore extracted from that familiar mine of his homeland - dangerously valuable.

Jeff van Oosterwijck

Works for me.
Whether written as a contribution to art / literature, or something other, what Leonard is saying strikes me as being deeply felt.

Phil Fitzpatrick

Leonard Fong Roka's poetry and prose is what you would describe as "raw and edgy".

This applies to both his ideas and his expression. He is clearly interested in experimenting and pushing the limits.

Sometimes it works, like in this poem, and at other times it misses its mark.

Of all the writers in last year's Crocodile competition, his work was among the most interesting and he came close to winning a prize.

The judges had a very difficult job deciding between his style of work and the apparently more polished and professional efforts of the other writers.

I look forward to his entries with a mixture of anticipation and dread.

He took us to task about the short length we required for short stories and presented a very good argument.

Pushing the boundaries is what good literature is about, especially in a society like Papua New Guinea.

Aspiring writers and entrants to the competition should take note of what he and some of the other talented experimentalists, like Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin, are writing.

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