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Remembering the great Simbu leader, Kondom Agaundo

Kondom AgaundoMATHIAS KIN

KONDOM Agaundo was the son of a fight leader, Agaundo, of the Narku tribe. He was born at Wandi village probably in 1917. His mother’s name was Singa.

Agaundo died when Kondom was still young and the boy grew up with his mother’s people at Kogai near Kundiawa.

By the late 1940s, the young man was already outspoken and charismatic and much liked by his Narku people.  

In 1951, when he was in his thirties, Kondom was appointed a Luluai and became the kiaps’ favourite among all the other Luluais of the area.

He was a popular agent for the work of the kiaps and missionaries in the Simbu, Eastern and Western Highlands.

Among the Simbu tribes, he assisted the kiaps to stop tribal fights and conduct peace settlements. Although a fair man, he was feared among his people because of his associations with the kiaps and the police.

As a strategy to control and hasten the pacification of the Simbu people, the colonial administration took Kondom to visit many areas outside Simbu - to towns on the coast and overseas - to see how government and business was done.

When he returned from these trips, Kondom brought many new ideas about business, government and social services like roads, schools and health centres.

Today Kondom is remembered for many things including being the first person to bring coffee to Simbu. He planted his own coffee garden near his home at Wandi and from here he distributed seeds to other villagers.

He also introduced cattle and goats to his village. In 1959, he was the first Simbu to own a semi-permanent house and he rode his own horse which made him an awesome figure among the Simbu people. Prior to that only missionaries and kiaps had horses.

Also in 1959 Kondom was elected president of the Waiye Local Government Council, the first in the highlands.

In 1961, he was appointed to the second Legislative Council, a precursor to an elected parliament in PNG. Kondom was the only person who at the time represented the central highlands. Among his early compatriots were Pita Lus from Maprik, Mathias Toliman from Rabaul and John Guise from Milne Bay.

On a visit to Australia in 1963, Kondom addressed an audience at Canberra with these famous words:

“....In my village I am a chief among my people but today I stand in front of you like a child and when I try to speak in your language you laugh at my words. But tomorrow my son will come to you and he will talk to you in your language, and this time you will not laugh at him....”

In the first House of Assembly elections in 1964, Kondom Agaundo lost to his Eastern Highlands friend, Sinake Giregire of Daulo. After that, he devoted his time to other areas of development like roads, schools, hospitals and business.

He spent more time on coffee growing also and assisted other areas of Simbu to also grow the crop. Later that year, he became the first chairman of the Kundiawa Coffee Society which in 1966 became Chimbu Coffee encompassing other coffee growers in the district.

In August of that year, Kondom was returning from a meeting in Goroka when he was killed in a vehicle accident on the Goroka side of the summit of Daulo Pass.

The vehicle in which Kondom was travelling nearly collided with a bigger works vehicle on a bend. It skidded off the road into a trench killing Kondom instantly.

Kondom Agaundo HouseIn 1982 when the Simbu Provincial Building in Kundiawa was built, it was called Kondom Agaundo House in honour of this great leader of the Simbu and highlands people.

In more recent times, the high school near his grave at Wandi Village has also been named after him.

Today Kondom Agaundo is remembered as a great man and a heroic figure who championed the colonial transition period to bring social development and economic prosperity, especially coffee, to the people of Simbu and the highlands.

Comments

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John Tonar

Refreshing stuff, Kondom Agaundo in motion by Mathias Kin.

Privileged to be a Highlander and a Papua New Guinean. Special to be a Simbu.


Thank you & God bless.

Betty Zachery

Thankyou for sharing. I don't know much detail but now it gives me an insight of our great leader.

Philip Kai Morre

it was in 1966, one of the biggest funeral serves ever happen in wandi for the late kondom agaundo who died on the car accident. thousands pour in all over simbu and highlands as a whole to pay their last respect. more than 1,000 pigs were slathered by narku, endugla, sambugla, naur and kamaneku tribes of waiye local level government of kundiawa gembogl district of whom he was their president. kondom agaundo was an authentic leader full of wisdom with assertive skills. he is a peace maker and have no enemies. at the age of 6 I still have good memories to recall when he belted his own son for not attending school at wandi primary school (now kondom agaundo memorial high school)

Peter Manus Anda

While traversing the Okuk Highway from Mt Hagen to Simbu, I usually see his resting place & the memorial erected over it in his memory, but didn't know much about this great Highlander & Simbu pioneer.
Thank you PNG Attitude for shedding some light on his history.
Much appreciated.

James Pari

A wonderful piece. He is indeed one of the iconic leaders Simbu ever had. I am being inspired by his testimony. You don't find such crop of leaders these days.

Corney Korokan Alone

Wonderful history. Thanks. That should inspire all of us.

We are the sons and daughters of beloved Papua New Guinea that, visionary statesmen like Chief Kondom Agaundo boldly spoke about.

Be proud, be bold and be confident of the heritage and never surrender your space, ability, potential and skill to effect change in the field you're planted.

Oh arise, sons and daughters of beloved Papua New Guinea.
Sing that song and play and do your craft with confidence.

Waike Goro Waike

Chief Kondom Agaundo was an inspiring and great leader of Simbu and his words and effort contributed to the great development of Simbu and the country as a whole.

Just a suggestion, why not the Simbu government plan an annual activity or event such as "cultural show" or "Simbu day" and named after him as the remembrance of Chief K Agaundo.

The new generations like us will know the history and legacy of our leaders and fore fathers during the transitions period since 1933,November 15 when Simbu first had contact with white man, Fr. Alphonse Schaefer at Gembogl Village, etc...

Eg: "Chief K. Agaundo's Show" or "Kondom Agaundo's Day"...

Peter Morua

Agaundo was a great leader and a God chosen leader in the History of Simbu and Papua New Guinea , his words fulfill his dream, his tears make his sons the blessed people. today no one can laugh at his sons and daughters, they are the men and women of great honor.
Chief Agaundo has gone but his words are remembered by his children and the same words will passes down from generation to generation, in remembrance to his words; those that are to come will became great man like the man in the royal palace.

Bill Pintari

Nice to know him. He is a great leader

Bill Pintari

Kondom Agaundo truly is a great man full of wisdom during those time. Without fear, he delivered a speech at Canberra: " Today I stand in front of you like a child and when I try to speak in your language you laugh at my words. But tomorrow my sons and daughters will come to you and he/she will talk to you in your language, this time you will not laugh at him/her.....

This is the foundation on which we have build up to where we are now. Thank him for those words....

Kindin Ongugo

This is very educational and inspiring brief history of a great leader.
I did not know enough about my tribesman.
Thank you Mathias.

Bernard Singu Yegiora

A very inspiring piece. We need more of such narratives to motivate Papua New Guineans to work hard towards the advancement of their communities which will amount to the progress of PNG as a whole.

Dr Clement Waine

Great and inspiring piece. Thanks.

Ghandi Katao

Mathias, very educational. And Daniel it's about time the government should make the process of attaining naming rights on public infrastructure using public moni rigorous and the public figures who qualify for this honour. Not politicians going on a naming spree as if they are using private funds!

John Kaupa Kamasua

Great story for the new generation!

Jaffie Amani

This is a great story of a true leader and someone,who has his people at heart and no stain of corruption on him.

Simbu leaders and also leaders in this country should follow the footsteps of this great man.

Such an honest leader contributed to directing MV PNG to the land of milk and honey and now the compass is malfunctioning.

Karl Aina

Mathias good research and great story on Kondom Agaundo for our present and future generations to know about this great Leader.
looking forward to reading some more of Simbu history in the near future.

Mathias Kin

So true my brother Daniel Kumbon. We will meet in Kundiawa next week.

B Bomoteng

The great heroes of our history deserve better.

PNG Unitech gave a spot on campus named after the great Simbu leader, but the university has failed to acknowledge the person by two mistakes....

1) Paraphrased the quote of the Canberra speech, saying "Tomorrow my sons and daughters will come".

2) Not inscribing the full name. Unitech initialled 'C Agaundo' (lest we embarrass ourselves by calling some person Kondom). What a disgrace for a high learning institution which cannot honour and respect our leaders of the past.

This is a shame, given the article giving prominence to such a great man.

Daniel Ipan Kumbon

Truly Kondom Agaundo, Sir Wamp Wan, Sir Tei Abal and other such leaders were great men.

It is fitting that the seat of power in Simbu should be named after Kondom Agaundo. PNG should start recognising such men who rose to dominance during the colonial administration period.

We should name new schools, roads, streets etc after such men. They were there first and laid the foundation.

If we dig up their 206 bones now, we won't see deformities of corruption so apparent in today's crop of leaders.

Jimmy Awagl

A great piece to ponder upon to know the history of my great leader. Good one.

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