Authentic bikman: Memories of Sir Jacob Luke
The Pacific Visa quotas need to be strategic

With Sir Jacob Luke's death, a torch went out

Jackson Kiakari's father, Pastor Thomas Bob, and Jacob Luke were ace tractor drivers and mechanics at Pausa Lutheran High School in Enga Province. As sons of the Sakalin people, they bonded and remained very close friends to the end of Jacob's life

Jacob luke
Chief Sir Jacob Lengepombet Sole Luke: A testament to the belief that a person could rise to the top from just about anywhere and remain humble

| A Personal Tribute

PORT MORESBY - Only a few rise to the very top - to the highest echelons of business and life.

And from this small group, there are fewer still who choose to remain humane, humble and simple.

I last caught up with Chief Sir Jacob Lengepombet Sole Luke on a sunny Monday in February.

Little did I know I was saying goodbye to him.

Jacob talked about politics, the country, life and the future.

But there was one particular subject on which he spoke at length and with passion.

He had established a small school near his newly built home in Lakolam village in Enga Province.

From a simple village upbringing, Jacob had gone on to become a statesman, an icon and a testament to the belief that a person could rise to the top from just about anywhere.

It seemed he had decided to spend the next part of his life giving ordinary kids a decent shot at life by making it possible for children in nearby rural villages to have access to a world class education.

Jacob told me it was something very close to his heart and to which he was dedicated.

He went further to emphasise the need for integrated human development: to bring these children in at a very young age and develop them as productive and responsible citizens who could help build PNG’s tomorrows.

In Papua New Guinea when he was not around.

He stressed the need to raise tomorrow’s Papua New Guineans not only to be educated but also to be grounded in discipline, manners, faith, health and every aspect of human development.

Listening to him speak what was in his heart was like watching him stare in the mirror at his own dreams for the future.

He carefully described the details of integrated human development, emphasising the importance of each aspect and explaining how everything fit together.

We had decided to catch up for a rather different reason. But he saw the opportunity to share with me some of the things too easily overlooked in our rush to save the world.

Jacob said that the good things that have the potential to change the world take time to build.

His dream was his life story retold through the lives of others he hoped to bring up to lead successful lives of their own.

I will never forget how he summed it up.

Recounting what he had done so far and his plans for the future, Jacob paused and looked straight at me.

In a soft but firm and half husky voice, he said, “Son, through this school if I can raise one or two more Jacob Lukes it will be my greatest contribution.

“I am only one person, but imagine what one or two more Jacob Lukes can do for our people.”

Jacob Lengepombet Sole Luke - what a man, what a life, what a legacy.

In the language of the Enga people ‘sole’ means ‘salt’, traditionally a sought after trading commodity because of the flavour it adds to food.

And Jacob lived up that name, adding something of importance to Papua New Guinea and to everyone his influence touched.

Now his loss is being felt throughout the length and breadth of our island nation.

From the obscurity of an ordinary village upbringing, he had gone on to reach heights most of us can only dream of.

His legacy will continue to influence and inspire people. To dream big, aim high, work hard and remain humble. An embodiment of humility in success.

Rest now champion, you have run your race with honour, distinction and humility.

A torch has gone out. A star has fallen. You will be missed.

You are one of only a few. A very rare few.

A Mapai Transport convoy wends its way through the beautiful Enga Highlands
At dusk a Mapai Transport convoy wends its way through the beautiful Enga Highlands


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Corney Korokan Alone

Jackson brilliantly captured a certain aspect of Jacob Luke's life that he was able to share within the time he had his encounter.

His father, Thomas Bob Kiakari, would definitely write a book about his association with Jacob that spanned almost his entire life; as they are brothers from the same Sakalin tribal grouping in the upper Ambum valley.

Indeed, Jacob was simple in his attitude to life. He never flaunted his massive wealth and success, which had started from humble beginnings.

He instead used them to "positively influence and add salt-value-flavour" to multitudes all across Papua New Guinea and elsewhere in the Pacific Islands region.

A true star of beloved homeland, Papua New Guinea, has fallen.

Jacob's courage, determination, strong beliefs, leadership, peacemaking and life-changing inspirations and affection for community empowerment will live on.

Jacob Solekuli Luke Luai will be greatly missed and cherished. Sakalin kaim, rest in eternal peace.

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