On Tuesday (16 September) Papua New Guinea will mark the end of 60 years of rule by Australia and embark on an independent course in world affairs.
On Tuesday (16 September) Papua New Guinea will mark the end of 60 years of rule by Australia and embark on an independent course in world affairs. During the past week preparations have been underway in the capital, Port Moresby, for the celebrations.
Even with the heady atmosphere that comes with independence, there are serious divisions facing the infant nation. Already the copper-rich island of Bougainville has rejected Papua New Guinea and declared its own independence.
In addition, Papua faces a secessionist movement among the 750,000 Papuan coastal people. A Papuan medicine man has even cast a spell calling for the independence celebrations to be washed out by torrential rains as his way of protesting the inclusion of the Papuans in the new nation.
The nation of Papua New Guinea includes half of the jungle covered island of New Guinea, the islands of Manus, New Ireland and New Britain and the northern Solomon Islands of Bougainville and Buka.
There are approximately 1,000 different tribes throughout the islands, many of whom cling to prehistoric culture.