TIFA Magazine, our independent Moluccan platform founded in 2012, has been participating in various social projects. And as an extension we started our own foundation. In december while working on renovations of elementery schools in Maluku, we decided to start our own foundation. In February 2023 we were official registrated in Indonesia under the name Yayasan Tifa Melanesia Babunyi. Our head office is based in Ambon, Maluku.
Our ancestors and culture remain an inspiration to us all. That’s why we aren’t afraid to fail, we can take risks and make important decisions. Our work is in some of the most challenging areas, but nature, the sea and mountains show us the way by themselves. We believe in empowerment.
Melanesians are the predominant and indigenous inhabitants of Melanesia, they are an ethnic group of peoples in and near Melanesia. The earliest inhabitants of present-day Melanesia were the ancestors of all modern-day peoples who speak one of the many languages of the Austronesian language family (especially ones in the Oceanic branch) or one of the many unrelated families of Papuan languages. In the course of time they have occupied this area up to the easternmost islands.
The Papuans are Melanesians, and the indigenous peoples of the Papua Provinces in Indonesia and the country of Papua New Guinea.
Native Moluccans are Melanesian of origin, The Moluccan community are predominantly Melanesian. And belongs to a transitional people with predominantly Melanesian characteristics. Depending on the islands, the Moluccan inhabitants are therefore a Melanesian-Austronesian population group that form the original population of the Moluccas archipelago.
There is a difference between the Melanesian culture area and the actual Melanesia. Melanesia is a subregion of Oceania in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It extends from New Guinea in the west to the Fiji Islands in the east, and includes the Arafura Sea.
Depending on which border is chosen on Wallacea, the Moluccas, East Timor and East Nusa Tenggara belong to Oceania or Asia.
The following countries are considered part of Melanesia: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
But Melanesia also includes: New Caledonia, a sui generis collectivity of overseas France. East Timor and Indonesia – Western New Guinea, the Moluccan islands and East Nusa Tenggara. The island of New Guinea (politically divided into Indonesia’s West Papua Province and the nation of Papua New Guinea).
Melanesian culture, the beliefs and practices of the indigenous peoples of the ethnogeographic group of Pacific Islands known as Melanesia. From northwest to southeast, the islands form an arc that begins from the Moluccas and New Guinea (the western half of which is called Papua and is part of Indonesia, and the eastern half of which comprises the independent country of Papua New Guinea) and continues through the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides), New Caledonia, Fiji, and numerous smaller islands.
The Andesite Line, a geological feature of extreme volcanic and earthquake activity, separates Melanesia from Polynesia in the east and from Micronesia in the north, along the Equator; in the south, Melanesia is bounded by the Tropic of Capricorn and Australia. Melanesia’s name was derived from the Greek melas ‘black’ and nesoi ‘islands’ because of the dark/black skin of its inhabitants.
These islands form one of the most culturally complex regions of the entire world, with more than 1,300 languages. With the excpetion of Fiji and New Caledonia, the unifying language of the islands is the modern day “pidgin” a very simplistic version of English unified with local words. Ambonese or Ambonese Malay, and the Malay spoken in Papua and in NTT, is a Malay-based Creole language spoken on these islands. It is a lingua franca and is therefore spoken by many people as the main language.
The islands of Melanesia are typified as being high volcanic islands with dense tropical rainforest. The Melanesian people are intensely tribal. Melanesian people tend to be shorter, stouter and darker than their Polynesian neighbours, generally with tight curly hair and have a common ancestry with Papuans and Austronesians.
A Traditional Instrument from Maluku and Papua
Tifa is a traditional percussion instrument that the people of the Moluccas and Papua use in various traditional gatherings. It can be for War Dances or festive activities. As with any other indigenous population in the world, in Maluku and Papua knowledge of the past is often only transmitted orally. Historical records shows on how the Tifa has been around since ancient times. However, since both islandgroups are closely located from one another, tifa Maluku and tifa Papua have their own characteristics. Tifa is usually nicely and intricately carved, with each tribe in Maluku and Papua exhibiting their own unique and traditional design.