Buka sasi kapatcol
Photo caption Traditional ceremony of opening sasi in Kapatcol. © Adia Puja Pradana/YKAN


Across Generations Preserving the Sasi Tradition

Yolanda Kacili received a week's dispensation from her workplace to participate in the sasi opening ceremony in her village. For the people of Kapatcol Village, Misool Barat District, Raja Ampat Regency, Southwest Papua, the sasi opening is an event worth celebrating. As a result, many migrants from Kapatcol make time to return home just before the sasi opening is held.

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Sasi, a traditional system of resource management, is one of the ancestral traditions still firmly held by Kapatcol. This system, which has been passed down through generations, involves the temporary closure of certain areas of the sea to allow marine life to replenish. Since 2008, the right to manage the marine sasi in Kapatcol has been held by the Waifuna women's sasi group. The Waifuna group, which in the local language means "blessing from Almighty God," is currently led by Almina Kacili, replacing Betsina Hay, who passed away in 2013.

Mama amina bersama pemuka agama buka sasi
Photo Caption The Sasi Opening Ceremony by religious leaders and the Waifuna group in Kapatcol Village. This tradition is passed down through generations to preserve natural resources and honor ancestral heritage. © Adia Puja Pradana/YKAN

"After Mama Betsina (Betsina Hay) passed away, I was chosen to continue the sasi tradition through the Waifuna group. In the future, the hope is that the young people will continue the Waifuna group so that the sasi tradition does not disappear for future generations. Moreover, the young people in Kapatcol now understand the importance of sasi," said Almina Kacili.

The Waifuna group consists of women who are generally housewives over the age of 30. However, there are several young members in the Waifuna group. Yolanda Kacili is one of them. Although she is only 23 years old, Yolanda has been appointed to be the next generation of the Waifuna group.

Yolanda, a young member of the Waifuna group, understands the crucial role of the sasi tradition in preserving marine resources. She has witnessed firsthand the positive impact of sasi on the abundance and diversity of marine life. She believes that without sasi, these resources are at risk of depletion and damage. Her hope is that the younger generation, including herself, will carry on this tradition, ensuring the preservation of the sea's beauty and wealth.


Photo Caption Some young members who are part of the Waifuna group. © Adia Puja Pradana/YKAN

"The first time I did molo (diving in the local language) in 2010, I was immediately attracted by the underwater beauty. It would be unfortunate if the underwater beauty were damaged due to environmentally unfriendly fishing practices. That's why I joined the Waifuna group to become part of the guardians of the sea," said Yolanda.

Yolanda's commitment to the sea and the sasi tradition goes beyond words. She actively involves young women in Kapatcol in managing the sasi, despite the challenges they face, such as societal expectations and limited resources. She believes that their participation is key to keeping this tradition alive. Her actions, along with those of Yonance, demonstrate the younger generation's dedication to preserving the sasi tradition and the sea's beauty and wealth.

Besides Yolanda, the baton of the Waifuna group is also in the hands of Yonance Kacili. Although she is one year younger than Yolanda, Yonance has the same enthusiasm for continuing the Waifuna group's efforts to preserve the sasi tradition. Yonance's goal is similar to Yolanda's, which is to ensure that future generations can enjoy the beauty of the sea.

buka sai kapatcol
Photo Caption The Waifuna group's sasi opening ceremony in Kapatcol Village. © Adia Puja Pradana/YKAN

"One day, when the Waifuna mothers can no longer carry out the sasi, the younger generations like us should continue. When we are old, there must be another replacement generation. That way, the sasi tradition will continue in Kapatcol village," explained Yonance.

The Waifuna mothers and the elders in Kapatcol village support the awareness and desire of these young generations. They can breathe more quickly when they see the young people's enthusiasm for preserving the sasi tradition reflected through Yolanda and Yonance. Not to mention seeing the small children in Kapatcol who are excited every time the sasi opening is held.

Photo Caption The Waifuna group showcases protected marine catches through the sasi tradition. © Adia Puja Pradana/YKAN

Through sasi, they are not only preserving nature but also safeguarding ancestral traditions.