Growing up in Lamap village, young François loved listening to the radio. He would listen to as many different programmes as possible, whether plays, songs or simply the news. Radio brought the world to François’ village.
Throughout his school years in Port Vila and Luganville, François composed his own songs. One of his songs won the 1976 Pacificana song contest in New Caledonia and another won the 1977 contest in Tahiti.
Around this time, Vanuatu was preparing for Independence. In 1979, a competition was launched for the creation of the future national anthem. François, who was working as a superviser at the Lycée de l’État Mixte at the time, decided to enter and worked hard to compose an inspiring national anthem. “It needs to be a song that reaches the hearts of everyone across the islands,” he thought.
In May 1979, a jury of officials from the Government of National Unity selected François’ composition, Yumi, yumi, yumi i glad blong talem se, yumi, yumi, yumi ol man blong Vanuatu!
As Vanuatu’s flag rose for the first time on 30 July 1980, the air filled with voices proudly singing the new national anthem. The anthem also reached global audiences through world radio!
François’ talent and passion for reaching people through words and music led him to a life-long career at Radio Vanuatu. Starting in 1980 until he retired, he was the director and host of French-language radio programmes, bringing diverse and fascinating stories to audiences across Vanuatu.
The people of Vanuatu continue to sing François’ lyrics at every national event.
“If you create interesting radio shows,
you can transform your audience.”
This story is from the Vanuatu Children’s Book “Taf Tumas! Different Journeys, Once People.”
Author : Georges Cumbo
Artist : Nick Howlett