You would have heard her voice on the airwaves already. Esther Vicky Kave, also known as Estapacifica, is the beautiful voice behind ‘Mangi West Papua’ the catchy, heartfelt tune that’s currently hitting the music charts in Papua New Guinea.
This young female talent who hails from Erave in the Southern Highlands and Asaro in the Eastern Highlands Province is blessed with a natural gift in singing. Her inspiration came at an early age being the daughter to a Church Pastor.
In 2008 while attending Boreboa Primary School in North Waigani, Port Moresby, her father was called to the Mission for Pastoral duty in Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia. Esther’s family packed their bags and were on their way, leaving behind her elder brother who was attending the University of Technology (UNITECH) in Lae at the time.
Transition was not easy as you can imagine, especially moving to a completely new country where English isn’t the trade language. The locals speak Malay which can be referred to as Bahasa Indonesia. The only way for them to learn and become better at speaking Bahasa Indonesia was to go out, make new friends and get involved in community activities with the youths in their church.
Within six months, the whole family were able to speak the language and hold conversations with their new friends. The more they got involved with the community, the less they felt like foreigners. By now their dialect got even better and they started to sound just like the locals. Anyone in the community who knew Esther, her mother or her younger sisters would call them “Meri Lewa.”
In Jayapura, Esther attended the Hillcrest International School, an American school founded for Missionary Kids and foreign expatriates. It was the only school in the area that taught in English.
One of her favourite memories growing up in Jayapura was riding motorbikes in the afternoons with her sisters and their friends to chase the sunset along Lake Sentani. Lake Sentani is the biggest lake in West Papua just like Lake Kutubu is to PNG. The sun sets right on top of the lake which accentuates a beautiful view and leaves a lasting impression upon the viewer.
After completing High School in 2014, Esther’s further education took her to Georgia in the United States of America to study at the Toccoa Falls College (TFC) where she majored in Cross Cultural Studies and did her minor in Teaching English as Second Language (TESOL). This was under the School of Science and while Esther said it wasn’t easy, she was grateful for her community.
Being around other exemplary Missionary Kids also encouraged Esther to step out of her comfort zone and get involved in new activities beyond her classroom learning. Esther joined the school maintenance department crew and in doing so, helped gain her experiences in driving vans, trucks and mini golf carts. She also joined the School Chapel Music Band which lead their Sunday fellowships at their school chapel.
One of Esther’s most memorable experiences while studying abroad was during her internship in Cleveland, Ohio, where she spent six weeks working with the African Refugees and helped out with the homeless. It was an eye opener for Esther. Spending her day listening to their stories made Esther think of how privileged her life is.
During her last semester in the United States, Esther’s parents’ term as missionaries in Jayapura came to an end. She knew then that West Papua would only be a memory in her heart.
The song ‘Mangi West Papua’ was inspired by her wonderful experiences in West Papua, and knowing that her time there had concluded, due to her parents abrupt departure from the place she once lived and grew to love.
Esther said she almost felt depressed with how things had turned out. At the time, she was typing her final senior paper and in the midst of it, she broke into tears and started to cry, realising she was never going to see Sentani again. It was in this moment that Esther went from typing her paper to writing this amazing song; within an hour!
‘Mangi West Papua’ metaphorically represents the island of West Papua. Estapacifica’s lyrics “yu karim lewa igo, nogat toksave,” depicts how sudden her parents had to leave, causing her to feel the way she felt.
A school teacher by profession, Esther is currently working at the Port Moresby National High School as an Office Manageress and will eventually fulfill her passion of teaching once she is able to do so in PNG.
Esther credits her parents as her greatest teachers and acknowledges her family, close friends and God, as her support system that motivates her to keep going in Life. Her favourite memory verse from the Bible is Philippians 4:13 which she had memorised in Tok Pisin.
Every time before doing something, she would say it out to claim God’s help upon her life; “Krais i save strongim mi, na long strong bilong em, mi inap long mekim olgeta samting.”
Esther Vicky Kave’s story reminds us to follow our passions, and to continually be guided through life by God’s word. Esther’s PNG roots, her unforgettable experiences in West Papua and beyond, as well as her love for music have not only culminated in starting a promising career in music, but have also driven this young Papua New Guinea woman to achieve her goals and dreams, to inspire, and to play a part in educating the future generation.
Here are Esther’s words of encouragement to you:
Follow @estapacifica on Instagram and watch out for her up-and-coming new single titled ‘Gomohane’ which means ‘Lewa’ or love, which expresses the deeper affections one has for another, not only between a male and female but to whomever you love.
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