Alfredus Kebulo Tufan (Papa Alfredus) – Handing over the ancestral heritage

With 13 years of age I have accomplished primary school and became a Lamafa more or less straight away. My uncle used to be a senior Lamafa, thus when I didn’t have school classes, I went out to sea to assist my uncle on the hunt, and my talent for artisan whaling was soon to be discovered. Any mariner could rise to a Lamafa, but he will need to proof talent and courage to the rest of his crew. Traditionally a young fisherman will work his way up to that very position after being water bailer or spotter. If he’s able to prove his bravery and courage to the crew, he might be elected to take the place of a Lamafa, but he would need to spear a whale at first.

The shipmates to venture in one boat consist of descendants from the same family tree, so we Lamafas won’t choose the crew members. If we would, we’d become a target within Lamalera’s society. But we do choose our own successor, which supposed to be a someone within the family if possible. If one of our sailors aims to retire, he will offer his place to someone close in person. Being 56 years old I’m about to retire myself, especially because with over 40 years of being a Lamafa my legs are getting quite sore. Fortunately, my younger brother is ready to take my place. Ha, when you’re new, then they’d tell you, to never glance into the whale’s eyes, as its intense red color would frighten you so that you’ll lose control.

The shipmates to venture in one boat consist of descendants from the same family tree, so we Lamafas won’t choose the crew members. If we would, we’d become a target within Lamalera’s society. But we do choose our own successor, which supposed to be someone within the family. However, if one of our sailors aims to retire, he will offer his place to someone close in person. Being 56 years old I’m about to retire myself, especially because with over 40 years of being a Lamafa my legs are getting quite sore. Fortunately, my younger brother is ready to take my place. Ha, when you’re new, then they’d tell you, to never glance into the whale’s eyes, as its intense red color would frighten you so that you’ll loose control.

And yeah, sometimes you’re unlucky out there. In the year 2013, I had an accident when harpooning a whale; As usual, I first prayed to God and the ancestors, then I was waiting for the right moment to come – a sort of gut feeling that every Lamafa needs to have. So I leaped off to stab the whale into its side and got squeezed shortly after between the boat and the whale. We believe that everything has a cause. If you have any kind of trouble at home or any sort of negative thoughts, then you’re not supposed to go to sea.  That very day, our „Tuan Perahu“ who governs control of the boat, per se the boat boss, advised us not to venture for a “Bal leo”, because it was already later the afternoon. I disobeyed, went out, the whale smashed me to the boat and I broke some rips… You see? Even after all these years the marks are still quite visible.