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What does Wantok mean?
The wantok system or wantokism is derived from the Solomons Pijin term for ‘one talk’, meaning from the same language, and implies giving preference to kin in the expectation of a series of reciprocal obligations being fulfilled.
The exact origin of the term is unknown, although wantok may date back to the formative period of Pijin English on trading and labour trade ships traveling through Melanesia, or to work groups on plantations in Queensland, Fiji and Samoa in the final decades of the nineteenth century. The word was in use on plantations within the Solomons as far back as the 1920s and 1930s. Once wantoks are outside of their village situation, where everyone spoke one language, the same-language social category applies, particularly in urban, school or plantation/work situations. In its broadest form it identifies all Solomon Islanders as one people, or even all Melanesians as one people, if they are abroad.
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