West Papuan Writers: Showing Devotion Through Writing

West Papuan Writers: Showing Devotion Through Writing

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Writers from West Papua also solve a problem on national low literacy level. Look at what efforts they have done for the country in this article.


Many people discuss Indonesian low literacy level. The government admits it themselves. They have also made serious efforts in making literacy into life again. But literacy becomes the main topic literacy community only. And it is now in a dire state.

West Papua also faces the same case. Thus, a group of youth in the region tries to help the government by organizing Papua Literacy Community (Kosapa). It is what has been done in several other regions. One of their goals is to train young indigenous people to be the region’s writers.

However, long before the establishment of the community, there have been several writers who obtain national recognition.

West Papua and Papua Writers

There are many writers in both regions. But, finding the ones who are solely recognized in a certain region is difficult. Most writers in this eastern part of Indonesia call themselves writers from both regions. 

Now, let’s meet them.

Intan Andaru



Andaru is a doctor, or you can say that she is a double agent. She writes novels during her spare time. She took her specialist study in urology surgery.

As a writer, she has published several books. Those are Namamu dalam Doaku (2015), 33 Senja di Halmahera (2017), Teman Hidup (2017), Kami yang Tersesat pada Seribu Pulau (2018), and Perempuan Bersampur Merah (2019).

She initially chose romance as the genre of her books, but she was more interested in exploring local cultures along the time. All ideas were taken from her observation during her experience working in the region. 

Her interest in local culture received so much appreciation. There were many studies on “Perempuan Bersampur Merah”. But, for her, being a best-selling author was never a goal. Her goal was to make people get her messages and build their awareness toward the socio-cultural issue she raised.

Vonny Aronggear



Aronggear is fond of writing. And as a writer, the Universitas Cenderawasih graduate loves reading short stories and novels. Because of this, the woman who took Geography Education at Universitas Sebelas Maret wanted to write to be heard.

Her first move was started by organizing an extracurricular writing activity for her students at SMA Negeri 2 Jayapura. Several other schools also followed this. Then the country started recognizing her by producing several writings published from 2016 to 2018. She also took part in an event organized by Corruption Eradication Commission to prevent corruption and other 19 poets.

Celebrating Arts in West Papua

West Papua governor Dominggu Mandacan supports every effort to put literacy in local people’s life. It was seen from the launching of 3D movie Tom and Ragi. Through Regional Secretary Ir. R. M. Thamrin Payopo, the local government launched the movie produced by local youths.

The movie is based on “Cerita Kota Emas” by I. S. Kijne. It is generally about the condition and reality of the social and culture of Papua people’s life and talks about human relationships as a unity.

Also read: Papua’s Legends and Folklores

Although the story has some local background, it is far from folklore. It is because it does not tell a particular tribe or community story. Payopo explained that the story describes a true belief in God, the Creator of the sky and earth. Tom and Regi, the main characters in the movie, believe that God is kind, is the protector of life, is the true savior, and is a dear friend.

Working on the movie, director Merry Ch. Rumainum said that in early 2021, Sastra Papua Senja Club took part in 3 stages of selection. The club competed with 9 thousand creative teams across the country to get grants. And the club was one of 150 participants who got grants.

After the competition, she claimed that the club was the only one working on a 3D animation movie. Meanwhile, the rest were organizing seminars, exhibitions, and other activities. However, Rumainum uttered that working on the movie was important in the 4.0 era. 

Kids and millennials in West Papua are craving innovative arts. They can enjoy art whenever and wherever they want through their smartphones by producing movies. Besides, the art contains character education which suits the current situation.

The director also explained that choosing the story was based on values. The story offers moral, mental, social, and cultural values. She witnessed that the local children experienced a mental crisis. Thus, she wished that the movie could be a turning point for teenagers who had been drawn into free sex, drugs, and alcohol.

The animated movie was divided into 5 episodes. The first one was presented in the first launching, and the rest was distributed on YouTube and local TV stations.

The first episodes saw Tom and Regi catch a glimpse of light. They believe that the light comes from “Kota Emas,” or the golden city they are always told about. Thus, they want to go there.

Regi wants to go to the city alone without Tom at the end of the episode. But the guard does not give the free pass to Regi if Tom does not come along. It is because no one can enter the city without a pure heart. Thus, the story’s message tells the West Papua people to live in harmony and forgive each other.