OBITUARY: Student veteran mourned by campus and Pacific Islander community


The Guardsman

Thomas Figg-Hoblyn

Samuelu “Kiko” Afoa, 27, a beloved City College student died peacefully in his sleep on March 2, 2012.

Afoa was a dedicated student aspiring to earn a degree in criminal justice. He had attended City College for three years.

The family is waiting on the full coroner’s report, which can take between nine and 12 weeks to complete.

Afoa, a Samoan-American, was born at St. Luke’s Hospital in San Francisco on Jan. 27, 1985, the son of Edwin and So’onavua Afoa.

He is survived by his mother So’onavua , brothers David and Nesmar, and sisters Malae and Fale.

“He was dedicated to his family and friends,” his kinfolk said.

A candlelight vigil was held at City College on March 11, as friends and loved ones expressed their sorrow and grief over Afoa’s early death, and celebrated the joy and affection he brought to their lives.

A shrine dedicated to Afoa complete with testimonials is on display at the Student Union Building, on the second floor next to the Pacific Islander’s Club.

David Palaita, professor of Pacific Islander studies and interdisciplinary studies said that Afoa was very generous with his classmates, helping them out financially from time to time, and supporting them any way he could.

Palaita said the following Samoan proverb reminds him of Afoa, “We are moved by love, but never by intimidation.”

The U.S. Army veteran who survived several tours in Iraq will be remembered for his kind heart.

Afoa looked intimidating, and he could be a warrior when necessary — but he was a lover at heart.

Palaita said Afoa believed that love dissolved our greatest fears and would encourage his community to look deeper into what it means to live a life full of love.

Afoa was a big part of the Pacific Islander Club and a driving force in the Pacific Islander community . Fellow club members said he nurtured the Samoan culture on campus and was an outspoken advocate for Pacific Islander rights.

He was scheduled to speak out against cuts to Pacific Islander studies classes at the March 22 Board of Trustees meeting.

The strong, handsome Afoa was often seen with his best friends Pee Jay Iulio and Iverson Fa’amausili. The three created the hip and kick-back group popularly known as “Barbie Mafiaz.”

Memorial services were held at Olivet Memorial Park in Colma on Monday, March 19.

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