Seychelles celebrates African heritage at FetAfrik event

The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, has sent a strong message to the Seychelles population at large about being proud of the island's multiculturalism as he was being inter

Seychelles celebrates African heritage at FetAfrik event

The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, has sent a strong message to the Seychelles population at large about being proud of the island’s multiculturalism as he was being interviewed live on the 5:30 pm popular SBC (Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation) radio program on the coming FetAfrik, the Africa Day Celebrations. Minister St.Ange said Seychelles is a sovereign country with multi-ethnic roots, which stretches from Africa, India, and China to the European civilizations. He reiterated that it is because of these branches of rich civilizations that Seychelles now has its blend of “melting pot of cultures,” known throughout the world as the proud Creole people of the Seychelles.

“We should be proud of our past, because it’s our past that gives us what we are today as a nation. It is our past that gave us hope for the future. Our nation is an example to the world, because we live in unity together as one people despite the color of our skin, despite our religious beliefs, and despite our political affiliations. We should not be shy to spell out our connection to our historical past, and this week as we celebrate our FetAfrik, our Africa Day celebrations, we should be proud that part of our historical past is made up of African blood,” Minister St.Ange said on the Seychelles national radio station (Seychelles Broadcasting Cooperation) in a live interview just days prior to the official opening of FetAfrik 2014. The Minister said that FetAfrik is the Seychelles way of recognizing its African heritage.

Live on national radio, Minister St.Ange did not hide his deep conviction that it was time for Seychelles to give a new dynamism to FetAfrik. Responding to a comment by Jules Hoareau, presenter of the show, that FetAfrik had been a “dying event” that has been rejuvenated, Minister St.Ange said when he and PS Benjamine Rose took up the portfolio of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, they were also at the same time mandated to ensure that FetAfrik was brought to new heights.

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“It’s correct to claim FetAfrik was not up to the level we would have wanted it to be. In 2013, we revamped it. We brought in a fashion designer and a chef from South Africa. We brought in a delegation of Masai warriors from Kenya, and we also brought in a famous artist from South Africa. This year we’ve succeeded in bringing in a world-renowned fashion designer from Niger with a deep connection with Mali, a chef from Zambia, a DJ from Kenya, and a cultural group from Nigeria. We are bringing African culture in all its forms to Seychelles because our African heritage dictates that we celebrate Africa Day. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture’s role remains to ensure that as a country we proudly celebrate all our historical links, and this week it is our attachment with the African mainland.”

Africa’s success story was highlighted in the live radio show with the presence of Alphadi, the highly-acclaimed international fashion designer and Founder of FIMA, a world-renowned festival for the promotion of African fashion. Alphadi spoke of his struggle to use fashion to give a new image of Africa. He says that through fashion, Africa can attain economic progress.

“The Seychellois are supposed to be like me, be proud of what you are. Seychelles is part of Africa and everyone should be working together to preserve this part of your island’s heritage which has been influenced by the rich links with the continent. Africa is a beautiful continent. Africa is us,” Mr. Alphadi said.

Alphadi spoke about how he used fashion to collect funds for the development of young people in Africa.

“For the past twenty-five years, I have been working for the development of African fashion. With the International Festival of Fashion designer (FIMA), we held a fashion festival in the desert of Niger. This allowed African designers to come together with other top designers of the world such as Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gauthier, Kenzo, and Paco Rabanne to stimulate creative talents in Africa. We’ve extended it to a fund-raising event, “Telethon,” where we collected money to develop young designers in Africa. In Africa, we have a lot of raw materials to create our brand. Seychelles also can have its brand of jeans, perfumes, etc.”

Benjamine Rose, the Principal Secretary of Culture, who was also present on the radio show, detailed FetAfrik’s program and appealed to the public to come down in large numbers and celebrate the island’s African heritage. FetAfrik 2014 kick starts on May 23 with the official opening at the National Cultural Centre in Victoria.

Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) .

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