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The protection of cultural heritage is in passing on the knowledge says Seychelles Culture Minister

The protection of cultural heritage is in passing on the knowledge says Seychelles Culture Minister ( On Saturday, January 5, 2013, a group of 23 persons were awarded certificates after completion of an 8-month training program in the art of Seychelles’ traditional dancing. The group was comprised of 18 women and 5 men.

Present at the ceremony, which was held at the Manresa Restaurant, were the island’s Minister for Tourism and Culture, Mr. Alain St.Ange; the Principal Secretary for Culture, Ms. Benjamine Rose; the Special Advisor to the Minister, Ms. Raymonde Onezime; and the Director General for Culture, Mr. Marcel Rosalie.

Traditional dance classes in the Ministry of Culture started in 2006, and an average number of 25 persons follow the course annually. This is a way of passing on knowledge of Seychelles’ heritage to ensure that it is kept alive. Today it is apparent that more and more people have taken an interest in the Seychellois patrimony, especially the traditional dances. This year’s cohort started with 30 participants and ended up with 23. Before being awarded their certificates they proudly demonstrated what they have learned.

Indeed one could see that they have not wasted their time. When he was watching the display of the “Kamtole” dancing by those who had just completed their course, Minister St.Ange stated that he was highly impressed by what he had witnessed: “I am just amazed to see you as a group of people from different walks of life, from nurses, to doctors, to businessmen, etc. - how you have developed such interest in our traditional dance to the extent that you have devoted precious time from your cumbersome schedule to not only learn, but to have mastered the steps of our Kamtole dance amongst other traditional dances,” Minister St.Ange said.

The Kamtole is a set of dances that Seychelles has inherited from France. It is a “ladans salon” or ballroom dance that carries the memory of dances of the royal court of Louis X1V. In Seychelles they form part of the prestigious dances that would be enjoyed by mostly all the different ethnic groups that have composed the nation. These dances, or category of dances, represent some of the unifying factors that have united and blended the different ethnic group into one Seychellois people.

Minister St.Ange also expressed his desire to see more and more people take up traditional dance classes, and he said that he will also be encouraging team members from within the Ministry of Culture to learn the art as well. “I wish to commend the effort of Miss Marieta Matombe and her assistant, Mr. Eddie Rose, and Ms. Marisa Matombe for doing such a great work in passing on the skills of dancing our traditional dances on to so many. Now they will not step on each other’s feet when they take to the floor to enjoy an evening out,” Minister St.Ange said.

Similar words of appreciation was also echoed by Ms. Marie Jenny Marie, a maternity nurse from Seychelles Hospital in her vote of thanks on behalf of her colleagues. She launched an appeal for more people to come forward to learn Seychelles’ traditional dances with a special note for the men to join the classes so as to avoid as much as possible, the women to playing the role of men during the training.


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