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Seychelles Minister says it is time for the people to commit to the education of young people in the art of cultural heritage

Seychelles Minister says it is time for the people to commit to the education of young people in the art of cultural heritage ( Seychelles has officially launched its Heritage Week and has renewed its call for the protection of the country’s heritage assets and is drawing attention to these assets’ vulnerability. The call was echoed in the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture’s address to officially open Heritage Week 2013 which this year is centred on the theme of “heritage and education.”

It is known that the Seychelles prides itself as a group of islands in the Community of Nations which continues to battle to give due recognition to its heritage sites, and for ensuring through the creation of various bodies working for the preservation of its cultural assets. Today the achievements in Seychelles can be seen throughout the various heritage-oriented commercials in place. Some of these projects are already yielding dividends.

The Seychelles National Monument Boards is known to be also actively bringing about new proposals for the country's list of monuments for consideration, and the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture has been working on a new heritage incentive scheme to present to the government for consideration. The scheme is to encourage owners of heritage sites to conserve and protect these sites and buildings.

As this year’s theme for Heritage Week stands to advocate the use of education as a means of getting the right message across to all segments of the population on the importance of the preservation of heritage sites, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, in his official speech to declare open Heritage Week 2013 said that “educating our youth about our cultural heritage, including our customs, our beliefs, and our values, remains important, as they are the essence that makes us what we are today.”

“Seychelles and us, the people of Seychelles, must commit ourselves to the education of our youth in the art of cultural heritage. My message for this occasion is to all our parents and grandparents, to make it a must to educate our children and grandchildren on their cultural heritage, nothing must be seen as banal and of no importance, from the bersez, romans, zistwar soungoula e kousoupa, proverbs, kanmtole, moutya and sega, to our beliefs and our values and even our skills. It is the best way to ensure that all aspects of our cultural heritage continues to be practiced, and continues to remain a living heritage instead of a far-off memory,” Minister St.Ange said.

The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture said that heritage conservation should be the concern of everyone and the responsibility of everyone. The Minister seized on the opportunity of Heritage Week to condemn the acts of vandalism at heritage sites which he said is persisting despite all efforts to sensitize the public.

“Instead of combining our efforts for the development of our cultural heritage, these acts simply mean that we are always taking a step back. Today, I am also calling on knowledge holders, our very own Seychellois people; let us not only hold on to the past knowledge we have but let us go that step further and share it. I am making this point today as throughout the year we have noticed a considerable decrease in the number of people willing to share their knowledge with our researchers. Research and documentation is one of the means of ensuring that our heritage is preserved for prosperity,” the Minister said.

“Heritage week," said Minister St.Ange, “is an opportunity to forge new alliances with other agencies which can assist in the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage as well as an opportunity to reinforce existing alliance. This is achieved through the recognition of contributions that individuals have made in the preservation and in the promotion of our cultural heritage. I take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all those who over the years have been contributing one way or another to the national effort of preservation and promotion of the culture of Seychelles. I also take this opportunity to commend the effort of the National Heritage Research Section, the National Monument Board, and the Seychelles Heritage Foundation for once more ensuring that heritage week remains one of the activities to look forward to on the cultural calendar of Seychelles.”

The Seychelles Heritage Foundation, which falls within the island's Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is continuously updating its list of heritage sites in Seychelles through an inventory to identity the island’s key heritage sites. Baie St. Anne of Praslin district in 2012 was subjected to an inventory of its heritage sites whereby 63 heritage sites were identified. Copies of the inventory were presented to 13 stakeholders during the official opening of Heritage Week at the Creole Institute, an institute which is listed as one of Seychelles’ heritage sites. The building, rich in history, has been transformed into one of Seychelles’ key research and educational institutions. A historical plaque was also unveiled at the official opening ceremony highlighting the building’s historical past.

PHOTO: Minister Alain St.Ange at the official opening of Heritage week 2013 / Photo from Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture


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