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Victims of slavery: The torment of Seychelles' African ancestors remembered in exhibit for schools

Victoria, Seychelles | April 2, 2022, Saturday @ 08:00 in National » GENERAL | By: Salifa Karapetyan Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3029
Victims of slavery: The torment of Seychelles' African ancestors remembered in exhibit for schools

The exhibition is part of a series of activities organised for the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade that falls on March 25. (Seychelles Nation)

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An exhibition on the history of slavery in Seychelles is making its way to different schools on the main islands of Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue to educate students on the role the slave trade has played in the development of the island nation.  

It is part of a series of activities organised for the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade that falls on March 25.  

Put together by the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts, in partnership with the National Museum of History, the travelling exhibition tells the story of Seychelles as a destination for slaves that were sold to the French colonial population in the 1700s and 1800s and endured terrible hardship and abuse.  

"Hundreds of African men and women arrived on our shores to work on plantation estates and to become the founding families of some of today's generations. It is hoped that this exhibition will inspire in our youths a sense of sympathy and respect for those men and women whose blood and sweat have created tormenting chapters in the history of mankind," the museum's curator, Bella Rose told SNA.  

In an interview with the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) following the launch of the exhibition on March 25, the director of the National History Museum, Beryl Ondiek, said there is a lot to learn through the exhibition, especially about the origin of the Seychellois people.  

At the launch, Ph.D. graduate, Peter Nicholls, presented his research for his doctorate thesis which resulted in the publication of a book called "The Maroons of Seychelles".  

Nicholls presented his research for his doctorate thesis which resulted in the publication of a book called "The Maroons of Seychelles. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY   

"Seychelles had close relations with Africa, Madagascar, Asia, and the West Indies. The question I researched in my doctorate is "What function did Seychelles have in the slave trade in the Indian Ocean?" I found that Seychelles had a larger and more important role than we thought before," said Nicholls.  

To get more students to learn about this side of Seychelles' history, the organisers also launched an art competition for schools.   

By expressing themselves through poetry, drama, and drawing, students will be able to relay what they have learned as well as their thoughts and opinions sparked by the exhibition. The competition will also be a platform to showcase the students' artistic abilities, helping them to further develop their creative skills.   

The closing ceremony of the travelling exhibition as well as the presentation of prizes to the competitors will be held on December 2 to coincide with the United Nations International Abolition of Slavery Day.   

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