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"Slavery Sites of Seychelles" book details harrowing past, terrible suffering 

Victoria, Seychelles | May 26, 2024, Sunday @ 08:00 in Entertainment » ARTS & CULTURE | By: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 2749
"Slavery Sites of Seychelles" book details harrowing past, terrible suffering 

The Slavery Sites of Seychelles publication. (Seychelles News Agency)

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"Slavery Sites of Seychelles," a publication detailing some of the slavery sites in the country in the three national languages, was officially launched on Friday.

Dr Odile De Commarmond, working closely with Colette Gillieaux, is the main researcher and driving force behind the project, in which 80 people in Seychelles were interviewed.

Material for this latest publication has been gathered since 2002 with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) Slave Route project. The collection through the Memory of the World programme - which was an inventory of all institutions with documentation of historical and heritage value - is the first exercise that took place.

De Commarmond said, "It was an interesting journey that took us to many sites in the country, some were up on hills and in bushy areas that were not very easy to get to."

She added "It has taken this long to complete the book as she has been doing the work while working full-time or furthering her studies."

De Commarmond explained that among the challenges faced when carrying out the research were the fact that some of the sites were either partially or completely destroyed.

The Seychelles National Archives being closed for a long time was also a challenge as "there we were unable to verify some of our work with the documents found there," she said.

In her address, De Commarmond talked about  Ros Kriminel (Criminal Rock) on Grande Soeur Island and that "through our many interviews we have found that to punish slaves, their owners would take them to that rock and throw them into the sea."

She shared that during her interviews, she discovered many other harrowing stories and "those we spoke to gave us very rich testimonies, that were delivered with a lot of emotions when recounting the slaves' suffering."

While a lot of the research has been included in "Slave Sites of the Seychelles," Decommarmond revealed plans to have future publications to include other information that have been left out of this one.

The researcher's next step is to continue with the research of which "is to find the slave market that was located on Mahe, somewhere in town", which today is the capital of Victoria.

In addition to the launch of the book, guests to the event were also able to view an exhibition of the many sites the researchers visited as well as photographs of some of the people whose memoirs have been used.

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Tags: Slave Sites of the Seychelles, Slave Route project, slavery, slaves

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