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"Africanity in the Creole Indian Ocean" lecture held in honour of Seychellois artist 

Victoria, Seychelles | May 30, 2024, Thursday @ 10:45 in Entertainment » ARTS & CULTURE | By: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 2803
"Africanity in the Creole Indian Ocean" lecture held in honour of Seychellois artist 

Achille Kwame Luc (first left) was a well-known artist and promoter of the islands' rich culture and heritage. (Seychelles Nation)

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A lecture in honour of Seychellois Africa activist, the late Achilles 'Kwame' Luc, was held on May 25 to coincide with Africa Day by Ananya Jahanara Kabir, professor of English Literature at King's College in London.

Entitled "Archipelago and Continent: Africanity in the Creole Indian Ocean," the lecture was organised by the Creole Language and Culture Research Institute and Bling Bling Poetry Association to mark Africa Day on May 25.

Historians and African culture enthusiasts met at the University of Seychelles'  auditorium to learn of the effects and involvement of African heritage on Creole cultures in the Indian Ocean.

Kabir carried out research on the creolisation in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions, critical philology and the relationship between literary texts and cultural expression. Her research brought her to Seychelles, Reunion - a French overseas department - and Mauritius in 2017.

In her lecture, she remarked that what strikes her in Seychelles "is that there is a commitment to having Creole as a national identity compared to neighbouring Mauritius, where religious and ethnic aspects would feature when one was declaring their identity."

Concerning the archipelago's relationship to the mainland, she said, "Seychelles does not just have historical Africanism but it appears to have a balance in local attempts at self valorisation."

She said, "Seychelles could be an example of how to strike a balance in incorporating the different cultures of its forefathers."

Using the late Luc as an example, she highlighted the way he presented himself - by adorning himself with a wooden carving of the African continent in a pendant, various colourful beads in his hair and a 'sak vakwa' - a bag used locally in Seychelles made from the fibre of Vakwa.

"This shows the way the Creole nations recycle and use everything in their environment," she explained, linking this way of life as being the way forward in this age of caring for the environment.

Achille Kwame Luc, was a well-known artist, a promoter of the islands' rich culture and heritage, an environmentalist, an ardent supporter of human rights, and a peace lover. Kwame was the African name he adopted. He died in October 2018 at the age of 55.

Meanwhile, the Bling Bling Poetry Association representative, Reuben Lespoir, expressed the will to keep the memorial on the calendars as activities to mark Africa Day.

"While many people did not think to associate Archilles with the academic venture, this event shows that he was a multi-faceted individual who had a lot to offer in that area," he said.

The association is also looking for other activities that would attract more youth for Africa Day celebrations since the number of youths showing up to the lecture has gone down from the first one held.

The first lecture to honour Luc was first held in 2019, due to his contributions to  promoting arts, culture and heritage in the country, especially for Africa Day.

Meanwhile, an exhibition showcasing African arts and culture was also organised to commemorate the day.

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Tags: Africa Day, Bling Bling Poetry Association

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