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A murdered priest? Eating turtle meat? Examining the quiet side of Seychelles' history on Int'l Museum Day

Victoria, Seychelles | May 12, 2017, Friday @ 10:04 in Entertainment » ARTS & CULTURE | By: Sharon Ernesta and Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3097
A murdered priest? Eating turtle meat? Examining the quiet side of Seychelles' history on Int'l Museum Day

The representative of the International Council for Museums will also use the time to familiarise himself with the Seychelles Natural History Museum. (Ministry of Environment and Energy)

Photo license  

(Seychelles News Agency) - The contested histories of Seychelles will be the subject of discussions organised to commemorate this year’s International Museum Day, says an official of the local history museum.

The director of the Seychelles National History Museum, Beryl Ondiek, told SNA that: “Sometimes there are things that we do not speak about. If I take the example of the Natural History Museum, we exhibit and talk about the conservation of turtles, but we do not say that it was also part of our tradition to consume turtle meat.”

The International Museum Day is held every year on or around May 18 coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The event highlights a specific theme and this year’s theme is ‘Museums and Contested Histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums.’

Beryl Ondiek said that one of the things we do not speak about is that it was also part of our tradition to consume turtle meat. (Nature Seychelles) Photo License: CC-BY

Some of the contested histories of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, include the story of the slave Castor: Was he really a hero or a traitor? Was the Roman Catholic priest father Theophile really murdered or was his death accidental? Was Pierre-Louis Poiret, who came to Seychelles and lived on Félicité, really the son of murdered French king Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette?

These are some of the subjects that will be discussed in series of talks, debates and roundtables under the title ‘Koze Mize.’ The three-day activities will start on May 17.

“We want to work with our community, and go back in history and see what else is in our history that we do not talk about.”

Years after it became illegal to play the drums in Victoria, a moutia -- a traditional Seychelles dance -- will also be held at the Stade Popiler in the centre of the capital Victoria in collaboration with the Seychelles Music Association (SEYMAS).

Years ago it became illegal to play the drums in Victoria and the moutia was considered a protest dance. (Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY

Ondiek said that the local ICOM committee will also be launched during the activities in May and an executive board member of the International Council for Museums (ICOM) will also be present for the programme. The role of the committee is to strengthen the work of the national museums and also forge new partnerships with private ones.

The representative will also use the time to familiarise himself with the Seychelles Natural History Museum and also visit other private museums.

During the activities over the three days, members of the public can visit the museum free of charge.

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Tags: International Museum Day, Seychelles Natural History Museum, International Council of Museums, Seychelles Music Association, French king Louis XVI

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