Colourful display launches FetAfrik


26-May-2009

Minister Meriton addressing guests at the launch of FetAfrik 2009

Entitled the Glamour of African Attire, the exhibition showcases the beauty of traditional clothing worn for various occasions on the continent.

The ceremony yesterday started with the breaking of cola nuts by Isijola Olawate, president of the Association of Nigerians in Seychelles. Such a gesture is made before any formal ceremony, and cola nuts are also offered as gifts to visitors entering a home in many African countries to symbolise friendship, peace and harmony.

This was followed by a prayer for Jesus by the Kenyan community representative here, Esther Olango, in which she asked for the Lord’s peace and protection for the continent and our country, and for the safety of our citizens held by pirates.

Addressing guests before launching the event, Minister for Community Development, Youth, Sports and Culture Vincent Meriton said: “The exhibition will take us on a journey that will allow us to discover and appreciate this aspect of mainland Africa.”

The start of FetAfrik coincides this year with Africa Day, celebrated yesterday to mark the founding in 1963 of the Organisation of African Unity, now the African Union.

Guests at the opening of the exhibition and launch of activities for this year’s FetAfrik included Vice-President Joseph Belmont, National Assembly speaker Dr Patrick Herminie, ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, MNAs and culture ministry staff.

Mr Meriton said our country has every reason to join in this celebration because of its various links to Africa, be they geographical, historical or economic.

Guests watching a display of African clothing worn for various occasions“FetAfrik brings to the fore our cultural heritage,” he said.
He said some aspects of our African heritage have been transmitted to us in fragmented form, but they are nonetheless regarded as highly-prized relics of our past. It is all these cultural aspects and values, fused with influences from our founding sources, that make us this remarkable and hospitable nation, he added.

“As we celebrate FetAfrik, we are called on to contemplate all the influences that define and unite us as Seychellois,” said Mr Meriton.

“FetAfrik is, therefore, the forum whereby attention is given to the African dimension, to the rich and diverse facets of the Seychellois people.”

He told those present that though FetAfrik is celebrated only once a year, great efforts are being made by his ministry to research, document and promote the African aspects of our cultural heritage.

He said the National Heritage Section is to start a project on the intangible heritage of Seychelles, where elements of our African heritage will be explored in depth.

A project to redevelop the slavery section has already started, and efforts are also ongoing to develop twinning programmes with countries on mainland Africa, which will boost exchanges with various African countries.

The opening of the exhibition yesterday ended with a spectacular display of African clothing worn by the young people and elders for various occasions, and also music and dance – including our traditional sega.

The exhibition will stay open throughout the week, and other FetAfrik activities will include a heritage fair in Victoria from Thursday-Saturday, May 28-30, held in collaboration with the Small Enterprise Promotion Agency, a presentation and exhibition on the traditional music and dance called tinge, at the Creole Institute on Friday morning, and an African evening of dances, fashion and cuisine at the International Conference Centre on Saturday May 30.

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