Seychelles lights AU peace flame


President Rene lights the flame accompanied by President Michel

The lighting of the flame commemorates the 50 years of existence of the unity of Africa under the umbrella of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) known today as the African Union (AU), which will be celebrated on May 26 at the African Union Summit in Addis Abba, Ethiopia.

President Michel will attend the summit – which is the largest gathering of African leaders – for this Golden Jubilee celebration.

Also present at the State House ceremony were former First Lady Sarah Rene, Vice-President Danny Faure, President of the Court of Appeal Francis MacGregor, Designated Minister Vincent Meriton, ministers, Chief of Defence Forces Brigadier Leopold Payet, Attorney General Rony Govinden, Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly Marie-Antoinette Rose and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly David Pierre, 

Also there were Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Andre Pool, members of the diplomatic corps, Secretary General in the Office of the President Lise Bastienne, secretaries of state, Police Commissioner Ernest Quatre, other top ranking government officials and guests, among them the members of the third cohort following the Seychelles Young Leaders Programme.

In his address at the ceremony, Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Paul Adam saluted all those Seychellois who contributed to Seychelles independence and to the ideal of the African Union, in particular President Rene who bears witness to the role that Seychelles has played in creating this Union, and the late Guy Sinon, a former Foreign Affairs Minister of the Republic of Seychelles, who, alongside President René, is recognised as 'a proud father of the liberation movements of Africa, and a proud father of the African Union.'

Minister Adam delivering his address before the dignitaries

"We light this flame today to remind us of how far we have come – and how far we still have to go. Our achievements tell us, that we cannot be daunted by the scale of the task, as we have already done more than many may have expected. Above all, this flame represents our determination to succeed," said Mr Adam.

He noted the successes of the OAU/AU in the last 50 years, and also presented the challenges that lie ahead, especially for the island nations of the AU.

"Over the next 50 years, many of Africa’s opportunities will be defined by how we harness the development potential of the ocean. This is why the ‘blue economy’ concept is so important for us, and for Africa as a whole. The majority of world trade is by sea. The majority of the world’s oil is transported by sea. There is no food security without a sustainable ocean. The majority of new mineral resources will not be found on land but in the sea. The Blue economy is our future – and it is Africa’s future," he said.

Nadine Jack, who is following the third cohort of the Seychelles Young Leaders Programme, said the 50th anniversary of African unity should be a celebration of a new dawn, as a new beginning for collective actions and forging the way forward for the future. She said that we should be hopeful and optimistic that Africa has been given a second wind to fill its sails as it steers towards its destination of peace, democracy, development and unity for all the children of Africa.

"It is time to awaken the sleeping lion and through this torch of peace, let us commit to joining with all of Africa for the realisation of Africa's Renaissance,” she said.
She quoted a popular African proverb which says sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.

“I call upon the youth of Africa to join together like the proverbial bundle of sticks and commit to making the African Renaissance a reality, one that the Founding Fathers of the OAU will be proud of. Like the great Nelson Mandela, and I quote: ‘I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself,’” she said.

Second secretary Patsy Moustache – who is the desk officer for the AU at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served as the mistress of ceremony – said Seychelles is joining other members of the AU family to mark the Golden Jubilee under the theme: ‘Pan Africanism and African Renaissance’.

“This auspicious occasion will be an opportunity for all African States to reflect on the unity, the identity, the trials and tribulations and triumphs of the great continent, and to trace the way forward,” she said.

Ms Moustache said the flame of the torch “serves as a symbol of hope for the people of Africa especially in our collective will to secure a bright and prosperous future for Africa. An Africa which is at peace with itself and confident in its future.”

She quoted the chairperson of the AU Dr Dlamini-Zuma as saying, “These torches are a symbol of our achievements with regard to development, democracy and governance. These torches are a symbol of our pride to belong to Africa.”

Chief executive Timothé Sinon of the Property Management Company unfurled the AU flag while his third cohort SYLP colleague Marcus Bonté of the La Poudrière Law and Consultancy Chambers displayed the Seychelles’ national flag, before a rendition of the AU and our national anthems.

Messrs Bonté and Sinon after they unfurled the AU and Seychelles flags

Chantal Renaud presented Mr Michel with a painting and Cecile Kalebi gave one to Mr Rene.
The ceremony ended with a performance by Danielle Denis of her version of Conte partiro.

Danielle Denis performing Conte partiro