28th Festival Kreol bursts into life with a performance of Creole stars


(Posted 25th October 2013)

(It is Festival Kreol time on the Seychelles, bringing the Creole World to Victoria, Kapital Lemonn Kreol)

Victoria has truly become the Capital of the Creole World, as Creole people from around the globe have come to the Seychelles to celebrate, what has all the hallmarks of the Creole Nation in the making, their food, their music, their art, their culture and their unique language.

A very special blend of people has emerged over generations, with origins in Africa, Asia, China, the Middle East and Europe, and this is visible in a rainbow of different colours but similar traits which can be found wherever Kreol people live.

Visitors for the Festival Kreol arrived from Mauritius, Rodrigues and Reunion, but also from as far as Haiti and Martinique though the official delegation from Louisiana had apparently fallen foul of the recent government shutdown which scuttled their travel plans for this year.

The Seychelles celebrate the 28th of October, the International Day of the Creole People, with a dedicated festival for the past 28 years now, longer than any other country has acknowledged and showcased ‘being Creole’ and it is no wonder that the Creole language is truly the main means of communication between the people of the island, besides their spoken English and French, uniting them beyond any other measure.

(The first ever ‘Seychelles Musician’s Walk of Fame’ artists were honoured on opening day)

(Remembering Francois Havelock – Minister St. Ange standing with the family)

(Family members of David Philoe at the ceremony)

(The Seychelles business community has come together to support this key annual event)

This year’s festival, the largest and longest ever with events chasing events for an entire week, will among other key activities see the Seychelles Music Walk of Fame inaugurated with two dedication outside the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, a dedicated plague unveiled at Venn’s Town / Mission Lodge – a location which awaits UNESCO’s approval to become the archipelago’s third World Heritage Site and the commemoration of all things Creole at the ‘Lenstitit Kreol’, the Creole World Institute at Au Cap, where the traditions of Creole culture, poetry, art, cuisine and language, among other elements, are studied, preserved and shared with the Creole Nation, wherever they are around the world.

Later today will ‘Laserenad’ and ‘Pilpili’ unfold in the centre of Victoria, which has rightly claimed the title as the ‘Kapitla Lemonn Kreolor in English the World Capital of the Creole people, after the gala launch of the festival last night, graced by the presence of Seychelles’ President James Alix Michel, his Vice President Danny Foure, the Vice President of Mauritus and the President of the Regional Council of Reunion, Didier Robert.

39 programme components make up a nonstop juggernaut of ‘Creolism’, including church services held in Creole language where choirs perform hymns in Creole, fashion shows, art exhibitions, childrens’ talent shows, cabarets, public speaking competitions to promote the use of ‘high Creole’ and even a traditional wedding reception, one for real I am told and not staged.

The colour displays across the city of Victoria, arguably the smallest capital in the world, have been running riot and provided a delightful background against the white washed walls of buildings and the bright blue skies overhead, showcasing the Seychelles from a side few would so far have heard about.

Most visitors come to the archipelago for the pristine crystal clear waters, the world famous beaches and the glorious sunshine when the weather back home in Europe, America and the Asia’s has turned all grey and dull, but those on Mahe will have an eye opener or two in coming days, when they learn and experience more than they have possibly bargained for when coming face to face with the Creole people and their culture at every street corner and across the entire centre of Victoria. The streets around the main launch venue yesterday were packed with locals and tourists alike, who had come to enjoy the music from the centre stage and long after the official part had ended did the city centre of Victoria stay alive with impromptu song performances and of course bands playing, their sound levels competing with each other from opposite sides of the festival area, and food and drink stalls did brisk business, especially those drinks containing the elixir of island life, the Takamaka rum.

And with that potent, some say perhaps ‘lethal’ mixture – which reminded me of the ‘Dawa’ at Nairobi’s Carnivore – be sure to follow the daily updates from Victoria, almost certainly from the standpoint of an elevated mood, spirited and inspired by what can only be described as coming from highly infectious smiles, genuine expressions of happy celebrations and generous amounts of Takamaka being proffered at far too many corners.

(All performers take to the stage at the end of the formal launch celebration of the Festival Kreol)

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