Lenstiti Kreol Enternasyonal – where the Creole nation will be born


(Posted 07th January 2014)

You had a great idea my friend, yes it is time for us Creole people to come together as one nation. Even though we are spread across much of the world, we are unique in our culture, our music, our poetry, our language and even our food. I think when Seychelles holds the 30th edition of the Festival Kreol we should come together as one Creole nation, see ourselves as that and present ourselves as that’ said an official from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture when discussing the question asked at the opening media briefing of 28th edition of the Festival Kreol ‘Why is there no Creole Nation yet’.

The question was asked at the opening media briefing at Eden Island, just outside Victoria by yours truly, and seemingly baffled a few in the audience and on the podium, but true to form did Seychelles’ Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St. Ange, make an immediate recovery when he agreed that indeed, there was no Creole nation as yet but then, perhaps there could be one day.

A significant step was taken towards that end yesterday when it was announced that the Creole Institute in the Seychelles will be renamed this coming weekend as ‘Lenstiti Kreol Enternasyonal’ – the International Creole Institute. The institution, long renowned and respected for promoting the use of the Kreol language in prosa and poetry, as well as daily life, will receive a new direction and focus, to serve not only the Seychellois Creole community, or those of neighbouring Indian Ocean islands and in particular the Ile de la Reunion, but extend as far as Haiti, Martinique, Grenada, Guadeloupe, the Dominican Republic, French Guiana, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, Trinidad and other Caribbean islands where Creole people live today and speak their own dialect of Creole. The geographical spread goes as far even as Louisiana which has an equally long tradition of being the home of Creole people.

Bringing them all together, with the understanding of being one Creole nation of many locations around the world, united by language, poetry, music, food and culture, will probably the most significant achievement the Seychelles can trigger, as they move towards the 30th anniversary of their Festival Kreol in October 2015, when the world of the Creoles celebrates the International Creole Day on the 28th of October.

The commemorative plague at the Institute shows that it was launched on 26th October 1989 and the transformation from a purely Seychellois organization to a global focal point for Creole people will no doubt go down in the history books as a watershed event.

A delegation from Reunion will join officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture this weekend to celebrate and launch the change of name and purpose, and the eyes of Creole people from around the world will no doubt all look to the Seychelles, where the first fledgling steps will be taken towards the Creole Nation.

The brief of the renamed institute will extend from cultural, linguistic, scientific, educational, and sporting to economic development and cooperation. ‘The newly acquired status will position the International Creole Institute as an extended arm of the Seychelles Creole Institute with the purpose of furthering the international dimension of its general mission based on the principles of promoting and of developing the Creole, the Seychelles maternal language’ said a media release received from Victoria overnight, underscoring what has been said here earlier on.

The creation of “Lenstiti Kreol Enternasyonal” was one among several projects of cooperation proposed during a high level meeting in July 2013 between the Seychelles delegation which was on official mission in La Reunion and headed by President James Michel and top officials from Reunion Island, represented by Didier Robert, President of Regional Council and Nassimah Dindar, President of General Council of the island.

On 28th October last year, with the Festival Kreol in full swing in Victoria, a Memorandum of Understanding stating the intention to launch the International Creole Institute on 10th January 2014 was signed between Seychelles and La Reunion to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Commission.

The unveiling of the plaque this weekend will also set the ball rolling for the institute to embark on the launching of a regional literacy competition, the ‘Prix Antoine Abel’. The competition will be tabled to the Indian Ocean Commission and International Organisation of Francophonie (OIF) for their respective approvals and endorsements.

The thought has occurred and was validated by a number of Creole friends made in the Seychelles and on Reunion, and from further abroad during the last edition of the Festival Kreol in October last year on the Seychelles’ island of Mahe, that the Creoles might be the true cosmopolitans of this world, and only need a catalyst, a trigger event to being to understand themselves as a nation of people with similar cultural traits and many other commonalities.

(Scenes at the Clock Tower in the heart of Victoria last October as crowds joined the performing troupes in dancing, singing and celebrating being Creole)

It is hoped, and much expected, that the transformation of the Creole Institute on Mahe on the 10th of January will be that trigger event, that catalyst, to set the march in motion towards Creole people from around the world starting to perceive and present themselves as integral part of THE CREOLE NATION. Seychelles, truly Another World’.

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