Searching for a true Creole ambassador: Seychelles targets all Creole-speaking nations with new beauty pageant

The first edition of Miss Creole Des Iles International will be launched on October 10 in Seychelles and will as of next year be targetting participants from other creole-speaking countries. (Miss Creole Des Iles International/Facebook)

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The month of October will soon set the stage for Festival Kreol [Creole Festival], which is the annual week-long celebration of the Seychelles Creole culture.

 

Viewed as one of the most important event on the Seychelles calendar of cultural activities, Festival Kreol offers residents and visitors alike an assortment of colours, sounds, flavours and fragrances of the Seychelles archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean.

 

As is customary the Seychelles population of around 90, 000 will be joined by fellow participants from other creole nations in the Indian Ocean and even further away to showcase the Creole heritage through their respective music and dancing, arts exhibitions, food fairs and conferences.

 

The 30th Festival Kreol in 2015 will go a little further with the planned comeback of one event that has not been so consistent in the past, which the organisers are hoping to keep this time around and even bring to new heights.

 

Dubbed the ‘Miss Creole Des Iles International’ the beauty pageant is aiming to become a platform to promote the Creole culture, dance, food and folklore as well as cultural-tourism in Creole-speaking countries.

 

The initiative conceived by a local modelling agency, Telly’s Modelling Agency aims to revive the former 'Miss Kreol' pageant, which made its debut in 1994, initiated at the time by the committee mandated to organize the Festival Kreol.

 

After a hiatus of one year the pageant was organised in 1996 by Emannuel D’Offay, after which there was a 13 year pause before another Miss Kreol Pageant was held in 2010.

 

On those 3 occasions, the pageant was purely local, meaning only Seychellois girls were able to contest, although there were plans to eventually bring the pageant to an international level.

 

The same objective is now being explored for the new ‘Miss Creole Des Iles International’ which is set for October 10. While contestants from the Seychelles islands will be targeted for the upcoming contest, the organisers already have their eyes set on attracting young women from other Creole-speaking countries, as of next year turning the beauty pageant into an international event.

 

“This year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the [Creole] Festival we want to bring back the spirit of having Seychelles as the true Creole capital of the world. That is why we decided to bring back Miss Creole,” the Managing Director of Telly’s Modelling Agency, Terry Carolla said “I have decided to turn it into an international event because I want to have a long-term relationship with the organization of the Creole Festival.”

 

The first Miss Kreol was held 21 years ago in 1994, which saw Maria Payet being crowned. (Miss Kreol Magazine)

 

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While the secretariat of ‘Miss Creole Des Iles International’ will remain in Seychelles the idea of rotating the venue for the pageant allowing each participating countries the chance to host the event, is also being considered.

 

Carolla explained that each country will be able to choose whether they want to organize their own local ‘Miss Creole’, after which the winners will be eligible to participate in the bigger pageant or have the first princess of their national pageant, [for example the first princess of Miss Seychelles], take part in Miss Creole Des Iles International.

 

“As with all beauty pageants the physical beauty will definitely be looked at when choosing a winner, but we are also looking for intelligence, someone who is outspoken, knowledgeable of her own culture as well as the links and similarities which exist between other creole-speaking countries,” said Carolla.

 

“Differing from national pageants, the winner of Miss Creole des Iles International will become an ambassador for the Creole speaking nations. She will be expected to help promote cultural exchanges between them working with the secretariat to implement [for example] an educational program in the respective countries bringing to the fore the Creole tradition, such as the dance, music and language. This will be the exchange [through which we] will understand each other better.”

 

Through the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture, work has already started to sell the idea and attract contestants from other countries to participate in next year’s pageant as well as to attract long-term partners to help fund the event.

 

“They [the partners] will benefit because the girls will not come on their own, they will bring their entourage with them and that is another tourism marketing aspect for Seychelles. We should see it in that context,” said Carolla.

 

Miss Seychelles Another World 2015 contestants. For the new beauty pageant each country will be able to choose whether they want to organize their own local ‘Miss Creole’, after which the winners will be eligible to participate in Miss Creole des Iles International or have the first princess of their national pageant, [for example the first princess of Miss Seychelles], take part. (Gerard Larode, STB) Photo License: CC-BY

This year 'Miss Creole Des Iles International' is targetting at least 10 participants and according to Carolla five young girls have shown an interest so far. 

 

When the beauty contest goes international as of next year, the number of participants will depend on the number of Creole speaking countries willing to participate.

 

Contestants need to be aged between 18 to 30, single with no children and most importantly a native of a creole-speaking country.

 

Creole which is mainly derived from the French language is the native language of the Seychelles islands and resulted from the descendants of settlers from Europe, traders from Asia and former slaves from Africa, who later intermarried forming the melting pot of culture which exists today finding their own means to communicate and understand one another.

 

Colonised by the French and the British at different times, Seychelles eventually adopted French and English along with Creole as the three official languages.

 

The islanders are able to communicate with their southerly Mauritian neighbours in their slightly different Creole, and with others who speak distant dialects of the same language from as far as Haiti and several Caribbean island nations.

According to Carolla, participants from the neighbouring islands of Mauritius and Reunion in the Indian Ocean as well as from other distant speaking countries mainly in the Caribbean will be able to participate.

 

“The Creole people is a métissage [a diversity of races] and I would like people to move away from this way of thinking that [a] Creole has to be a black person. Creole is the mixture that we have. So I am calling on all the ‘métissage’ that we have in Seychelles who have the potential, to come forward and participate in Miss Creole Des Iles International.”

 

The first Miss Kreol Pageant in 1994 was won by Maria Payet, Simone Horner won in 1996 while Rashina Reginald won in 2010.

 

Source of article: Seychelles News Agency

Uniting to showcase cultures through art - Seychellois students host 'ZENN Exhibition' in China

Using art as a means to bring them closer together and to use new techniques to combine two distinct cultures. That is what a group of Seychellois students living some 6,700 kilometres away from their Indian Ocean island home of the Seychelles have set out to achieve.

13 students involved in the project are Elsie Agathine, Emmanuel Ah-Shung, Darrel Antat, Jonathan Azemia, Colin Barbe, Kenny constance, Richard Didon, Antoine Monnaie, Trevor Nourrice, Steven Servina, Gabby Surman, Sandra Victor and Juliette Zelime

(Zeddy Benson and Lionel Donovan) Photo License: All Rights Reserved

13 students who are studying at various Universities across China recently staged a 15-day exhibition at the AC Embassy hotel art gallery in Beijing from 15-22 May 2015.

The ‘ZENN’ exhibition as it was called is a concept that embraces the Chinese character (Chan) or Zen and the Creole word - 'Zenn' [native language of the Seychellois people] meaning young people.

“The idea for this exhibition came early last year, we started to actively put things together and seek support in November 2014,” said Juliette Zelime, the principal coordinator of the event “We wanted to do something together that would bring us closer as Seychellois in a foreign country.”

According to the Agency for National Human Resource Development (ANHRD), there are currently 52 Seychellois students undertaking different fields of study in China. 

 

Oil and acrylic paintings on canvas, digital paintings, photographs, sculptures and tailored garments, all done by the Seychellois students themselves were some of the work displayed in the exhibition.

“We all had the platform to showcase our talents in any way we wished. The goal was to show the educational and cultural absorption [of Chinese culture] by the students mixed with our innate creole culture,” said Zelime

“We had a great response from the public, many of which were very impressed with the quality of the artworks,” she said adding that a majority of the artworks were on sale.Interestingly, not all of the 13 students are studying arts, nevertheless they have tapped into whatever knowledge they have added to their passion to produce their artwork.

Darrel Antat who is studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications at the Beijing Jiaotong University told SNA that while it was not an easy task realizing the project he is proud to have been a part of such an initiative.“A wealth of beautiful craftsmanship of the Seychelles traditional sitting chair [fotey - in the native creole language] abounds in a wonderful arrangement of colours showing our seas, textures, shapes and colours reminding us how beautiful Seychelles is,” that is how Kenny Constance who is studying for a Masters in Architecture & Urban Planning at the South China University of Technology described the outcome.

“…It was a joy to see something that we had worked so hard on to put together, come together beautifully. It was a proud moment for me...” said Antat.

For Steven Servina who is studying for a Masters’ degree in interior design at the Donghua University, the ZENN exhibition has allowed him to showcase the influence that the Chinese education and culture has had on his potential, ability, techniques and skills.

“…And most of all it has helped us to gather all Seychellois in China…'Reviv nou Kreolity an fanmir' [Relive our Creole identity as a family].”

Article source © Seychelles News Agency by Sharon Uranie

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Lion dancers bring added flare in Seychelles float for their February Carnival International de Victoria

Lion dancers from the Southern Chinese province of Fóshān in Guangdong are in Seychelles to mount choreography with the island’s youth for a lion dance Carnival float. Chinese Instructors, Joe aged 20 and his partner Jon 21 are working closely with Chinese instructor Mrs Lownam, Vocal National Choir Programme to built a strong and dynamic team of locally trained lion dancers.

Hip Hop dancers and Youth from the NRA are among the targeted group of young people composing the lion dance carnival float. Since their arrival in the country Joe and Jon have been constantly liaising with the International Cooperation Director of the Culture Department to formulate a comprehensive working plan and start up their recruitment process for the lion dance.

The lion dance involved energizing dancers to mimic the lion movement. It’s often mistakenly referred to as dragon dance. An easy way to tell the difference is that a lion is operated by two people, while a dragon needs many people.

Since the age of six Joe had been performing the lion dance whilst his partner Jon started at the age of ten. Professional in their domain the two lion dancers are being put into an ardent task of turning a group of the Seychellois youth into lion dancers. Speaking about their technique Jon explained that “their movements combined together to “become the lion”. Jon takes the front position mimicking movement of the lion front body.

He controls the eye lids, ears and the mouth while the movement of his leg plays represents the front legs of the lion, whereas Joe arches forward to form the back of the lion control its tail and his legs represent the lion hind legs. The lion dancers are in Seychelles as part of the bilateral cooperation between Seychelles and China. The training program is schedule to start on Monday 14th January 2013 at the National Cultural Centre auditorium.

 

Carnaval banner adds festive eye catching splash to Seychelles

A mega 20 x 3 metre high Seychelles Carnaval banner now decorates the National Cultural Centre of Victoria and will remain the eye catching sign to all entering Victoria, the Capital of the Seychelles.

The National Cultural Centre house the Offices of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

The Banner securely mounted on the building is sponsored by Maryvonne Pool, the Seychelles Tourism Ambassador and the Country’s Honorary Consul based in Tanzania. The banner was erected into place by Allied Builders as part of their c/ontinued effort to work with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

This latest sponsorship by Maryvonne Pool is considered as a valuable contribution to Carnaval International de Victoria as it adds a festive eye catching splash to the town of Victoria.

Fabricated from quality high strength material the Carnaval banner erected 3 metre high on the National Cultural Centre building paved the way for Seychelles Tourism Board to start this weekend its downtown Carnaval decorations.

Maryvonne Pool commitment as a key partner of Seychelles Carnaval International de Victoria started in 2011 when she sponsored her first mega 15 by 3 metre banner accompanied by six more three metre banners to the Carnaval first edition.

Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture used the arrival of the banner from Tanzania to say that the carnival is for Seychelles and its co-hosts. It is for each and every Seychellois. “Let us continue to rally to make this great annual event what it deserves to be. Every business in Seychelles reaps the benefits from Seychelles hosting the annual carnival. We only need to look at the /foreign exchange intake by the country, or at the visitor arrival numbers for the period of the carnival to see the evidence of the benefits of the national event.  Year on year the results stands out. This is why we can say to the business community walk with us and in so doing, you will help the consolidate your own business. Be in the carnival with a delegation, or decorate your own business premises, come forward to help sponsor the carnival and be seen as a friend of the carnival “said Minister Alain St.Ange

“Maryvonne Pool’s gesture speaks volume, let us see what others can now do” Minister St.Ange said.

 

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