A large number of reefs within the inner granitic islands of the archipelago of Seychelles could be entirely lost, unless concerted action is taken soon to control crown of thorns, warns Dr. Udo Englhardt, the expert on on the management of crown of thorns in a...
The Seychelles Natural History Museum
The Seychelles Natural History Museum is located next to the main post office in Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles, on Mahé Island. The building is of colonial architecture. Most of the exhibits are found on the ground floor which depict 300 years of Seychelles history, with plenty of information to put the model ships, old cannons and other historical pieces in context. Upstairs focuses on Creole culture, with displays on music, clothing, fishing and architecture. The National Museum was completely rebuilt and fitted to the modern criteria of a cultural history museum between 2016 and 2018. It is now equipped with digital displays and improved relic protection.
The National History Museum is charged with the acquisition, preservation and exhibition of historical artifacts for public benefit. Exhibits illustrating the history of Seychelles include such items as the oldest map drawn in 1517, the Stone of Possession, and object of ethnographic interest that exemplify the traditions and modes of life in times gone past. A Portuguese nautical atlas of the Indian Ocean from 1519 is one of the oldest displays. The stone of possession is the oldest monument to date in the Seychelles. Brought by captain Nicholas Morphey, it was placed at la Poudriere on the 1st November 1756. It signifies the act of possession by the French over the Seychelles islands. The stone itself has carvings depicting its French colonial ancestry.
Pierre Poivre in Seychelles
The museum shows the history of cinnamon in Seychelles. Pierre Poivre, the son of a merchant, was born in Lyon in France. In 1772 during the last year of his tenure as intendant of Ile de France and Bourbon, he organized an expedition to Seychelles with the specific purpose of creating a spice garden . By doing this, he gave Seychelles cinnamon which became a pillar of Seychelles’ economy and a source of livelihood for hundreds of inhabitants during the 20th century.
History of Defence
Items related to the history include Seychelles People’s Militia, the Seychelles People’s Liberation Army and the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces. The Seychelles People’s Defence Force is the national military of Seychelles. It consists of a number of distinct branches: the Infantry Unit, Coast Guard, Air Force and a Presidential Protection Unit.
The Museum hosts exhibitions that not only illustrate the flora, fauna and geological history of Seychelles, but serve to enlighten visitors about major environmental concerns with the aim of promoting positive attitudes and actions in conserving our natural heritage. Occasionally, there will be additional exhibits upstairs but usually they are intended for school children. The museum showcases educational programmes during the school holidays.
Seven prominent aspects of Seychelles’ natural heritage are showcased through exhibits and dioramas. These displays include sections on botany, zoology, geology and anthropology. The museum’s documentation and resource center contains a wealth of research material in various formats. The museum also covers Seychelles’ history such as its political, economic, Creole culture, gifts of state, national emblems and key events of the nation-building process.
Traditional wedding ceremony
Traditional wedding ceremonies at that time are also depicted. The wedding car is decorated with frangipani flowers and colorful ribbons. At the exit of the church or the place of the party, is erected an arch with palm leaves and decorated with fresh flowers. The wedding couple crosses this arc followed by guests, all accompanied by a band playing the wedding march with instruments such as guitars, violins, banjo, drums and triangles.
Traditional games shown include Plan Kare, Ronn, Kouk , Balon Prizonyen and Set Ros.
Plan Kare is a game that originates from “Danm” but is easier version to play. This game is played by 2 Players, each having 3 ppieces . Its Objective is to put all 3 pieces in a straight line , either vertically or horizontally or diagonally, whilst preventing your opponent from wining . Each piece can be moved only once, from one point to another .” Plan Kare a Senk” is another version of the same game,but has more lines and more pieces.
Ronn originates from French Songs (Chorus), these were sung by young girls. This game was often played by moonlight whereby the children/adults would form a circle or(line) and sing whilst acting out the song. Popular and still known songs for the game are (La Bougere, Pti Marmit, Granmanman Bebe and Lapilapon).
Kouk is a game from French origin (Cache-cache/Hide and Seek). The purpose of the game is simple: while one person counts, the other player hides, after counting to 50, the person counting tries to find the others, before they manage to come out and touch the post where he/she was counting.
Balon Prizonyen was played with a ball, being passed by two players, after the ball is passed 3 times between them , then they try to hit the other children with the ball, if you are hit , you are out “out of the game” and the others still continue to play.The game ends when everyone is out.
Set Ros originates from the game of Seven Stones , this game is played by two groups of children . The children chose 7 stones and stacked them on top of each other (biggest at the bottom). One group will be defending the stacked stone , whilst the other the attackers, one team tries to stack the stones whilst the other tries to hit them with the ball, if the attacking team is hit, then they switch positions.
The museum includes contributions from partners such as the French government and some Seychellois individuals.
On Mondays and Saturdays the museum is open from 9.30 to 12:30 AM. On Tuesdays through Fridays it opens from 9:30 to 12:00 AM and closes for lunch from 12:00 to 13:00. Again in the afternoon it is open from 13:00 to 16:30.
Entrance fees for national adults and children over 12 years is Rs 25 while foreigners pay Rs 150.
The visit to this small museum will take only one hour.
Slavery in Seychelles
The National Museums in collaboration with the National Archives and the National Library, under the aegis of the National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts is organizing a traveling exhibition entitled “The History of Slavery in Seychelles”, the exhibition will be presented in the schools in Seychelles, with the aim of educating and extending knowledge of students on the history of slavery in Seychelles.
The people of Seychelles represent an ethnic diversity that dates from the second half of the 18th century. In 1835, when the abolition of slavery came into force in all British colonies, 6,521 slaves were set free from a population of 7,500 inhabitants. This means that the population of Seychelles then must have been predominantly black.