Seychelles was represented at the 8th edition of Festival Liberté Métisse in Reunion Island, held from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th December 2017, at L'Etang-Salé beach.
Festival Liberté Métisse is an annual cultural event that commemorates the abolition of slavery in Reunion. It was initiated by the Regional Council of Reunion as a Vanilla Island event.
Through this event, members of the Vanilla islands comprising of Seychelles, Madagascar, La Réunion, Mauritius, Comoros and Mayotte, come together to share the richness of their cultural heritage,
including through painting exhibitions and concerts.
The Seychelles’ Minister for Youth, Sports and Culture, Mitcy Larue led a cultural delegation to the event. The Principal Secretary for Culture, Cecile Kalebi, Chief Executive of the Creative Industries and National Events Agency (CINEA) Galen Bresson, the International Cooperation officer at the culture ministry, Najoie Philoe, officials from the National Heritage Research and Protection section as well as members of the ‘Mozaik’ group comprising of Seychellois artists, were also part of the delegation.
The Seychelles Tourism Board’s Director for Europe, Mrs Bernadette Willemin, represented the Chief Executive, Mrs Sherin Francis, at the event.
As Festival Liberté Métisse is also an ideal platform to showcase the fusion of tourism and culture as a vector for economic development, a village dubbed ‘Espace îles vanilles’ was set up allowing each regional islands including Seychelles, to showcase their cultural and tourism heritage.
Minister Mitcy Larue joined the President of the Regional Council of Reunion to officially open the village, where each of the participating countries had their own stands. Mozambique, invited as the guest country for this year’s Festival Liberté Métisse, also had its own stand.
The Seychelles Tourism Board’s Senior Marketing Executive in Reunion, Bernadette Honore, joined the stand where she presented a selection of delicacies from the island including breadfruit and cassava chips, flat cassava bread (galet) and papaya jam.
Officials from the Seychelles National Heritage Research and Protection section also provided explanations on traditional medicines of the island showcased through an exhibition mounted at the stand. Musical animation at the stand was performed by the ‘Mozaik’ group, which also performed for the general public on the Saturday.
Minister Mitcy Larue said: “We must never forget about our culture in order to move forward together. We should invest in love, passion, and unity for a better world -- learning from one another.”
Following her participation in Festival Liberté Métisse, the Seychelles Tourism Board Director for Europe, Bernadette Willemin, attended the Vanilla Islands meeting again representing Mrs Francis at a meeting for directors of tourism offices of the Vanilla Islands’ member countries.
The meeting was led by the Chief Executive of the Vanilla Islands Organisation, Pascal Viroleau.