Commonwealth Day celebrated with talk on ‘Heritage: Impacting the future’ |14 March 2023
Commonwealth Day is an annual celebration observed by people in all Commonwealth countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, the Pacific and Europe.
In Seychelles, to commemorate this year’s Commonwealth Day, the Seychelles National Heritage Resource Council (SNHRC) organised a talk yesterday under the theme ‘Heritage: Impacting the future’ at Venn’s Town ‒ Mission Lodge, Sans Soucis.
The theme used was in line with the Commonwealth theme for this year ‒ ‘Forging a sustainable and peaceful common future’.
The event was graced by the presence of British High Commissioner Patrick Lynch; secretary general of the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts (Snicha) David Andre; members of the National Assembly; permanent secretary Cecile Kalebi; members of the advisory council of the culture institute; war veterans; a group of university students and members of the school heritage club.
Benjamine Rose, executive director of SNHRC, shared that they chose Venn’s Town ‒ Mission Lodge as the late Majesty Queen Elizabeth visited the place in 1972 and she had tea there.
“The council once again pledges to work with all partners in the educational, cultural, tourism and diplomatic fields with very clear goals to raise the levels of heritage and cultural awareness and appreciation among the community,” said Ms Rose.
She added: “We are developing sustainable projects to bring heritage sites and intangible values to schools, heritage clubs and communities. Many investments have been injected into this heritage site, Venn’s Town at Mission Lodge. A few years ago, it was a place with a very different image. Since then, we have built a proper parking space and toilet facilities; created a more secure environment by putting up fences and having security officers. We have put up a historical statute and built a second decking area and we have restored the original path and added an access for people who have difficulty walking. Since 2022, the place has received 16,000 paid visitors amounting to R1.6 million. All this shows the commitment we undertake to ensure the sustainability of Venn’s Town heritage site.”
Robert Grandcourt, a veteran who served in the British army, read out King Charles’ Commonwealth Day message.
For her part, Cindy Moka, who works for the Creole language and culture research institute at the University of Seychelles (UniSey), thoroughly explained the development of Venn’s Town, adding that now the local community is being asked to be more involved in the conservation of this heritage site; more money should be invested in conservation projects; more research on the history of the site and biodiversity, archeological remains should be done; and develop a sustainable tourism project and have more positive contribution of stakeholders.
This was followed by a tea party at the view point in remembrance of the late Queen Elizabeth.
Commonwealth Day is celebrated on the second Monday in March, marking the beginning of a week-long series of events and activities happening around the globe – including faith and civic gatherings, debates, school assemblies, flag-raising ceremonies and cultural events.
Commonwealth Day 2023 marks the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Commonwealth Charter by the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on March 11, 2013.
This is the first Commonwealth Day since Her Majesty’s passing, and the first presided over by His Majesty King Charles III as King and Head of the Commonwealth.
Photos: Joana Meme