Remembering ‘Rwa Daniel’… one year on |07 August 2023
Poem recitals and songs at sea
Families and friends of the late artist, Daniel Nicholas Dufrene, affectionately known as ‘Rwa Daniel’, met on Saturday to celebrate his life and legacy through a short outing at sea, coupled with poem recitals and songs.
The special remembrance was organised by Bling Bling Poetry Association, Ras Art Glass and Rockers almighty Seychelles, three organisations with whom ‘Rwa Daniel’ was closely affiliated.
The event was to commemorate one year anniversary since his passing, on August 7, 2022.
Among those present were his wife and children, other relatives and close friends, most of whom either grew up with him or came to know him through his involvement with arts in Seychelles and the Rastafarian movement.
The ceremony got under way at the Inter Island Quay where some of his Rastafarian brothers present chanted and played their djembe drums, to the delight of those present.
Addressing the families and friends, Ruben Lespoir from the Bling Bling Poetry Association said they had gathered in spirit to celebrate the late Mr Dufrene in love and peace and all the positive things he fought and stood for, and which also characterised his personality.
“Today is not a day for sadness but rather one for blessing. It is a day of elevation so I thank everyone who turned up to celebrate our brother,” he said.
Those who could not make it out at sea also took time to praise and remember ‘Rwa Daniel’. His close friend, Joachim Hoareau, said Mr Dufrene, whom he referred to as ‘Brother Danny’, was a man with a ‘happy spirit’.
He described him as an exemplary man who contributed immensely towards the promotion of the African culture, leading to the annual celebrations of FetAfrik in May.
He said most of them who were now Rastafarian followers were inspired and mentored by the late Mr Dufrene.
“We as Rastafarians do not believe that Brother Danny is dead, because death does not exist in our faith. Danny lives on in that place that we cannot talk about but all of us here today knows he is alive because we are alive,” he said, urging those present to always keep him alive.
His sister, Denise Dufrene, also thanked those present for making a special effort on a Saturday to come out and “carry his spirit”.
“Your presence here today shows that the love you had for our brother was a sincere one and I thank you all who put this event together. I will try not to be emotional but what I feel now is not sadness, but happiness that we as families and friends, can come together every now and then to relive Danny’s spirit,” said Ms Dufrene.
Those present then boarded the vessel ‘Sea Bird’ for a two-hour outing at sea, where several members of the Bling Bling Poetry Association shared their memories of ‘Rwa Daniel’ and how he inspired each one of them.
Among them was the founder of the association, Tony ‘Raspyek’ Joubert who described him as a calm man who was always smiling.
The current chairperson, Stephanie Joubert, and her daughter Keshia also shared their fondness for ‘Rwa Daniel’, and recited two poems each, that reminded them of the person they considered as a great man.
Despite promising a day of joy, the event also brought tears to many, as Ms Joubert recounted that Mr Dufrene’s death occurred on her daughter’s birthday. A teary-eyed Keshia, who had come to know ‘Rwa Daniel’ since a baby, recited her poems ‘La Paix’ and Stars, which she said reminded him of the late artist.
Another poet was Andrea Mounac, who recalled Mr Dufrene’s last conversation with him, as he questioned the pain, suffering and abuse on earth.
Other poets whose life had been touched one way or another by the late artist were Loura Barra, Georgette Larue and Jude Ally who all recited poem for the guests.
There were also testimonies from his close friend, Norbert Loizeau, CEPS former and current chairperson, Michel Pierre and Alvin Laurence respectively, who interacted with him during his involvement with the Bling Bling Poetry Association, and Dr Penda Choppy who came to know him through the late Achille ‘Kwame’ Luc and their involvement with FetAfrik.
The organisers thanked everyone present and said they will maintain this celebration as an annual event.
He was married for 38 years and was a father of two. He was born on November, 10, 1959.
The accompanying photos show some highlights of the ceremony at the Inter-Island Quay.
Photos by Joena Meme