The Culture of the Seychellois Creole

  • November 30, 2018      Joy Marie Salgado

Victoria, Seychelles – In a small yet beautiful archipelago just south of the equator, Seychelles delights guests coming to the Indian Ocean with its beautiful destinations as well as diverse demography. With less than 100,000 residents, the islands boast of a rich and wonderful culture. The ethnic background of its people add to its surprisingly remarkable beauty.

Who Are the Creole?

The term Creole refers to people who have mixed European and non-European racial ancestry. It is no surprise that the majority of the residents of Seychelles are Creole, who are mostly of African and Malagasy origin. However, with the constant immigration of people in recent generations, there are plenty of Creoles that are of British, French, Chinese, and even Indian ancestry.

Such a diverse community adds to the charm of the island. The Seychellois Creoles have not become a dominant group although they comprise around 70% of the population. The majority of them are truly proud of their African or Malagasy heritage such that they make sure to share this within their communities. There are even those who set up an institute in Mahé, the largest island in Seychelles.

Promotion and Understanding of Culture

The Seychellois Creole people help promote their cultures and even play a part in developing their language and politics. For instance, Seychellois Creole, which is also the name of their language, is one of the three official languages in the archipelago. It is wonderful to note that the people of the island are well-versed in various languages, as Seychellois Creole developed from French dialects. The younger Seychellois can even read and speak in English, as this is the language of commerce and that of the government.

The Seychellois Creole people have not forgotten their ancestry, as many storytellers and singers of the region pass on the knowledge of their customs, traditions, and cultures. Their delicious cuisine is a diverse selection that reflects how they have incorporated their community’s heritage and culture into each meal that they create. They share a palate that appreciates a wide variety of flavors and cooking techniques.

More than their society’s institutions and culinary wonders, the Seychellois Creole also use fables, proverbs, and songs to pass their culture on to the next generations. It is delightful to witness how music, dance, and literature can open different generations’ eyes to their local culture. An example is their practice of moutia, which is a performance that began in the period of slavery but later became a medium for people to tell stories of their hard labor. In addition, other performers try to keep their traditions alive through the use of satire to entertain as well as teach. It is never boring to learn about one’s culture, especially when it is presented in a colorful and interesting way.

Image from Andrea Cassani, https://www.flickr.com/photos/cassani/3830532086/