And yes the began few minutes before 7pm in the heart of the Seychelles’ capital, Victoria with a spicy fusion of Brazilian and Seychellois beats, with young dancers from both countries showcasing their dances.
This truly set the tone, giving the taste of a true melting pot of cultures.
Uniting Seychelles music with foreign beats has surely demonstrated that the carnival does spread the message of unity.
Seychelles is indeed the meeting place for cultures of the world.
This followed by the traditional dances of La Digue island mixed with Indian beats.
The sixth Carnaval International de Victoria, now known by the international press as the United Nations Gathering of Cultures has officially been launched.
The opening ceremony of this three-day event was held at Stad Popiler in Victoria earlier this evening.
President James Michel, former President of the Republic Sir James Mancham and Vice-President Danny Faure graced the event with their presence.
Also attending this year’s carnival are the Tourism Minister from South Africa Derek Hanekom, Faouzia Vitry, Conseillere Regionale in La Reunion and Minister Roland Ratsiraka, the Minister of Tourism of Madagascar.
Officially launching the 2016 Carnaval International de Victoria, the Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange said our success as a country is thanks firstly to the people of Seychelles who come out in large numbers to join in the carnival celebrations. Thank you Seychelles, Minister St.Ange said.
He also thanked the staff of the Seychelles Tourism Board for their hard work.
“We know that they are often in the firing line because they are doing something for Seychelles and for the people of Seychelles. Yes they work hard, and yes they continue to deliver for Seychelles, and they even sacrifice a lot to make it all happen and in so doing they keep the industry that is the pillar of our economy moving from strength to strength,” he said.
Words of thanks also went to the staff at the tourism and culture departments and the National Arts Council who duly assisted those at the Seychelles Tourism Board.
“We have also been successful because of the support we have received from our co-hosts ̶ Reunion Island and South Africa,” he added. Our co-hosts, like us, believe in their people, and are proud enough of their culture to help stage an event that will showcase their people alongside the best from the world of carnivals, he added.
You have all realised that through your culture you will find your soul, and through culture you will consolidate your respective tourism industries, Minister St.Ange said.
The success of our respective tourism industries is dependent on how visible we are, because it is visibility that keeps us relevant in the highly competitive world of tourism.
“Thank you to the sponsors and partners who have worked with the Seychelles Tourism Board. It is very clear that our islands’ tourism trade and the local business community have understood the need for Seychelles to remain relevant as a tourism destination, and that for this to happen it needs to continue to increase its visibility.”
Minister St.Ange also spoke on the chosen theme for this year’s carnival which is unity.
“The 2016 Carnaval International de Victoria is dedicated unity. Here you are safe and will be safe because we, Seychelles, are proud to say we are friends of all and enemies of none, and here in Seychelles immaterial of your political affiliation, immaterial of the colour of your skin or immaterial of your religious belief you are welcome and you can all stand side by side, walk side by side and shake hands with each other because we are all part of the children of this world – our world.”
But as we talk of Unity at this carnival we need to also take a look at us, the people of Seychelles as we have just come out of a Presidential election, he said.
“We have but one Seychelles, and we are but one people and at this cultural event we are all standing together tonight, and will stand together tomorrow and throughout the day of Sunday crammed along the streets of Victoria, and we shall all realise that political affiliation is not a ticket to divide us as a people.”
“It is definitely not a mandate to breed discord. This appeal to unite as one people is a reflection of what we see in our passports when we travel. Our nationality is recorded as Seychellois and not red, green, blue or yellow.”
“We are, and we remain one people in our Seychelles as we enjoy this carnival spreading the theme of unity here in Seychelles and in the world at large,” Minister St.Ange said.
In her opening remarks, Miss Naiken said the carnival is a time of celebration, as it makes a strong statement at a time of great international turmoil.
“The Carnaval International de Victoria points the way to a better world – one in which we can live together side by side with no regard for differing ethnicity, faith or political persuasion,” she said.
“Let us never lose sight of the fact that nothing – nothing at all – can be achieved by violence and by the primitive, hating fields of racism and terrorism.”
“We want the Seychelles’ carnival to be seen as a symbol of the coming together of peoples of different colour, faith and political ideals, rallying under one banner – that of harmony, understanding, and faith in a common future. She thanked sponsors without whose generosity there would be no carnival and our many partners whom continue to assist us with their time and resources.
“Lastly, and this one I always keep it close to my heart. This thank you ̶ it is indeed my team at the Seychelles Tourism Board and the small team at the department of culture who have worked tirelessly to make this event a success,” she said.
“You have had countless of nights away from your family, late hours in the office, early hours at the airport. Juggling multiple tasks while not allowed to drop one ball. You have been simply amazing.”
She also thanked Minister St Ange whose guidance has enable the team to put together another spectacular show.
It is because of your vision that this event has grown to take its place on the international scene as the carnival where the world carnival and cultures meet.
The show which followed was a spectacular one whereby various artists hailing from Seychelles and across the world, showcased their talents and cultures.