Les Seychellois

After the name of their islands, the Seychelles, their inhabitants call themselves Seychellois. Located in the Indian Ocean near the equator, the archipelago comprises around 115 islands and islets, some of which are widely scattered. One man told us that he had visited a particularly remote island by boat over several days, using the starry sky for orientation. Many families fish, build boats or otherwise live from the sea, which plays the main role everywhere. Life in the Seychelles is based on often state-supported and organised production and corresponding export, as well as on the import of goods from the mainland. The uninhabited Aldabra Atoll is also part of the Seychelles archipelago. For decades, efforts have been made to preserve and sustainably protect the precious natural treasures (numerous endemic animals and plants such as the Coco de Mer palm or the Aldabra giant tortoise). Gentle, still quite exclusive tourism, as an indispensable branch of the economy, brings dangers with it, but at the same time contributes to the appreciation and preservation of the island's beauty. The isolation caused by the vast sea and the relative smallness of the islands create a desire for exchange. Many Seychellois who have this opportunity leave their islands for some time, often to study or work in Europe or elsewhere. Most Seychellois live on the main island of Mahé with its small capital Victoria, on Praslin and on La Digue, where everyone seems to know each other. For us European visitors, the Seychellois surprise us at first sight with their diverse appearance. The familiar and the unfamiliar unite as a matter of course. We can hardly get enough of the different black skin colours. It is not uncommon to see Breton water-blue eyes flashing from a dark complexion, long eyelashes and full lips adorning sun-dappled faces. African regions far removed from the Seychelles, India, China, Southeast Asia and even the new continent shine out in the faces, the features are fused in familiar form and every conceivable combination. Not only the people, but also the dishes, the gardens and the spirituality show the Seychellois' ability to integrate and their cultural richness. During the conquest of the world's oceans, the islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean were strategically very advantageous for the maritime powers. This led to a chequered and largely externalised island history - including unscrupulous exploitation of people and resources and tragic abductions, as well as numerous changes of rulership. In the course of time, however, the Seychellois developed a new self-image from this, their common Creole language, their actually largely peaceful, state-organised coexistence. Today's Seychellois feel strongly connected to their islands. But the essence is quite indescribable. We look into the faces and want to ask about the hidden stories in the face of each and every one, because in the Seychelles we are in Africa and the roots of the Seychellois go deeper and further than all attempted attributions and interpretations.© Martina M. Ott

Privacy Preference Center