Abolition of Slavery: Prime Minister Jugnauth and President Ramkalawan pay tribute to our ancestors

Abolition of Slavery: Prime Minister Jugnauth and President Ramkalawan pay tribute to our ancestors
Abolition of Slavery: Prime Minister Jugnauth and President Ramkalawan pay tribute to our ancestors

Africa-Press – Mauritius. A wreath-laying ceremony was held, today, at the International Slave Route Monument in Le Morne to commemorate the 189th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery, in the presence of the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, and the President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr Wavel Ramkalawan, who is the Chief Guest for the celebrations. Following the wreath-laying ceremony, an official ceremony at Le Morne public beach was held.

Amongst the various eminent guests present were: the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Land Use Planning, Minister of Tourism, Mr Louis Steven Obeegadoo; the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun; the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Local Government and Disaster Risk Management, Dr Mohammad Anwar Husnoo; the Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Mr Alan Ganoo; the Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Mr Georges Pierre Lesjongard; the Minister of Social Integration, Social Security and National Solidarity, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo; the Minister of Arts and Cultural Heritage, Mr Avinash Teeluck; several Ministers and Members of the Parliament; as well as other eminent personalities.

In his address, Prime Minister Jugnauth recalled that both Mauritius and Seychelles share the common history of slavery as well as language and traditional dance. He dwelt on the importance of commemorating the abolition of slavery since it is a way to pay tribute to our ancestors, who were victims of slavery.

He added that it is the duty of every citizen to remember this dark period of the world’s history so that humanity does not commit this horror again, and lives in serenity. Speaking about Le Morne, he said that it is a symbol of resistance to slavery, the fight for freedom, and human suffering and sacrifice.

It is therefore imperative, he underlined, to pay tribute to the victims of such exploitation and to acknowledge the contribution, sacrifice and hard work of slaves in the economic development of the country.

In that context, Prime Minister Jugnauth underlined that Government gives a lot of importance to education and is implementing several measures to ensure the right to education to the most vulnerable.

Acknowledging that education is a means to address this injustice in history, he recalled that since January 2024, the majority of pre-primary schools are free.

He added that a monthly child allowance of Rs 2,000 is being paid by Government to children aged up to three years. Public tertiary education is free and Government pays the exam fees of students sitting for the School Certificate and Higher School Certificate, he stated.

Furthermore, he pointed out that vocational education is being enhanced through the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development and polytechnics across the country.

Underlining the importance of our cultural heritage for African descendants, Mr Jugnauth said that the Intercontinental Slavery Museum (ISM), inaugurated last year, seeks to preserve the spirit of resistance and resilience of those Africans, Malagasy and Asians who were enslaved, shipped and disembarked in Port Louis.

Furthermore, he announced that the twinning agreement between Le Morne Trust Fund and Robben Island in South Africa has been renewed adding that an Interpretation Centre and a Slavery Museum will be constructed at Le Morne.

He also acknowledged Seychelles’ contribution and support in Mauritius’ fight for the sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago while recalling that the majority of countries support Mauritius.

For his part, the Chief Guest and President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr Wavel Ramkalawan, spoke about how slavery is a dark chapter in human history and how this practice destroyed many civilisations and has left an indelible imprint on many nations’ soul.

He however saluted the spirit of resilience and resistance of the slaves who defied injustice, oppression and human cruelty. He further dwelt on the common history of Seychelles and Mauritius and said that both nations are independent and proud of their rich cultural ties and history.

President Ramkalawan likewise reiterated Seychelles’ full support to Mauritius in its fight for the sovereignty over the Chagos Archipalago. He moreover acknowledged the excellent bilateral relations between the two nations.

As for Minister Teeluck, he underlined the need to impart the cultural history to the new generations and added that education plays an important and determining role.

He also spoke about the Slave Route Project launched in 1994 and recalled that since the past 30 years, Mauritius participates in this project. On that occasion, a publication entitled “Comparative Experiences: The Triumph of the Human Spirit over Adversity” was launched.

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