skip to content

Seychelles

Geography & Topography

Capital: Victoria

Area: 455 km² (176 square miles)

Language: English, French, Creole

Religion: Roman Catholic, Anglican

Currency: Seychelles Rupee

History

Seychelles, officially the republic of Seychelles is an island country spanning of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. The culture of Seychelles is an assimilation of many different religions and lifestyles. Even though the majority of the population belongs from different countries, all of them respect and accept each other’s culture. These different cultures resulted in the three major languages which are spoken amongst Seychellois – French, English, and Creole.

Seychelles has a vibrant art scene that encompasses painters, sculptors, writers and poets, artisans of many types, musicians and dancers. Painters have traditionally taken inspiration from the richness of Seychelles’ natural beauty to produce a wide range of works using mediums ranging from water-colours to oils, acrylics, collages, metals, aluminium, wood, fabrics, gouache, varnishes, recycled materials, pastels, charcoal, embossing, etching, and giclee prints.  Local sculptors produce fine works in wood, stone, bronze and cartonnage.

Local writers and poets have also used the magnificent backdrop of Seychelles as the inspiration for historical accounts, fascinating works documenting the social history of the islands and its people and collections of short stories and poems that evoke the passions of island living.

Performing Arts

Music

Music and dance have always played a prominent role in Seychelles culture and in all types of local festivities.  Rooted in African, Malagasy and European cultures, music is played to the accompaniment of drums such as the Tambour and Tam-Tam and simple string instruments.  The violin and guitar are relatively recent foreign imports which play a prominent role in today’s music.

The most recognisable instruments in traditional Seychellois music are:

Sega Drum

Sega Drum: A three foot high instrument, made out of a palm tree trunk and covered with goatskin. A high pitched note is sounded when the player beats the drum with his thumbs. Two drums were sometimes used, a smaller one called La Signal played with the larger Sega drum, while the dancers shook their heads, shoulders and hips to the rhythm.

Makalapo

Makalapo: The strangest of all the traditional instruments, made out of an empty tin can which is buried in the ground. A line is threaded between the can and a flexible stick, which is fixed to the ground a couple of feet away. Music is played by plucking the string with the stick bent, tightening or loosening the line to produce different tones.

 

Dance

Moutia

Examples of traditional Seychellois dances are:

Moutia: A song and dance style originating with the slaves on Seychelles. It is a group dance done by fireside with the men and women lining up facing each other. The dance is often accompanied by a tambourine-like percussion instrument and two types of stringed instruments—a zez and bow.

Sega

 

 

 

Sega: Another song and dance with strong African influences that is popular in Seychelles. It uses similar instruments to the moutia, although it is only about 20 years old. There are many new sega songs being produced and played on the radio and in concerts in Seychelles as well as internationally.

 

 

 

 

 

Some interesting facts:

  • The Seychelles has the highest percentage of total land area of any country in the world set aside as a national park or nature reserve at nearly 50%.
  • Seychelles granite islands are the oldest islands in the world. They are different from Mauritius and Reunion Islands. The latter are volcanic while Seychelles is made of ancient granite.
  • The main Island, Mahe, is not the biggest island in Seychelles. The largest is Aldabra Atoll. It is almost 3 times the size of Mahe Island. The latter is only 55 square miles.

 

Seychellois Community in Australia:

More information on the Seychellois community: