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JOURNAL INFORMATION


Seychelles Research Journal is published twice a year, in February and August. The aim of this online, open access journal is to demonstrate the vibrancy of research in and about Seychelles. Boundaries are drawn loosely to include comparable issues elsewhere in the western Indian Ocean and in small island states further afield.

Information on how to submit proposed articles and on the refereeing process is explained elsewhere in the website. New proposals are always encouraged.

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Editor:                                                     Emeritus Professor Dennis Hardy

Deputy Editor/Web Design:          Jane Woolfenden

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Marketing Consultant:                    Guy Morel

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International Advisers:

  • Dr Ashton Berry, Bird International, UK
  • Dr Pascal Nadal, Diocesan Service of Catholic Education, Mauritius
  • Dr Jivanta Schöttli, Institute of South Asian Studies, Singapore
  • Dr Erika Techera, University of Western Australia
  • Dr Kris Valaydon, Founding Editor, Island Studies
  • Professor Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Hong Kong Baptist University

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Sponsors:

Publication would not be  possible without  the generous support of our sponsors:

  • The East Indies Co.
  • STC

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This is a publication of the University of Seychelles http://www.unisey.ac.sc

The views and opinions represented in this publication are not necessarily those of the institutions to which the authors are affiliated and, additionally, should not be attributed to the publisher.

©2020 – Seychelles Research Journal, The University of Seychelles

Cover photograph © Jane Woolfenden

ISSN 1659-7435


CONTENTS


♦  EDITORIAL

Read the editorial here: Editorial-SRJ-3-(1)


♦  AN INTERVIEW WITH . . .

Anne-Berenike Rothstein talks to the writer Robert Grandcourt about his novel Beyond the Horizon, which is set in Seychelles  ♦ Page 3 ♦

Read the interview here: An_Interview_with_Robert_Grandcourt-SRJ-3-(1)


♦  ARTICLES

Kreol in Mauritian Higher Education: A tale of grit and audacity   ♦ Page 10 ♦

Pascal Nadal and Aruna Ankiah-Gangadeen

This paper discusses the introduction of Kreol Morisien (Mauritian Kreol – MK) at the University of Mauritius. The narratives of two participants who were closely linked with this achievement are presented and analysed here. Prior to this, the dynamic and idiosyncratic language situation of Mauritius is mapped out, with a focus on the presence of MK as an optional subject at primary and secondary levels. Then, the question of language learning and language as medium of instruction in the international higher education sphere, including Creolophone contexts, is surveyed. The use of narrative inquiry is subsequently discussed and justified. Following the presentation of the narratives, findings are discussed under different themes. When read against the salient orientations provided by the literature, the Mauritian experience stands out as one where individual rather than institutional initiatives have been more instrumental in the promotion of the mother tongue at tertiary level. The study also underscores the way in which feats may be accomplished in the valorization of normally marginalized languages through a strategy of accommodation rather than confrontation.

Read the full article here: Kreol_in_Mauritian_Higher_Education-A_tale_of_grit_and_audacity-Pascal_Nadal_and_Aruna_Ankiah-Gangadeen-SRJ-3-(1)

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Présence Orientale: The Indian Ocean World in Seychelles’ cultural heritage   ♦ Page 28 ♦

Penda Choppy

In this article, the pre-colonial elements of Indian Ocean creolizations are described as Présence Orientale, showcasing two elements of this présence in the Seychelles cultural heritage, i.e. musical instruments and folktales. This description is borrowed from Stuart Hall’s creolization framework of the Caribbean and the Americas, which he identifies as Présence Européene, Présence Africaine and Présence Américaine (2010). Présence Américaine is the local element of the creolization equation. In the Indian Ocean, Présence Orientale is the local element, and is referred to as a ‘culture franca’ or the Indian Ocean World (Ottino, 1974; Vergès, 2007). However, this element is obscured and marginalized because the history of the creole islands of the Indian Ocean seems to begin with, and centres on, their discovery and settlement by Europeans in the 15th and 16th centuries. But the slaves who were captured in the southeast and eastern African regions and brought to the Indian Ocean islands had already experienced cultural interchange stretching as far back as 1000 CE (Schottenhammer, 2019). This cultural interchange occurred along what is now known as the Indian Ocean rim, and involved southern and eastern African cultures, the Swahili culture, Arab, Indian and Southeast Asian cultures from the Sulawesi islands (McPherson, 1984). This interchange has continued even after the colonization period, which is what has created the said ‘culture franca’. The two chosen case-studies from Seychelles trace the journeys of folktales and musical instruments across the Indian Ocean rim and questions previous assumptions about the origins of certain elements of the Seychellois creole culture.

Read the full article here: Présence_Orientale-The_Indian_Ocean_world_in_Seychelles’_cultural_heritage-Penda_Choppy-SRJ-3-(1)

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New Ways of Finding a Voice: Oral tradition and hybridity in Seychelles Literature   Page 45 ♦

Anne-Berenike Rothstein

This paper examines the poetological function of the island – real and imaginary – in the framework of discussing elements of oral tradition in Seychelles literature. Taking the example of the poem Moutia, from Hazel de Silva’s volume of poems Sega of Seychelles (1983), this study draws on space theory in defining different small scales on several levels in the poem. Furthermore, this essay argues that de Silva’s poem already contains the performative character of the oral tradition through its style mix (lyric, Sega, Moutia), language linking (English and Creole) and its italicization of Creole words. Hybridity is explored from a literary perspective, highlighting the various aspects of narration, identity as well as gender, and suggesting how literature serves as a vehicle for a permanent renegotiation of literary expressions of small scale. This essay is a starting point for further studies of de Silva’s work.

Read the full article here: New_Ways_of_Finding_a_Voice-Oral_tradition_and_hybridity_in_Seychelles_literature-Anne-Berenike_Rothstein-SRJ-3-(1)

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Seychelles: How a small island state is navigating through the emerging competition between India and China    Page 56 ♦

Jean-Pierre Cabestan

This article explores how much Seychelles, a small island state located in the western part of the Indian Ocean, enjoys ‘agency’ in relation to great power rivalries, particularly China and India. There is clearly deepening competition between India and China, in Seychelles as well as in the rest of the Indian Ocean. China’s longstanding interest and presence in this small island state has encouraged India itself to do more for the security and the economy of a partner that it sees as ‘special’. Reacting to Beijing’s decision to open a naval ‘logistic facility’ in Djibouti, Delhi has proposed its own naval base on Assumption, a southern island of Seychelles. To date, this issue has not been resolved. India has also increased its aid and infrastructure projects. Yet Seychelles has tried to limit its dependence on Delhi and seeks to cooperate with everyone; demonstrating, in so doing, a small state’s capacity to keep some agency in the growing competition among great powers that the world has been witnessing since the end of the Cold War.

Read the full article here: Seychelles-How_a_small_island_state_is_Navigating_through_the_emerging_competition_between_India_and_China-JP_Cabestan-SRJ-3-(1)

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Food Security, Small Island States and Globalization: The example of Seychelles    Page 82 ♦

Dennis Hardy

Food security is an issue of global importance that relies not only on local production but also on the timely flow of imports and exports between nations. However, as the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated, established supply lines are not always reliable in ensuring that food is delivered at the right time and to the right place. For small island states, with a high dependence on imports, this can lead to serious shortfalls, in quality as well as quantity. In this paper, the case is taken of the small island nation of Seychelles to explore whether the present reliance on imports can, at least partially, be reversed. There are relatively easy ways to increase local production – through improvements in traditional farming and the introduction of smart techniques. Increasing the proportion of sustainably-grown food is also possible. It is concluded that a new balance be sought to achieve less reliance on imports, with, perhaps, half of the nation’s food to be provided locally and half from overseas. This might be a formula which other island nations would also wish to consider.

Read the full article here: Food_Security_Small_Island_States_and_Globalization-The Example of Seychelles-Dennis_Hardy-SRJ-3-(1) (1)

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Hiding in Plain Sight: Exploring Seychelles’ blue carbon market opportunities within seagrass meadows    Page 100 ♦

Malshini Senaratne

Seychelles was estimated to have sequestered 821.74 Gg of carbon in 2012, rendering the country a net carbon sink with a balance of tradable carbon value worth Eur 10 million. However, if the nation opts for a business-as-usual development pathway, Seychelles could become a net emitter by 2025. As the country has made provisions for blue carbon considerations within its Blue Economy framework, the potential that seagrass carries as a future market should not be ignored. Early estimates demonstrate that seagrass meadows sequester more than 10 per cent of carbon in the ocean, even though they occupy just 0.2 percent of the area. This article explores the potential for blue carbon market initiatives in Seychelles, in seagrass meadows, and argues that a number of issues surrounding this ecosystem – including conflicting legislation, constrained human capacity development, low public awareness levels, and contradictory stakeholder interests – will require immediate attention for future advancement.

Read the full article here: Hiding_in_Plain_Sight-Exploring_Seychelles’_blue_carbon_market_opportunities_within_seagrass_meadows-Malshini_Senaratne-SRJ-3-(1)


♦  CONFERENCE REPORT

International Mandela Day 2020: A symposium organized jointly by the James R. Mancham Peace and Diplomacy Research Institute (University of Seychelles), the Seychelles Prison Service, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime    Page 112 ♦

International_Mandela_Day_Symposium-Seychelles-21_August_2020-Conference_Report-SRJ-3-(1)