Seychelles: Seychellois Officials Optimistic As the Moutya Dance Is Considered for Cultural Heritage Status


Seychelles’ moutya dance is now in the final stage of being considered as a world cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

In a recent interview with SNA, a top official from the Culture Department said the island nation’s dossier has made the list for final recommendation.

“UNESCO has informed us that technically the file is in order and has been put on a list to be considered as a world heritage. The list will be considered later in December, given the fact that the dance made the list is a positive sign and gives a lot of hope,” said Julianne Barra the director general for Culture.

It was in 2018 that Seychelles, after trying and not succeeding twice before, for the third time submitted a dossier to get the dance recognised. The application to UNESCO was accepted. In 2019, the dossier was sent to the committee level where the application was thoroughly analysed and evaluated to see if ‘moutya’ can be considered as a heritage.

Moutya is a traditional dance similar to the sega. The rhythm for the dance is from a drum made with dried goatskin, which needs to be heated through an open fire before the drumming starts. The songs which accompany the dance are those that recount the hardship of everyday life. It is believed that the African slaves started the moutya.

In a past interview with SNA, Principal Secretary for Culture Cecile Kalebi explained that it is important for the Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean – to have a cultural heritage as currently there are two environmental World Heritage sites.

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