Press Release

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition: A date, a symbol, a vision and a monument

23 August 2021

"On August 23rd, we honour the memory of the men and women who, in Saint- Domingue in 1791, revolted and paved the way for the end of slavery and dehumanization. We honour their memory and that of all the other victims of the slave trade and slavery, for whom they stand. Once and for all, it is time to abolish human exploitation and to recognize the equal and unconditional dignity of each and every individual on Earth. Today, let us remember the victims and freedom fighters of the past so that they may inspire future generations to build just societies."

Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director General

A date

In 1997 UNESCO established the 23rd of August as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

This International Day is intended to inscribe the tragedy of the slave trade in the memory of all peoples and should offer an opportunity for collective consideration of the historic causes, the methods and the consequences of this tragedy, as much as for an analysis of the interactions to which it has given rise between Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean; confronting realistically the innate social dynamics and discrepencies.

 

A symbol

Le Morne Cultural Landscape, a rugged mountain that juts into the Indian Ocean in the southwest of Mauritius was used as a shelter by runaway slaves, maroons, through the 18th and early years of the 19th centuries. Protected by the mountain’s isolated, wooded and almost inaccessible cliffs, the escaped slaves formed small settlements in the caves and on the summit of Le Morne. The oral traditions associated with the maroons have made Le Morne a symbol of the slaves’ fight for freedom, their suffering, and their sacrifice, all of which have relevance to the countries from which the slaves came - the African mainland, Madagascar, India, and South-east Asia. Indeed, Mauritius, an important stopover in the eastern slave trade, also came to be known as the “Maroon republic” because of the large number of escaped slaves who lived on Le Morne Mountain. Le Morne Cultural Landscape was registered as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 2008.

A vision

Through diverse forms over the years, in line with a strong drive to involve local communities, nurture a human as social collaborative process and drive progressive sustainable economic development, ADM Action Développement Le Morne has honored the date of the 23rd of August; Outdoor Sports, Performing Arts, Culinary Folklore, Craft and Human Culture have been celebrated with togetherness at heart as partners, stakeholders and networks supported operationally.

This year, as we transition to a new era, the world feels somewhat different. To take the time to observe, research, develop with careful intent, in harmony with humans and nature, now prevail more than ever.

There is a shared vision for Mauritius among idealists and ADM Action Développement Le Morne will participate in the growth of real dreams. This year is a fresh and fertile ground to seed.

A monument

Le Morne

Leritaz nou anset   |   Our ancestral heritage

Nou oule, nou pa oule   |   May we wish so or not

Touletan pou ena valer sa   |   Will always be valuable

 

Pran nou ravann   |   Grab our Ravann

Si sega zoli zordi   |   If Sega is such a beauty today

Se parski nou pann les li tonbe   |   It is for we never let it down

 

Parey kouma Le Morne   |   Just like Le Morne

Zordi tann dir li menase   |   We hear about it being subject to threats

Somey gran dimoun   |   Which can affect the slumber of our elders

Ki ti ape repoze laba   |   Whose souls rest there

 

Larivier disan pe fer tourbiyon   |   A river of blood whirls

Dan mo lespri   |   Within my spirit

Pe fer mwa rapel   |   Reminds me

 

Komie ena ti monte   |   How many climbed

Lao Le Morne laba | The height of Le Morne

Prefere zete   |   Chose to jump off

Akoz kontan liberte   |   Because they love freedom

Fode pa nou bliye   |   We must never forget

Napa finn zete pou naryin   |   No loss was vain

Listwar ena valer   |   History has meaning

Me li la pou fer reflesi   |   And is there for us to reflect on

 

Twa desandan esklav | You, descendant of slave

To bizin napa onte   |   You must not be ashamed

To bizin afirm to lidantite   |   You must be proud of your identity

 

Pran kont to pase   |   Be wary of your past

Napa les li pietine   |   Do not let it be slandered

Koumsa mem to pou kone ki to ete   |   Then you will know who you are

 

Parey kouma Le Morne   |   Just like Le Morne

Sekinn ekrir pann efase   |   What was written cannot be forgotten

Nou lapo ena soley   |   Our skin has the sun

 

Ki ti ne dan Lafrik laba   |   Born there in Africa

Nou ti sot lamer   |   We crossed the sea

Ti ena tourbiyon   |   There were whirlpools

Mo memwar vivan   |   My memory is alive

Pe fer mwa rapel   |   Has me remember

 

Komie ena ti monte   |   How many climbed

Lao Le Morne laba   |   The height of Le Morne

Prefere zete   |   Chose to jump off

Akoz kontan liberte   |   Because they love freedom

Fode pa nou bliye   |   We must never forget

Napa finn zete pou naryin   |   No loss was vain

Listwar ena valer   |   History has meaning

Me li la pou fer reflesi   |   And is there for us to reflect on

(2001)

--

“A brief history of this text.

In 2001, the Le Morne Sega by Cassiya was released and voted song of the year on Mauritian radio.

The text was born at a time where there was a great public debate, mostly through the press, between two historians; one argued that no runaway slaves ever sought shelter and lived on Le Morne mountain, while the other stood for what was common knowledge and sensible logic.

Meanwhile, one day, Gérard Louis brought a melody to me, asking me to come up with lyrics for it. Naturally, the Le Morne text fitted the music.”

Sedley Richard Assonne.
 

New Version of Le Morne, the song, released for Free to celebrate its 20th Anniversary

Le Morne resonates across time in a renewed form. The legendary song from our Mauritian folklore was revisited by a crew from a modern wave with the blessings of its original creators and is being t and radio on this very 23rd of August 2021.

The release aims at highlighting a specific geography of the island, a world heritage of a landscape, a monument of a song, while participating in a progressive reconciliation process with the societal heritage the auspicious International Day for the the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition addresses.
 

Credits - Le Morne (2021)

First Lead Vocalist: Justice Lecoq*

Second Lead Vocalist, Backing Vocals & Percussions Ensemble: Ravann Koze**

Text: Sedley Assonne

Composition, original arrangement & edition: Gérard Louis

Music Direction: Jason Heerah

Production, Recording & Mastering: JH Records

*Justice Lecoq & Ravann Koze perform as a courtesy of JH Records

**Ravann Koze are Rolando Froid, Hugo Joly, Steve Lagaieté, Deurvine Peronet, Ansley Michel, Jason Joakim, Lendy Carver, Melvin Rambojun.

Cover Art & Design: Newraj G.

Le Morne photograph is a courtesy of Raoul Rampare

Head of Production: Gavin Poonoosamy

Project Director: Agathe Desvaux

 

23rd of August 2021 Project Partners

Active Mauritius

Geda Music

JH Records

Le Petit Morne

Mauritius Sports Council

Randotrail & Nature

Yanature

Media Partners

Defi Media

Radio One

Kool FM

Lexpress.mu

Producer

FourAces Entertainment
 

An initiative of Action Développement Le Morne for Vision Le Morne

 

Online links to

LE MORNE (2021) | Ravann Koze x Justice Lecoq

Youtube

Soundcloud

 

 

UN entities involved in this initiative

UNESCO
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative