GIS - 16 September, 2019: The launching of Pamplemousses Slave Heritage Trail was held on Saturday 14 September 2019 in Pamplemousses in presence of the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, the Director and ASG NATCOM UNESCO, Primary and Curriculum Development and Evaluation, Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Mrs. A. Ghoorah, international representatives and several personalities.
On the same occasion, the Conferment of United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Label “Sites of Memory associated to the Slave Route” was marked. The event, an initiative of the National Heritage Fund in collaboration with UNESCO, the Ministry of Arts and Culture and the District Council of Pamplemousses, also comprised an unveiling of commemorative plaque, a video clip of the sites of the Pamplemousses Slave Heritage Trail and a guided visit of the trail.
The Pamplemousses Slave Heritage Trail consists of six sites located and are all within walking distance. They are namely ‘Bassin des esclaves’, ‘La place du Bourg’, Powder Mills Archaeological Site, Slave Cemetery, ‘St. François d’Assise Church’, and SSR Botanical Garden. It recounts almost the whole history of Mauritius as it includes inter-connectedness of sites relating to slave trading, slave settlement, slave economy and military activity. The aim of the Trail is to further create awareness among the population on crucial aspects of slavery in Mauritius.
In his address, Minister Roopun said that the Pamplemousses Slave Heritage Trail is yet another national effort contributing to the remembrance of slavery and an addition to the country’s rich cultural heritage. He commended UNESCO for the Conferment of Label “Sites of Memory associated to the Slave Route”, thus promoting the concept of togetherness and sharing of common cultural heritage on the global front. The Conferment, will no doubt enhance the visibility of the Heritage Trail, and provide an additional destination for cultural tourism, he added.
Year 2019, the Minister pointed out, celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Slave Route Project, a UNESCO initiative officially launched in 1994 to contribute to a better understanding of the causes, forms of operations, stakes and consequences of slavery in the world as well as to highlight the global transformations and cultural interactions that has resulted from this history. The Slave Route Project also aims at contributing to a culture of peace by promoting reflection on cultural pluralism, intercultural dialogue and the construction of new identities and citizenships. The sites along the Trail, will thus enable each and everyone to reflect on the history of slave trade and slavery as well as improve the understanding and the transmission of the history of slavery in Mauritius.
For her part, Mrs. Ghoorah said that education plays a pivotal role in achieving cultural peace through inter-cultural dialogues. She recalled that one of the missions of the Ministry is to foster a culture of holistic education that make learners upholders of values. She stressed on the importance of adopting the right values at an early age so as the young generations imbibe and uphold the values passed on from our forefathers. She added that the Pamplemousses Heritage Trail will be added in educational tours as well as in textbooks so as to further enlighten students on the history of slavery in Mauritius.
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