– 03 November, 2016:
The Prime Minister, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, exhorted the youth to adopt the values transmitted by our ancestors and follow their steps, by living a life with dignity, respect and humility for a better future which will eventually help the country prosper.
He was speaking yesterday in the context of the celebrations of the 182nd anniversary of the arrival of indentured labourers in Mauritius at the Aapravasi Ghat, World Heritage Site, Trou Fanfaron Wharf, Port-Louis, in the presence of the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Santaram Baboo and other eminent personalities.
Sir Anerood Jugnauth paid tribute to the immigrants who through perseverance, resilience and fortitude contributed significantly to make of Mauritius where it stands today. He further underscored that despite the huge sacrifices and moments of hardships, our ancestors persevered, and did not let go of their culture, which he said, should serve as example for the younger generation.
He recalled that the Aapravasi Ghat, formerly known as the Coolie Ghat, represents a cornerstone of our Mauritian National Cultural Heritage which got international recognition through its inscription as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2006.
The Prime Minister concluded by expressing his optimism with regard the possible inscription of the Mauritius Bhojpuri folk songs – Geet Gawai on the UNESCO Representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage which he said encapsulates the intangible cultural heritage brought to Mauritius by the Girmitias, Indentured labourers some 182 years ago.
For his part, the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Santaram Baboo, spoke of the roles of the immigrants and our forefathers who through their hard work and dedication have contributed in laying the foundation of the Mauritian nation among others. He also called for the preservation and valorisation of the heritage sites which according to him are essential for the construction of a common Mauritian identity and the development of deeper knowledge of our history.
He recalled that Mauritius is the only country in the world that has a UNESCO World Heritage Site, namely the Aapravasi Ghat, dedicated to Indentured Labour.
The Chairperson of the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund(AGTF), Mr Dharam Dhuny, highlighted the various development phases of the Aapravasi Ghat which he said mark the beginning of the Indentured era with the migration of over two million Indentured labourers between the year 1834 and 1920 who brought along with them their culture hence contributing into making Mauritius a multi-cultural society. The Aapravasi Ghat, he stated, is among the earliest explicit manifestations of what was to become one of the greatest migrations in history, he concluded.
To commemorate the day, various activities were organised by the Ministry of Arts and Culture in collaboration with the AGTF namely, a wreath laying ceremony, launching of a coffee table book entitled “Aapravasi Ghat World Heritage Site” as well as a cultural programme by local artists and an exhibition. This year also marked the 10th anniversary of the inscription of the Aapravasi Ghat on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Aapravasi Ghat formerly known as the Coolie Ghat, was listed in 1985 among the National Monuments of the island and was renamed Aapravasi Ghat in 1987 as the landing place of immigrants. It was inscribed on the World Heritage Sites List of the UNESCO in 2006. It is also the first site chosen by the British Government in 1834 for the ‘great experiment’ in the use of indentured labour.
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