VENN’S TOWN UNESCO WHS PROJECT ADVANCES TOWARDS FINAL STAGES
(Posted 23rd May 2017)
‘This has taken a lot longer than we once hoped for but the project has remained on course. Many challenges had to be overcome but give or take a year, we will have our third World Heritage Site after the Vallee de Mai and the Aldabra Atoll‘ commented a source from Victoria, the Seychelles’ capital, when passing updated information about the state of the Venn’s Town application to UNESCO.
First mentioned here in 2013 has Venn’s Town captured the imagination of many visitors to the site high up in the mountains of Mahe and the site has remained a regular visiting spot for this correspondent too, when on the islands on assignment.
Former Tourism Minister St. Ange said to this correspondent in 2013, quoted at the time: ‘Mission Lodge was formerly known as Venn’s Town in the 1870s. It was set up by the Church Missionary Society, a philanthropic group in 1876 to 1889 to accommodate children of liberated slaves. The site is situated on top of a mountain at 450 meters in a national park, far from the main town area, a place unique in biodiversity and history and commanding one of the best panoramic views of the islands. The last batch of liberated slaves landed in Seychelles in 1875, but Venn’s Town still accepted children born of African parents working as labourers and on plantations. The site symbolizes the beginning of formal education and Christianity for the liberated slave children of Seychelles. The site was an important stop along the slave route in the 18th and 19th century in the Indian Ocean and Eastern Africa, and was also an important element in the makeup of the African Diaspora. Venn’s Town of Mission Lodge is a site that demonstrates something in human life that is regrettable, but that took place. It represents an event in the whole world in terms of slavery. These are the symbols of freedom. Venn’s town is the only site in the world that served freed slave children. It is today inhabited and begging to be recognized by the world as a unique historical Site for the World. We are after protecting this site for all to see. A cultural site with a million dollar view, but for us in Seychelles, a site with a unique cultural dimension out of the commercialization world. We need it to become a site for the world, which is why we are after seeking UNESCO to declare it a World Heritage Site’.
Reunion has in the past partnered with the Seychelles to improve the facilities at Venn’s Town, providing support to clear up the pathways, improve signage and help clear the remaining buildings from vegetation, leading to an increase of visitor numbers to the site.
Venn’s Town is located in the Morne National Park, also an increasingly popular site for tourists wanting to explore Mahe’s mountains in the centre of the island.
Find below additional links to earlier articles written on this subject: