Every country has its own unique identity: something which identifies a nation and separates it from the wider world. For the past 300 years, one of the most important things a country has done when it gains its independence or freedom is to establish a national anthem.
Normally an orchestral score with meaningful lyrics, the anthem will create an umbrella under which the country's citizens can rally together and be proud of their nation. The anthem's main purpose is to instil a sense of patriotism in the population.
Seychelles' national anthem, Koste Seselwa, was written by composers David François Marc André and George Charles Robert Payet as a result of the legal document, the Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles, dated 21st June 1993, which stated there was to be a national flag, a national anthem, a national emblem and a national motto.
To reflect the country’s new multi-party status, Koste Seselwa was adopted as Seychelles' national anthem on National Day, 18 June 1996. With translations in English and French, it was written in Seychellois Creole - covering the three languages spoken across Seychelles.
The title of the anthem translates to 'Join together all Seychellois' and the lyrics describe how all of the citizens live together in 'harmony, happiness, love and peace'. It urges the people to preserve the beauty of their country, including the riches of the oceans, to provide a 'precious heritage' for future generations.
The message of the anthem is clear in its lyrics, 'Live forever in unity, raise our flag together for all eternity, join together all Seychellois'.
The words 'Koste Seselwa' are much more than just the title of the anthem: they are the ethos of the Seychelles nation. To this end, a Koste Seselwa Committee was set up to promote the national theme, Come Together Seychellois. The chairman was Vice-President Joseph Belmont and the members included Minister Macsuzy Mondon and Bishop Denis Wiehe.
The former Seychelles president and founder of the Democratic Party, James Mancham, who died in January this year at the age of 77, spoke of the importance of the Koste Seselwa message in an interview in 2009. He had been invited to address the Koste Seselwa Committee at State House on 24 April, where he spoke of the need for 'national unity', urging all the people of Seychelles to 'come together as one nation'.
In 2009, the Seychelles National Council for Children held a Peace Conference on 22 September to mark International Peace Day. Members of the National Committee for the theme 'Koste Seselwa' were invited to attend.
The national anthem is sung on occasions when national pride and unity are celebrated, such as in 2016 during the Seychelles 40th independence celebrations. The ceremony began with a fly-over by three helicopters carrying the Seychelles national flag and the crowd sang the national anthem as the flag was hoisted. A spectacular parade and presidential address followed.
The national anthem is also sung on other occasions when patriotism is encouraged, such as before international football matches and other sporting events. It has become a beacon for uniting the whole nation, along with the Seychelles flag and emblem.
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