A national day of mourning was marked by an outpouring of emotions as citizens paid tribute to a man known for his love of country and peace. Mourners from all over the country, including the inner islands, gathered to pay their last respects to Seychelles Founding President Sir James Mancham as he lay in repose at Palais des Sports this morning.
Seychelles bade its final farewell to Sir Mancham, who was laid to rest at the State House Cemetery following a two-and-a-half-hour-long state funeral with full military honors. Following this, about 200 guests were invited to the lying in state at State House this afternoon to pay their final tributes. Among them were family members and friends of the late Former President Mancham; the President of Seychelles, Mr. Danny Faure; Former Presidents France Albert Rene and James Alix Michel; Cabinet Ministers; and members of the National Assembly, the Judiciary, and the diplomatic corps.
Both before and after the state funeral, hundreds of people lined the streets of Victoria from State House to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to view the cortege and pay their final respects to the country’s first President. The state funeral service was held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
On behalf of the Government of Seychelles, the Designated Minister, Mrs. Macsuzy Mondon, eulogized Sir James as a “true patriot” and paid tribute to President Mancham’s tireless efforts for the promotion of peace in Africa and all over the world. “President Mancham will always be remembered for the many years of his life devoted to the service of his country. He carried high the banner of his convictions, and whose principles helped shape the modern and peaceful Seychelles of today,” she said.
“He was a symbol and artisan of Seychelles’ national unity and reconciliation. He always sought to create space for dialogue and inclusiveness, rejecting hatred and retribution. He strove till the end of his life to achieve those goals in the interest of his fellowmen and compatriots. Seychelles is indebted to Sir James. His lessons are for the learning of all of us. Such foresight will continue to inspire us and many generations to come,” continued Minister Mondon.
Following the service, President Mancham was laid to rest in the State House cemetery, alongside notable historical figures such as Quéau de Quincy and Governor Sir John Thorpe.