Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth on Tuesday launched the first phase of the Intercontinental Slavery Museum, a “site of conscience”, at the former Military Hospital in Port Louis. The museum will be dedicated to a deeper understanding of Mauritian history and the impact of slavery and the slave trade on Mauritius. The objective is to recall the inhuman treatment suffered by slaves constituting a crime against humanity. The museum will thus honor interculturality and promote memory as well as reconciliation.

The Minister of Arts and Cultural Heritage, Avinash Teeluck, and other personalities were present. A temporary exhibition on the theme “Breaking the Silence” was also inaugurated. It is thus launching a consultation process, which will end in January 2021, with the public on slavery. The event stems from a joint initiative of the Department of Arts and Cultural Heritage and ISM Mauritius Ltd . It is part of the International Decade for People of African Descent observed from 2015 to 2024 and the commemoration of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

The creation of the Slavery Museum is one of the recommendations of the report of the Justice and Truth Commission, submitted in 2011. The museum is a symbolic project aimed at honoring the resilience and the struggles for freedom of the ancestors of Mauritians.

The project is implemented in two phases. The first phase, funded to the tune of Rs 20 million, includes the launch of the intercontinental museum of slavery on the ground floor and on the first floor of the south block of the old military hospital pending the complete restoration of the building. In this first phase, the museum will thus host exhibitions of various objects used by slaves. The second phase will be devoted to infrastructure works.

The former Military Hospital, located opposite the Aapravasi Ghat , World Heritage Site, in Port Louis, has been identified to house this museum because it is associated with slavery as slaves were treated there. The location is also favorable because there is no monument or place commemorating the struggle against slavery in the capital. The Military Hospital was built by slaves in 1740 under the governance of Mahé de La Bourdonnais, the first French governor to reside permanently on the island.

Reference: Maurice Actu - Section Culture

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