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Mahé (SEZ)


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*From October 2017

Seychelles Travel Guide The Complete Guide to the Seychelles

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Population and People

Multi-ethnic, Peaceful, Harmonious

90,000 people live permanently on the Seychelles' eight inhabited islands, of whom 90% live on the largest island, Mahé. 90% of the population are also of Creole descent, usually from French colonial settlers and African slave labourers. Most of the remaining 10% of residents are of European origin.

Since their discovery, the Seychelles have attracted people from all over the world. The multi-ethnic roots of the inhabitants stretch far and wide, including France, India, the UK, China, the Arab world, and other parts of Africa. Almost every imaginable ethnic and national group can be found in the cultural melting pot of the Seychelles, and each has left its own mark on the country's vibrant, peaceful society. Nowadays, all citizens enjoy equal footing, whether they are a descendent of slaves, adventurers, exiles, or pirates. Seychellois people therefore tend to have a wide range of skin colours, and often bright or blue eyes - probably a remnant of the French settlers who mainly came from the northern Atlantic coast.

Many families who live in the Seychelles these days have unmarried parents, and the children are frequently raised by their grandparents, as a large proportion of Seychellois men and women are employed professionally. It is also not uncommon for men to have more than one female partner, even those who are married, so women sometimes have children with different fathers. Besides this exception, 21st-century Seychellois societal norms are similar to those in Europe. The modern-day Seychelles are also a rich country, especially compared to other African nations, and the GDP per capita is even higher than in some European countries.

The average age in the Seychelles is 32 years old, and the country enjoys a population growth rate of 0.4%. Those who travel to the Seychelles will often find that the locals are friendly towards foreigners, and generally helpful and courteous. The everyday pace of life is much slower in the Seychelles, however, so there is little of the familiar hustle and bustle of western cities on show.

ImagePaddling at sunset near Mahé (© Dennis Schmelz)

The most common language of the Seychellois population is their own Creole variant, Seychellois Creole, or Seselwa. This native language is a historical mix of African languages such as Swahili and Malagasy, but with large French influences. The three official languages of the Seychelles are Creole, English, and French.

In terms of religion, the Seychellois are largely Roman Catholic (82.3%), while 6.4% are Anglican. The next-largest religions are Hinduism (2%) and Islam (1%). Around 2% also belong to a variety of smaller Christian churches such as the Adventists, or to the Bahai religion. (Figures correct as of January 2016).

ImageMosque in the Seychelles' capital, Victoria
ImageCatholic Church in Victoria
ImageHindu Temple in Victoria

Despite the prevalence of religion, other spiritual beliefs such as witchcraft, magic, superstition, and divination have a prominent place in Seychellois culture. It is not uncommon to visit a "tonton" - a wizard who helps Seychellois make important decisions, for example during illness or with personal problems. The use of talismans is also widespread.