Interview with UK-born Anita François

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Interview with UK-born Anita François Empty Interview with UK-born Anita François

Post  Sirop14 on Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:54 pm

Interview with UK-born Anita François

Anita François‘Seychelles is a unique place’

Born in England to a Seychellois mother, Anita François wants to settle in Seychelles in the future, but she is in the meantime studying for a Master’s degree in Archaeology at UCL (University College London).

Here on an internship programme with the culture department, Anita, whose mother is Josette François, wants to travel around the world, especially in Africa, and work to preserve African history more particularly that of Seychelles.

Describing herself as very modest, intelligent, strong, caring and fun to be around, Anita was voted ‘Miss Popularity’ at the Miss Afrique Francophone UK (United Kingdom) beauty pageant held at the Camden Centre in the heart of central London.

Prior to taking part in the contest she said: “A place as important to my history as the Seychelles needs great advocating. In participating in Miss Afrique Francophone UK I am working towards being one of those amazing people striving to promote a greater global awareness of, what is in my eyes, the most beautiful place on earth.”
Seychelles Nation caught up with the 23-year-old who does not see modelling as a career inspiration for herself.

Seychelles Nation: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your parents.

Anita François: My mother Josette François left Seychelles for London when she was about seven years old. She accompanied her own mother there. But my mother came back here for a few years in her teens. Then she moved to Miami, Florida, in the United States of America with her dad and that’s where she met my dad who was born in Haiti. They then moved to London where I was born.

Seychelles Nation: Is this your first visit to Seychelles

Anita François: This is in fact my third visit to Seychelles. I first came here in 2007 and it was nice to see the family. The second visit was two years ago. The first time I came here I fell in love with the place. In London we have the Seychellois community, and I was introduced to the Seychellois culture early in life, but it felt good to experience it for myself the first time I came.

Seychelles Nation: What it easy to get yourself into the Seychellois culture?

Anita François: I found it quite easy to get myself into the Seychellois culture. I really felt good around my people. I can go anywhere else, but Seychelles is the place in my heart. All the time I walk the streets I see a cousin or a distant relative.

Seychelles Nation: But how did you get into modelling?

Anita François: To be honest modelling was not really a career inspiration for me. It was just a hobby that I would do now and then. Samantha Accouche informed me about the Miss Afrique Francophone UK pageant and told me: ‘I know how much you love Seychelles and this is an opportunity to represent your country.’ That was the only thing that got me into doing it. To be honest I’m quite a shy person. Going on stage in a bikini is nAnita representing Seychelles at the Miss Afrique Francophone UK beauty pageantot my thing, but I did it just to represent Seychelles. I wasn’t expecting to win anything as I only did it to represent my mother’s country. I am more interested in archeology. Before that I did television production.

Seychelles Nation: But are you still doing modelling?

Anita François: No I’m not. I’m now working hard on my Master’s and I’m doing my dissertation at the moment. So I’m now doing my internship and research alongside. I want to gain maximum experience before going out into the archeological world.

Seychelles Nation: Why archeology?

Anita François: After completing my studies in media (television production), I found it was not what I really wanted to do. Because I love history, not the history that is taught in primary and secondary schools, I told myself why not go for something in this field since I love world history in general – African, European, Asian, American as well. So I chose archeology at the UCL which is the only university in London actually providing a course looking at a wide variety of archeology instead of just focusing on classical archeology. I did my graduate diploma for a year and loved it. This is why I chose to do my Master’s.

Seychelles Nation: What is your research about?

Anita François: My dissertation is entitled an African Silence focusing on African diaspora into the Seychelles. I am looking at the cultural aspects – tradition, religion, dance, music and so on – and try to pinpoint if they came from Africa.

Seychelles Nation: Although you were not born here you seem to still want to have a strong link with Seychelles …

Anita François: I’m not sure why, but the only other place besides Seychelles that I have found a connection with is Egypt. I think it’s also because my love for history. When I visited Egypt, it was interesting to see history that was so vibrant, interesting and so long. Seychelles is a unique place and most people say it’s a beautiful place.

Seychelles Nation: You could have done the same thing for your father’s country, Haiti…

Anita François: Seychelles is my mother’s country and I have been introduced to it a lot earlier and I have been here three times. My dad lives in America and I haven’t visited Haiti as yet. I’m planning to go there later this year. But I have definitely looked into the history of Haiti. As much as I am proud to be a Seychellois, I am also proud to be a Haitian, although I only have the English nationality.

Seychelles Nation: Would you like to come and settle in Seychelles?

Anita François: I definitely want to come and live in Seychelles and it is one of my future plans. I want to move here in 10 years’ time to be around my family, my people. I love the music, the dance, the culture, the food. I was part of a Mauritian group back in London and I borrowed a sega dress from them for the Miss Afrique Francophone UK pageant. I also performed for the Radyo Sesel anniversary event in London with producer Elvis Joubert. My best Seychellois artist is Extra Big. He’s got such a nice voice. I also love T-Trey. I also love listening to the sega and moutya.

Seychelles Nation: You seem very busy. How do you balance everything?

Anita François: I always give myself too much to do. It keeps me busy, strong and going. But I know I have started it and I need to finish it. It makes life interesting for me.

Seychelles Nation: If you happen to move to Seychelles, what would you like to do career-wise?

Anita François: I have always had a passion for representing my culture and as I am really interested in culture I would love to work in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

Interview by G. G.


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