“Tomorrow after the election, we will continue to be the Seychellois nation. Those who win must not provoke those who lost, and those who lost should not provoke those who won. Let us show that we really are mature and that we are ready to bring our country forward.” – Wavel Ramkalawan
Wavel Ramkalawan is an ordained priest of the Anglican Church who has relinquished the cassock to aspire for the highest office in Seychelles – the office of the president.
Born on March 15, 1961 in Mahé, the largest of the islands making up Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan grew up as the youngest of three children in a modest home. His father was a metal worker while his mother was a teacher.
Wavel Ramkalawan attended Seychelles College, the leading boy’s education institution in the country, after which he left for Mauritius to receive theological studies at Saint Paul Theological College. He was ordained a priest and went on to take further studies in theology at the University of Birmingham, UK.
Upon his return to Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan served in several parishes in the country and rose to become Priest-in-charge of the Holy Savior parish. During the course of his pastoral work, Wavel came in contact with people who had been victims of abuse from different quarters. It was a difficult time which only the church could speak out and address such issues.
Alleged to have preached a landmark sermon in 1990, which was broadcast on national radio where he took the government to task, Wavel Ramkalawan teamed up with several others who were opposed to the one-party system in 1991 to form Parti Seselwa, an underground movement which he led.
Following mounting international and local pressure, Seychelles returned to multiparty democracy and Parti Seselwa was the first political party to register in 1992 as opposition to the government. From then on Wavel Ramkalan has been actively involved in the politics of Seychelles, and has been the candidate of the main opposition Seychelles National Party (SNP) since 1998.
“Our country should always take priority over whatever personal problems we have with anyone.”
In 2005, Wavel Ramkalawan officially took a sabbatical from his clerical duties to dedicate himself fully to politics. He recently contested the 2015 presidential elections and lost to the incumbent, President James Michel who won the close contest for his third and final term in office. Wavel had previously also contested the presidential elections in 1998, 2001, 2006 and 2011.
Afro Tourism salutes the tenacity and courage of the preacher turned politician, activist, national icon and hero, Wavel Ramkalawan.
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