Achille, the singer who loves Africa and 'is happy to be different'
Do you wish to have a long talk about Africa? If yes, then there is one man who will be ideal for the job. It is up to you to decide when, where, and for how long.
The man’s name is Achille Kwame Luc, who lives in Mahe’s south-western district of Baie Lazare.
Achille always attracts attention wherever he goes because of his 100 per cent African way of dressing and his unique hairstyle. Many hold the opinion that he does it even better than the folk from the mainland.
Visitors find him a fine subject for photographs as he sits inside his favourite restaurant, the Pirates Arms in Victoria. Achille’s comment usually is: “I am just happy to be different and my beautiful, colourful attire is just part of me.”
Achille grew up in music as all the members of his family are musicians. As a growing boy in the 70s he listened to a lot of African music, especially from the popular group, Osibisa, a Ghanaian Afro-pop band founded in London in 1969.
He was also strongly influenced by Afro-American music of the likes of The Jackson Five, The Temptations, The Commodores, and Diana Ross from the Supremes.
When the influence of the Rastafarian movement started to penetrate these islands, Achille was not spared. He quickly fell under the spell of Jamaican stars like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh who sang a lot about Ethiopia.
These songs and his Bible readings, as an active member of the Roman Catholic Church, convinced him that Africa is the cradle of civilisation. It was against this backdrop that in the late 80s he became a member of local group called Bwa Gayak, led by well-known artist Patrick Victor whose music was a fusion of different African beats.
Besides music, Achille is a co-founder of the Africa Friendship Association (AFA) and was its first chairman.
AFA has organized several exhibitions on great African personalities and Seychellois with African diaspora. It was the success of activities organized by AFA that brought recognition from the Ministry of Culture at that time. That led to their joining forces and hosting what is known today as “FetAfrik” – the annual event in May showcasing African culture and tradition.
Achille also gives talks in schools on African perspectives, teaching percussion, and also participating in exchange programmes with the crew on board the ‘Peace Boat’ during its regular visit to our shores. Once, it arrived with hundreds of Japanese students on board and Achille enthusiastically took them around Mahe.
Achille is a keen promoter for the protection of the environment and often takes parties of tourists on nature trails. He knows the names of all endemic plants and fauna, found in the mountains of south-west Mahe.
His work as an environmentalist, led to visits to Namibia, Uganda, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, South Africa, Cote D’Ivoire, Madagascar and Mauritius.
“Africa is rich and diverse in the fields of tradition, history, resources and knowledge,” he declares. ‘Too often emphasis is put on the negatives of Africa, but there are many good things about my beloved continent.”