James Mancham

James Mancham (Wikimedia Commons, official photo, 29 June 1976; Public Domain)On 8 January 2017, Seychellois politician, writer and the first President of the Seychelles, Sir James Mancham died at his residence at the age of 77. Born on 11 August 1939 in Victoria into a wealthy family, he was sent to London to study law. He returned to the Seychelles and served as Barrister and Attorney-at-Law before the Supreme Court from 1963 to 1967.

When Britain announced its intention to give independence to the Seychelles, Mancham founded the Democratic Party representing businessmen and planters who wanted close integration with Britain. France-Albert René founded an opposition party, the Seychelles People's United Party with the support of the Soviet Union. As Chief Minister of the colony, Mancham promoted tourism to the Seychelles and arranged for the building of the airport that was to make the Seychelles accessible to the rest of the world. Tourism increased and the economy developed. In 1976, he won the popular vote when the British gave the Seychelles independence. Less than a year later, in June 1977, he was deposed in a coup by Prime Minister France-Albert René, who had the support of Tanzanian-trained revolutionaries and Tanzanian-supplied weapons, while Mancham was attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in London.

Mancham lived in exile in London for fifteen years. During this period, he was financially successful in several international business ventures. In April 1992, following the lifting of the ban on opposition, Mancham returned to the Seychelles helping to lead the country back to a multi-party democracy. Mancham ran for president in July 1993 and finished second behind René with 36.72% of the vote. In March 1998, he ran again, receiving third place and 13.8% of the vote, behind René and Wavel Ramkalawan. After having stepped down from leading the Democratic Party, he focused on peace advocacy and international reconciliation efforts with various foundations.

Mancham is the author of a number of books, including Paradise Raped about the June 1977 coup d'état in the Seychelles, War on America: Seen from the Indian Ocean, written after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States, his autobiography; Seychelles Global Citizen: The Autobiography of the Founding President, in 2009, and Seychelles: The Saga of a Small Nation Navigating the Cross-Currents of a Big World, in 2015. He also served on the advisory board of the International Journal on World Peace and was a member of the World Future Council.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Selected publications

Africa in the Indian Ocean : islands in ebb and flow / Tor Sellström. - Leiden : Brill, [2015]

Albert René : the father of modern Seychelles : a biography / Shillington, Kevin. - Crawley : UWA Publishing, 2014

African lives : an anthology of memoirs and autobiographies / Geoff Wisner. - Boulder, Colorado : Lynne Rienner Publishers, [2013]

James Michel : a man of the people / James Michel. - London : Rila Publications, 2010

Sipay : revue seychelloise de poésie. -  Victoria : [s.n.], 2009-

Seychelles : personalities of yesterday / James R. Mancham. Mahé, Seychelles : Mahe Publications, 2005

Seychelles: a transition from one party State to multi-party democracy / Hrudananda Mohanty.
In: African currents : newsletter of Centre of East African Studies, University of Bombay , vol. 14, no. 25, p. 51-66, 1998

Africa and international corruption: the strange case of South Africa and Seychelles / Stephen Ellis.
In: African affairs : the journal of the Royal African Society , vol. 95, no. 379, p. 165-196

A Speech by The Hon. Sir James R. Mancham, Former President of the Republic of Seychelles

The Rise of Africa, The Berlin International Economics Congress 2011


Timeline of the Presidents of the Seychelles via Wikidata and DBpedia