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Total population
c. 1,000 (1999)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Mont Fleuri[2]
Seychellois Creole; Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka & Hokkien) not widely spoken[2]
Roman Catholicism[2]
Related ethnic groups

Sino-Seychellois are overseas Chinese who reside in Seychelles. In 1999, their population was estimated at roughly 1,000 individuals, making them one of Africa's smaller Chinese communities.[1]


The first Chinese immigrants to Seychelles arrived from Mauritius in 1886.[2] Until around 1940, it was common for a Sino-Mauritian to bring his relatives over from China to Mauritius for a period of apprenticeship in his business; after they had gained sufficient familiarity with commercial practises and life in a colonial society, he would send them onwards with letters of introduction, lending them his own capital to start up businesses in neighbouring regions, including Seychelles.[3]

Like in other overseas Chinese communities, rivalry between Cantonese- and Hakka-speakers was a common feature of their social life. The two separate groups lived in different areas and even refused to marry each other, instead preferring to marry local women of African descent. They started out working on vanilla plantations, but quickly turned to shopkeeping, transport, and fishing.[2]

Language, education, and culture[edit]

In 1945, Richard Man-Cham, the father of future Prime Minister James Mancham, requested government permission to open a Chinese school. The government responded coldly to the idea.[2] Formal Chinese language education would not be established in Seychelles until 2007, when the People's Republic of China sent a teacher to work with the adult and distance education department of Seychelles' Ministry of Education.[4] Today, most Sino-Seychellois do not speak Chinese, though they may understand it.[2]

Sino-Seychellois are largely Christian.[2] There are only two Buddhist pagodas in the Seychelles, both on Mahé.[citation needed]

Notable individuals[edit]



  1. ^ a b Chinese Language Educational Foundation 1999
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Mahoune 2000
  3. ^ a b Yap & Leong Man 1996, p. 37
  4. ^ Wang 2008
  5. ^ An 2007
  6. ^ "客籍华人及对非洲的贡献".


Further reading[edit]

  • Benedict, B. (1979), "Family firms and firm families: a comparison of Indian, Chinese, and Creole firms in Seychelles", in Greenfield, Sidney M.; Strickon, Arnold; Aubey, Robert T. (eds.), Entrepreneurs in Cultural Context, University of New Mexico Press, ISBN 978-0-8263-0504-6
  • Fane, Ly-Tio (1985), La Diaspora chinoise dans l'Ocean Indien occidental (The Chinese Diaspora in the western Indian Ocean), Mauritius: Editions de l'Ocean Indien