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St Maurice calls A pilgrimage to meet African saints

White or black, cavalryman or foot soldier, rebel or loyal officer, patron saint of weavers and dyers as well as of the Vatican's Swiss Guard, the image of Saint Maurice of Agaunum, leader of the legendary Roman Theban Legion in the third century, and executed for refusing to kill Christians, has evolved depending on the period and place.

Despite the passing of time, he still fascinates many people as an annual pilgrimage to the town that bears his name in canton Valais shows. On June 2, around 1,500 Africans from all over Switzerland took part. The event, which began in 2001, aims to give a positive image of the African community. Twelve choirs set the tone, while women in traditional costumes danced to the sound of drums and balafons to honour the memory of their saints.

(Pictures: Didier Ruef)

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