On Multiple Identities

Let’s Honestly Face It (1)

There are some self-proclaimed true-blue Morisien who would want us believe that any person who adheres to some ancestral values cannot claim to be a ‘good Morisien’. I will never forget the important journalist of an important afternoon daily who told me off because Loga, my wife, wore a saree the day I swore in as Member of the Legislative Assembly in 1970. According to that intellectual giant for some, Loga and I cannot be good Mauritians because a saree is still for us a beautiful symbol of our complex identity.

Through death, Nelson Mandela has taught us a good lesson on this subject. This role model citizen of Planet Earth, this modern post-apartheid South Africa most illustrious citizen reminded us that he was also a Xhosa citizen. He was not ashamed of his tribal origin and his last wish was to be buried according to his own tribal rituals.

I am sure that those self-proclaimed true-blue ‘Mauritians’ who were against independence of Mauritius, who still think Australia is the land of milk and honey and who still secretly adhere to the ‘anvlope nou pa’le’ ideology will chastise this ‘negro’ in private for daring to pretend leadership in moral values. These navel-contemplating self-deluding ‘moral leaders’ still think they are the shining lights of the republic. Self-knowledge and humility have gone to the dogs.

A few years ago I wrote this in my mother tongue:


Larkansiel li pa zis enn lalians

ant later set kouler ek lesiel.

Parski so kouler pa melanze,

li linite dan diversite

ki donn nou drwa de idantite.

Akoz sa mo pa zis Morisien;

mo osi ate, kwar dan TREO

ar/san relizion, Kreol-Endien,

Kreol-Afriken, Kreol-Ero…


* Published in print edition on 20 December 2013

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