Spectrum of Mauritian Achievers in the UK
There are many nationalities who left their homelands in search of a better life in foreign lands around the world. Britain is one of those countries that allowed in many such immigrants since the 1960s and even earlier in some cases. One of those groups was the Mauritians who came to Britain en masse in the 1970s to pursue nursing and other studies. Much has already been written about the lives of the first generation Mauritians in the UK. The present article is about the second generation Mauritians born in the UK, especially about their children;what makes them different from their proud parents is that, under their positive influence, their offspring have become highly educated individuals.
Pritee Almeida, nee Hurnam, was born in Britain of Mauritian parents in the 1980s and has a very interesting profile. She is a larger than life young lady who has already made her mark as a singer, performer, actor as well as a presenter. She is also well educated with a clutch of 10 GCSEs and good A-Levels that opened the door for further studies, like for instance an undergraduate BA (Hons) degree in Public Relations with French. She is proud to be of Indo-Mauritian heritage; she speaks fluent Kreol, and is also conversant with Hindu Sanskrit prayers and culture. She was brought up by Hindu parents who were very happy with their beliefs and also of being liberal.
Pritee with her husband Tino and children. Picture credit – Peekaboo Studios
Pritee was drawn to singing since her primary school age. She started to sing mostly English songs of the famous Western singers. She went to the Miss Saigon Training School which was established by the renowned West End producer Cameron Mackintosh at a time when talented professionals from ethnic minorities were very few. That was when Pritee stepped into that world with courage and sharpened the talent that would allow her to make it to where she is now. She has a deep, powerful and soulful voice and is a true performer in front of crowds, be it weddings, music festivals or large celebrations. She also took part in ‘Britain’s Got Talents’ in 2011 singing the James Brown classic song ‘I Feel Good’ and was well received by the judges and audience. She created the name ‘Big Mama Funk’ as she is most popularly known amongst the Mauritian community in the UK and elsewhere.
Pritee Almeida in live performances
Pritee is a Front Woman and Lead Vocalist for her own band, ‘The Big Mama Funk and The Funkstars’ and has already achieved success in local and international functions. She has appeared in many live performances in countries like Bahrain, Italy, Portugal, Spain, France, Mauritius as well as in the UK.
Pritee Almeida in her many live performances
Pritee’s talent has also led her to treading the boards in the West End as well as doing voiceovers and various radio broadcasts – all of which have drawn appreciation from different audiences. As the new coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe, Pritee has taken to online video messaging.
For more on Pritee, please check her website: www.bigmamafunk.co.uk.
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Another young and talented British-Mauritian, just 21, is an undergraduate in Civil Engineering at City University, London. He is very Mauritian in many ways, be it with his culture, demeanour, cool attitude and love of his pet dog Misty.
Dylan is born of proud Mauritian parents who came to England in the 1980s. His ambition was to become a footballer, but after much opposition from his mother he chose to do engineering instead. He remains a proud supporter of Liverpool FC, regularly plays football with many Mauritian friends; he is a talented goal keeper. He also has been participating in various sports since an early age: he started with swimming lessons when he was only 3 and went on to win a swimming award at the age of 13. He also took karate lessons since he was 5.
Dylan Savomy – Part of an extraordinary generation who have grown up pioneers of the digital world
Dylan’s parents have introduced him to the key Hindu religious practices and traditional rituals. Like his mother, he also became actively involved with the Mauritian Telegu Association’s religious and fund-raising activities.
Besides fluency in spoken Kreol and English, Dylan can read French and studied the language to GCSE with a grade A, thanks to his mother. Despite being born and bred in England, Dylan makes it a point to keep contact with his Mauritian relatives and friends.
Overall, the second generation of Britishers of Mauritian origin are an extraordinary generation who have grown up as pioneers in the digital world. They grew up in an unfamiliar British culture that their parents knew little about. This new generation had to adapt their parents’ Indo-Mauritian culture with a British one to create a blend. Very often they had to please their parents. However, in some cases it caused conflicts about dress codes, food, music and even languages. This often led to conflict with parents and other relatives but also created more resilient individuals who value both cultures.
This is not unique to the second generation of Mauritian parents but of other diasporas too. In some cases, other parents are far too strict due to religious obligation and beliefs as well as influence from their communities. They do not want their children to follow much of the British culture. This has resulted in a lot of strife and conflicts in their lives until they have left home to have their own families. On the whole, most of them lead quite a harmonious British way of life and they feel proud of being British too.
Kishore Teelanah, Section Manager for Science in a College of Further and Higher Education, London, has over 34 years of experience in teaching, learning and education management in science having worked in many educational establishments at different levels.
* Published in print edition on 9 June 2020