The second-generation Mauritians in the UK are British-born children of Mauritian parents and Mauritians with mixed marriages. After interviewing several hundreds of these children and observing thousands of them over three decades with their families in Britain, this story gives a reflection of how close they are to Mauritius and its culture. In order to get a better picture of these children, they have been seen in a wide variety of cultural events, social activities with their families, educational progress, as well as in work environment for many years. Their parents came to the UK since the 1960s, most of them in the 1970s and a few even as early as 1950s to take up nursing as a career. As more Mauritians came to the UK and settled, many got married to other Mauritians and other nationalities including British Whites. As part of their culture and ties they travelled to Mauritius to meet their parents and in-laws in Mauritius.
Travel to their Motherland
The Mauritians were excited to take their children to see their parents and extended families. Others went for grand occasions such as weddings. Many of them were so keen to travel to Mauritius annually or every two to three years. This led to immediate families forming a close-knit bond. The grandparents and relatives spoilt the children in Mauritius with love, presents and delicious foods. Later they explored the hotels, beautiful white sandy beaches and the spectacular mountainous sites.
This family bond grew into their teenage years. Later many would travel on their own to see families and friends with whom they developed the bond since childhood. Likewise, many of the Mauritian grandparents would visit the UK for up to several months. Some would travel to UK in time for the birth of their grandchildren or as tourists. These regular contacts led to the second generation learning Creole, French and Mauritian and Indian culture. Some of the children born in UK are quite fluent in Creole. In contrast, some of the parents who were divorced or separated, had a lesser bond with Mauritian families. This led to loss of the cultural ties. However, some would make an extra effort to seek out lost grandparents or other close relatives from their parents’ family to reunite in Mauritius. The second generation of mixed marriages, also had good ties with Mauritius and their relatives. On the other hand, some children had very little ties with Mauritian families and would choose to go elsewhere on holidays.
Education and Careers of the Second Generation Mauritians
These children have British values and feel fully British with fluency in English language compared to their parents. Second generation Mauritians tend to be better educated with higher degrees than their parents’ generation, and also better educated than their white native peers. Many of these generation are also well placed in career paths and reputable jobs.
Some of the children of the First-Generation Mauritians
L to R Anish (BSc, Econ) and brother Ashley Ramiah MSc (Aeronautical Eng) from London
Dowlul family from Glasgow: Emma (project Support Officer) Vikraj (Finance Officer) and mum
Mauritius is a small island of about 1.3 million population, nevertheless both the parents and children have made their mark in various fields. Mauritius was much less known in the early 1970s but from the successes of many of the Mauritian diaspora in UK reveals their high worth for their country.
The Kattan sisters in London
A few of them have made it to the media, Parliament, social entrepreneurism and journalism. For example, the Home Minister, Sue Ella Braverman and the BBC broadcaster, Naga Munchetty are children of Mauritian parents whose mothers also did nursing.
Some of the jobs that the new generations hold are in Accountancy, Travel Agents, Financial Advisors, Lawyers, IT, Teachers, Arts (media, TV production, music and song writers). Some have become Medical Doctors, Biochemists and Mathematicians. The famous singer, Bjg Mama Funk and UK MasterChef winner, Selina Permaloo, are also well established here.
The second generation have a distinct regional distribution. They are disproportionately more concentrated in London with lesser numbers in other cities like Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and Scotland. Although London is the main concentration of the first and second generations, they are also spread out in the home counties (Hertfordshire, Surrey, Kent, Essex and Buckinghamshire) to a lesser extent. Many of these regions were the original destination of the parents who came to work in the hospitals.
Mauritius Open Air Festival
Eshan Badal was born in London and created the Mauritius Open Air Festival in 2009 and became the managing director. The event has gone from strength to strength with over 15,000 in attendance making it the largest mass participation about such an event outside of Mauritius. These yearly events brought over every Mauritian artist in Trent Park, and they are very well known in Mauritius and beyond. In 2023, he started Back2Mauritius – where over one hundred people fly to Mauritius for the ultimate party and travel experience. His mission is to create a luxury experience and unforgettable memories in beautiful Mauritius.
These festivals attract not just the Mauritian communities but other friends and connections and neighbours as well as council staff and local residents. They are entertained by a variety of shows, including music, Sega, Indian songs, speeches and adverts to promote Mauritian businesses.
Mauritius Open Air Festival, London, with a variety of shows attracting a large number of people
The second generation children are fond of Mauritian dishes as they find it more tasty and healthier than some of the corresponding Indian foods. They find it less spicy and their parents also cook these foods regularly at home. Their favourites are dalpuri, biryani, rougaille, gateau piment, du pain frire, roti, bouillon and fried rice. Like their parents, many of the children born here have got used the Mauritian Kraft cheese and other favourite foods such as Corned Mutton which they bring back with them when they visit Mauritius. Some of these, including Phoenix beer are imported and made available in Mauritian parties and other gatherings. On the other hand, like any other children, the second generation are also fond of fast foods and drinks.
Unlike their parents, these children are more tolerant to religion, races, and music. Many of them have intermarried much to the dislike of their parents who eventually accepted it. At school, they have similar lifestyles in many ways to the native Whites in their manners but more respectful to the teachers. Many of the second generation are more tech-savvy, smarter at working, shopping habits and house chores while their parents would prefer to muscle in with manual work. With the job search, many of them would not rush into a job unless it is paid higher or is the ‘right’ job to suit their qualifications. This causes clash with their parents who as they argue that life was much tougher when they were younger, and they could take on any job to start with.
These children also integrate fully into British society. Although the first generation were pretty good at similar integration and learning the new culture, some had conservative views about this just like their parents in Mauritius.
The story of three generations becomes more complex due to what influence parents as well as grandparents have on their children. Grandparents have been having a very positive influence on third generation in their education, literacy capacity, income and babysitting. Three years on since Covid pandemic had made it financially harder for many parents, grandparents have been an additional resource of the variation of individual’s achievements. The third and fourth generations and so on, will gradually have less attachment and culture compared to their grandparents. The 21st century with social mobility will have a strong influence in this complex topic. Most of the first generation Mauritians arrived in the UK since the 1970s and it will take a long time and more research to see the destinations of the younger generations.
Kishore Teelanah is an experienced Science Lecturer, having worked mostly in Further and Higher education. He taught Biological and Chemical Sciences, with responsibilities as a Coordinator, Manager and Head of Science in his recent job. Together with Science and Industry, he is very keen to write on the Mauritian Diaspora and their children and grandchildren.
For further reading on the Mauritian and Indian disaporas, please go to the following links:
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