Land of the Dodo and Ebony

Basking mid Indian Ocean, South of the Equator

Deserted by Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch

Where later others feasted buried bounty

Left with the key to the mystery.

Some away from the fierce mob in the Old Continent

Stayed on for peace and tranquillity

Brought from the Great Continent Africa

Many working hands to shape the place

Eyed by “frères ennemis” across the Channel

Eager to grab by hook or by crook the Little Star

A change of hands not without a battle

A gentleman`s agreement for peaceful co-existence

Saw new Lords at the helm

On was the zeal for development

Arrived indentured workers from the Indian Peninsula

With endurance, perseverance toiled for sweet produce and others

Bore hardship for years hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel

Mutual respect adaptive cohabitation across time

You have your way, I have my say; you have your say, I have my way

Gathered several to confer with diplomacy, determination

Round a table with The Leaders of the Great Albion

For the birthright of our people our homeland – freedom.

Broad sunlight at the strike of the twelfth hour

Twelfth March 1968 a nation saw the day

On equal footing with other free independent states

Masters of our own fate at last ‘Independence, Liberté, Aazadi’.

Proudly we bow to thee Mauritius “The Star and Key of the Indian Ocean”

Where before no soul could claim sole ownership.

Today chips, chappatis, chowmien entwined like the roots of the Kewal

Swing to the beat of the ‘dholok’ the rhythm of the segas

The sound of the guitar and the tune of the enchanted flute

Strengthens the brotherhood bond among all of us.

Long Live Independence, Long Live Mauritius.

 Dr Mala Modun-Bissessur

* Published in print edition on 11 March 2022

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