Mauritian dancers at exhibition launch.
Image: David Loram
Source: David Loram
Discover the surprisingly diverse culture and heritage of people from the tiny Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues.
Recently launched at the Immigration Museum, Beyond the Postcard Image: Mauritians and Rodriguans in Victoria focuses on our state’s small but vibrant Mauritian and Rodriguan community.
Located approximately 2000 km off the east coast of Africa, these previously uninhabited islands were settled by a mix of Africans, Indians, Chinese and Europeans from around 1650.
Dutch and later French settlers imported African slaves to cut ebony during the 17th and 18th centuries. When the British took control in 1810, their abolition of slavery 25 years later was followed by the importation of indentured labour from India.
This unique history fostered the development of a hybrid culture, influenced by the language and traditions of three continents.
Through personal stories, objects, photographs and information panels, Beyond the Postcard Image explores the community’s diversity through language and food, as well as important cultural traditions, such as séga (pronounced ‘say-gah’) music and dance, originally developed by African and Madagascan slaves.
Beyond the Postcard Image: Mauritians and Rodriguans in Victoria is on display until Sunday 18 March 2007, when the Immigration Museum will also host a one-day Mauritian and Rodriguan Festival.