Nou ki nou?

La Faya Festival
The younger generation perform the séga at a community festival in 2005.
Image: Henri D'Argent
Source: Henri D'Argent

So who are we (nou ki nou)? The diverse peoples and hybrid culture of the islands present an exotic and attractive image of the Mauritian and Rodriguan community. However, at times Mauritians and Rodriguans are torn between their ancestral cultures and the notion that their hybrid cultural forms of language, the music, dance and food may be inferior.

The second generation differs in its attitude. Some members embrace their cultural background and take an interest in all things Mauritian, whereas others relate to mainstream Australian culture. Mauritians and Rodriguans have developed a close sense of community in Melbourne, participating in cultural activities and getting involved in fundraising for less fortunate compatriots. Others relate this way of life to the small scale of island life they left behind and prefer not to participate at all, or else limit their involvement in such community activities.

The community knows first-hand how different ethnic groups can co-exist as well as the destructive impact of racial conflict. These experiences have helped Mauritians and Rodriguans to adjust to a multicultural Australian society. But like all communities, the Mauritian and Rodriguan community continues to deal with questions around identity and heritage.

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