I write this on Saturday night in Montreal – while watching live on BBC, via Internet, the South African crowd massed in Qunu, in Western Cape Province, with some foreign leaders, to complete the funeral of Nelson Mandela.
It’s 8 am Sunday morning over there, in grand midsummer weather as in Mauritius; in Montreal, light snow falls endlessly and it’s minus 12 degrees C.
The circus of Heads of State pouring crocodile tears and piling flowers on Mandela’s body, in the Jo’burg stadium five days ago, is over.
Not forgetting how corporate media distorted and manipulated the coverage – they said Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, was booed when in fact he received the loudest cheers, and some totally censored the speech of Cuban President Raul Castro.
I feel Mandela, before dying, personally arranged with the bogus sign-language interpreter, who supposedly translated the official speeches for the benefit of the deaf-mute, to do his theatre of the absurd as a supreme satirical commentary on that deluge of self-serving hypocrisy! I imagine Madiba was laughing to himself in his casket!
In any case, I posted on FB some comments on the relations between Apartheid in Mauritius and South Africa. The parallel in unavoidable if we want to understand what happened and what’s happening in Mauritius and S. Africa.
The crucial importance of the issue, in my eyes, made me write it in kreol (National language of Mauritius) so all Mauritian comrades and compatriots can understand and think things out for themselves.
I wrote the thoughts below with another destination in mind, but the text’s fate changed, so I posted them on FB.
Mandela, Ramgoolam and the MMM: Economic
Apartheid continues as before, here and there

Sydney Selvon continues his interesting work on the History of Mauritius – like demolishing the myth invented by the French to make us believe Mauritius was an empty country when they began to colonize it in 1721 – just as the Zionists claimed Palestine was empty, a desert that Israel flowered!
In fact, Mauritius was peopled by maroon slaves from many countries who settled and multiplied freely between the departure of the Dutch and the arrival of the French.
Selvon was a journalist before. In 1995 he became High Commissioner to Australia under the Labour-MMM 60-0 government. He was a journalist there too, and later in Canada. Since returning to Mauritius, he has continued to write; one of his recent books, singing the praises of the private sector, is titled “45 Years of Excellence” and focuses on the IBL Group. Lately, he has aligned himself with the Remake2000, and is hitting the Labour-PMSD government hard.
It’s his fundamental right to back the party of his choice and to express his opinion freely. But it’s not hard to understand that his track record and his partisanship can affect his vision and his judgement as a Historian. This is where I’ve got a problem with Selvon’s work.
On the death of Nelson Mandela, he posted a piece on his vanillaislands.org website where he said the Labour-PMSD coalition government after Mauritius’ independence in 1968 was “neo-colonialist, pro-Apartheid and pro-Israel, anti-ANC and anti-Mandela”.
He said the MMM (and he mentioned me as a co-founder) brought an opposite discourse which, later, the old parties ended up adopting, As my name had come up, an FB friend asked for my reaction, and this is what I wrote in a nutshell:
“This type of accusation is simplistic, and it does not honour a serious Historian, who is engaged rather in a partisan spin and using Mandela’s legacy to heap blame on the Labour-PMSD alliance and flatter the MMM-MSM Remake.
“To understand the relation between post-independence Mauritius and South Africa, we must start from our very own ‘Mauritian Apartheid’: in Mauritius, Apartheid was not based on a system of laws, at least not after the abolition of slavery in 1835; but it remained embedded in our structures and it dominated our lives until universal suffrage was introduced in 1958.
“All our struggles of the 20th C in Mauritius – for the right to unionize, the right to vote, ‘responsible’ government and independence – were directed more against the political-economic power of the local minority, francophone oligarchy, than against British colonial power. Research by Catherine Boudet on the tight relations between Mauritian and South African Whites shed considerable light on this matter.
“When NMU (Noël Marrier d’Unienville) returns from South Africa to inject the communalist venom in the Mauritian Body Politic via Le Cernéen newspaper (Divide & Rule), D.F. Malan is laying the juridical foundations of Apartheid in South Africa.
“This is just after the 2nd World War, and at the start of the Cold War. In Mauritius, champions of the ‘ancien régime’ conflated the Labour movement with Communism (just as they did with the ANC in South Africa), and they chose to fight and undermine it with communalism as deadly weapon.
“The elections of 1967 and Independence in 1968 were two resounding victories in our long struggle against Mauritian Apartheid. But immediately after independence, London and Paris (and Washington, of course) compelled Ramgoolam’s Labour Party to form a coalition with Duval’s PMSD – which had opposed universal suffrage and independence.
“This was the Big Compromise to ensure the survival and continuation of Economic Apartheid after the collapse of Political Apartheid in Mauritius. And this very model was imposed on South Africa in 1992-94, when Nelson Mandela and the ANC accepted that Economic Apartheid remain in place there as well!
“For this reason, we can say Ramgoolam was the Mandela of Mauritius. They both achieved political liberation for their country and people, but they both bent down before the old local and global power of Economic domination – especially without any agrarian reform affecting land ownership.
“In the coalition government, Ramgoolam gave Duval a free hand to manage Mauritian diplomacy in favour of Apartheid South Africa and of Israel. One needs to examine if and how Duval allowed Pretoria to use Mauritius to circumvent the growing global embargo against Apartheid. The EPZ (Export Processing Zone or Zone Franche) arrived just in time to facilitate this.
“And if the MMM had an anti-Apartheid stance in 1969-70, it’s been a long time since this party has displayed its open alignment with the Mauritian colonial oligarchy. The MSM is no different.
 “And finally, the Jugnauth-Bérenger power sharing formula of Medpoint-2000, on the Israeli model of the 1984 Peres-Shamir deal, has been reactivated by the 2000Remake. It can become a new template for globalized capital to force on the post-Mandela South Africa!
“Mauritius has been used for a long time as a laboratory by powerful and dominant economic interests. Mauritians must take the initiative and use their laboratory to develop models of social and economic justice and of sustainability in opposition to all forms of Apartheid, and for the good of all mankind”.