Mauritius is a multicultural island with people from all the continents established here, whose roots reach back in history to India, Madagascar, China, East Africa, England and France. The actual population sizes to over 1.2 million and the island is the third most densely populated in the world. The building up of the population dates back to the colonial years. The colonists brought people from Africa and India to reinforce the labour force of the country while Chinese immigrants settled here for business. Franco–Mauritians are descendants of the original French colonists. Descendants of slaves and free labourers from Africa and the Asia constitute most of Mauritius Creole population. Today, Indo–Mauritians constitute about 70% of the total population.
Majority of the population is concentrated on the central plateau where all towns are situated while 150,000 people live in the capital Port Louis. The occupations of Mauritians have greatly diversified from agricultural to more sedentary jobs as the economy is rapidly expanding and now promoting Mauritius as a CyberIsland. The younger generations are much influenced by the western way of living and this is further diversifying the Mauritian culture which is already an amalgam of different cultures. While English is the official language, Mauritians are more at ease with French.Bhojpuri, a language originating from northern India and which is linked to Hindi, is spoken by many Indo-Mauritians. However, Creole is the most spoken language among Mauritians. Creole is largely based on French with ingredients of Hindi, English and Chinese. The Mauritian Creole is unique to Mauritius as it has developed with the contact of people speaking different languages. If you are coming to Mauritius see section below for some tips to help you communicate in Creole.
Mauritians live in harmony, with no record of racial conflict in the last 25 years. Visitors who know Mauritians have witnessed the ‘Let Go’ attitude of the people which greatly contributes to the peaceful coexistence among different communities. Several festivals such as Divali (the festival of lights), Holi (in which participants are covered in colourful powders) and Thai Poosam Cavadee, in which Tamil devotees pierce their bodies with masses of needles as an act of penance, that were previously celebrated by specific communities are now celebrated on a national level. The major distraction of the people remains the attractive sea shores and it is a common scene to find Mauritian families having a nice time together on beaches specially on Sundays and public holidays.
Tips to communicate in Creole
Below are some translated words from English to Creole.