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The State Recognizes Work on Kreol Language for First Time Ever


The “Kreol Speaking Union” set up by the Government last year and chaired by Dr. Arnaud Carpooran gave awards yesterday at the University of Mauritius to seven different contributors to the advancement of the main mother-tongue, Mauritian Kreol. They were Ledikasyon pu Travayer (Alain Ah-Vee), Federation of Pre-School Playgroups (Doon Lamarque), the playwright Henri Favory, the Bureau Education Catholique and the three grand old men of Mauritian sega music and lyrics: Fan-Fan, Michel Legris and Serge Lebrasse. The Awards were given by Minister of Culture, Mooneshwar Choonee, Minister of Tertiary Education, Rajesh Jeetah, University Vice-Chancellor Juggessur, and Dr. Carpooran. During the same session, the group working on the Kreol Dictionary launched a Spellcheck program for Mauritian Kreol. Present in the audience where people interested in language issues, university staff and students.

There were two panel discussions held afterwards in the Burrenchobay Hall. One was on the theme of the event: “Kreol seki finn fer, seki pe fer, seki pu fer”, what has been done, is being done and will be done, at which Dr. Carpooran chaired a session where an LPT representative, someone from the MIE, a BEC representative and someone from the team working at the University all participated in bringing everyone up to date. From the floor, Marie-France Favory interjected that people are perhaps unaware that as long ago as in the 1970s she was trained as a pre-school teacher in subjects including philosophy of education and child psychology, in Kreol. This was in the Playgroup Federation courses, she said.

The other panel, after the lunch break, included artists: Sandra Mayotte, as head of the Senn Kreol TV station, Henri Favory as playwright, Lindsey Collen as novelist in Kreol, Bruno Mooken, Serge Lebrasse and Yoann Catherine, three lyricists/musicians. In an interactive atmosphere, and a very frank one, the theme was the importance of Kreol having the same status as any language, and not having to be apologised for. Henri Favory criticized the incorrect diction in Kreol of many MBC TV news broadcasts, and pointed out how people speak English to show how well they speak English, speak French to point out how well they know French, but on MBC they often speak Kreol in order to show how well they speak … French. Serge Lebrasse, in a moving moment when he came to tears, remembered how he was ostracized by his family for being a sega singer. A recurring theme was the necessity for free expression and, in particular, academic freedom. Lindsey Collen mentioned the article in the same day’s Le Defi Quotidien in which, in an interview of student Fabrice Aza, reference was made to a debate at the University being cancelled.