Three booklets were launched by Ledikasyon pu Travayer in one go: Mor Lao Burik by Charles Baissac, Zistwar Aesop by the late Michaella de Souza, and Fri by Marie-France and Henri Favory. The launch ceremony was Saturday 27 May at 11 a.m. at The Book Lover, at Grand River North West in Port Louis. All three are re-editions of popular sold-out adult literacy texts.
The launch speech was given by Dr Guilhem Florigny, who spoke of the “oral” to “writing” aspect of all three texts: Zistwar Aesop from 2,600 years ago, Mor Lao Burik from the 19th Century and Fri, conceived first as a song by two people who were present to sing it.
Alain Ah-Vee, presiding, gave a witty account of LPT’s short history of publishing. He also spoke on the importance of linking the struggle for the mother-tongue to all educational issues, including the debate raging at the moment about the Minister of Education’s “reform”.
Then Marjorie Munien read Mor Lao Burik, the macabre and hilarious story, which at surface level is amoral if not immoral but which has a strong undercurrent on the difference between taking human life and taking or stealing even a dead body. The narrative gives an idea of the kind of tough humour that was necessary to survive generations of slavery. The two people who gave the story to Charles Baissac for his 1880 book, “Etude sur le patois Créole Mauricien”, Mama Telcide and Papa Telcide were very old, old enough to have been born into slavery. Begum Bedulla read one of the Aesop’s tales, about the bragging tourist, which has particular resonances in Mauritius for those in the diaspora who return with conversation on nothing but the excellence of “over there”. It is called “Vwayazer Vantar”. Henri and Marie-France Favory sang Fri, an apparently simple song, but again, with layers of meaning. Afterwards, during the tea, coffee and juice time, they sang it again on popular demand and four people present recorded it on their cellphones. They also autographed copies people bought.
Present were some 30 adult literacy students amongst guests who included well known intellectuals who love the Kreol language passionately.
Each booklet is on sale at Rs25 at the LPT bookstore