Nirveda Alleck: the waters do not forget

POSTED ON: November 22, 2021 IN On Artists, Stefanie Jason, Word View, Word View Authors

by Stefanie Jason

Against the backdrop of a row of houses and an expansive view of Soweto, a township just outside of Johannesburg, anti-Apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela discusses the 1976 Youth Uprising. This archival video footage is included in Uprize! (2017), a documentary about June 16, when black school children protested against the Apartheid regime mandating Afrikaans as the medium of instruction and broader policies relating to ‘Bantu education.’ [1] Madikizela-Mandela points to an area where the youth were marching peacefully when security forces fired live ammunition, wounding and killing many of the students. 

Using her hand to map out the scene, Madikizela-Mandela gestures toward the backdrop. Two cooling towers are seen in the distance, billowing black smoke. “That is where police camped [out] … That was a military zone,” Madikizela-Mandela says, signalling in the direction of the Orlando Power Station. [2] 

In an essay on the uprising, Ali Khangela Hlongwane analyses a sketch that demonstrates how the day unfolded. Noting the state’s safeguarding of the power plant on 16 June, Hlongwane reveals how the sketch “identifies the role of Orlando Police Station, and points to the police protection of the Orlando Power Station.” Examining oral testimonies about the Soweto Uprising, Hlongwane asserts, “Reference is made to the fact that the power station provided electrical power to white Johannesburg, whereas the people of Soweto, where it was in fact located, had no access to electricity.” [3] In going back to the footage of Madikizela-Mandela, the activist’s statement and Hlongwane’s research elucidate a dynamic in which state forces protected the interests of the white minority at the expense of young black lives. Not only did they seek to quell the students’ resistance against an oppressive education system, but they also sought to fortify the power plant.  

Decades since the Soweto Uprising, the Orlando Power Station, decommissioned in 1998, still stands. The twin structures were erected shortly after the promulgation of Apartheid in 1948, with the adjacent Orlando Dam (constructed in 1926) supplying cooling water to the power station. [4] Today, they have been transformed into a graffiti mural, visible for kilometres on end, and an adventure park, where people can bungee jump from its roof. Despite the reconfiguration of the towers as a tourist attraction, its history as a site of power, inequality and domination are imprinted beneath the layers of colourful paint that now blanket its exterior. 

Power (2006), a video of an installation by Nirveda Alleck (b. 1975) — an artist whose work cuts across installation, video, performance, sound and painting — rouses the site’s history and contemporary context. The opening scene features a panorama of the power plant. Tiny ripples of current motion across the dam water, upon which a clear reflection of the power station can be seen. The structure of the plant looms in the background. There are a few clouds suspended in the blue sky and reeds surrounding parts of the dam. It’s a quiet scene with only a crackling sound audible.  

Power, 2006. Video, 20:00 min. (Courtesy of Nirveda Alleck)

The left cooling tower seen in Power bears the painted letters “FNB” across its midsection: an abbreviation for financial institution First National Bank. As the institution’s branding covers the entire cooling structure, its hypervisibility prompts contemplation of the type of economic system emphasised. To get a more detailed view not clearly visible in Power, I located images of the graffiti online. [5] Imagery on the right tower includes two people playing brass instruments, invoking jazz performances; grey and yellow-coloured carriages that point to commuter train service Metrorail; and Nelson Mandela, former president of the country and ruling party and, arguably, one of the most ubiquitous representations of freedom and ‘post-Apartheid.’ With illustrations of smiling faces and vehicles in motion, the cultural iconography of South Africa projected on the tower effuses a bustling, euphoric atmosphere.  

Pointing to the duality of power as, firstly, structures that govern or dominate and, secondly, power in reference to energy, [6] Alleck’s installation offers a point of convergence. These two states of power overlap to foster an unequal society perpetuated through dominant narratives, such as those on the towers which further ideas of nation-building and economic agendas promoted by the ruling class. In addition to the historical context of the Orlando Power Station, which once served in favour of the country’s white minority, the site is further problematised in its contemporary position as a tourist site, arguably inaccessible to a large portion of the population in South Africa, with its fee of almost R600 per person to bungee jump. 

Seconds into the Power video, tiny lit candles drift onto the dam’s undulating current. With deep orange flames in tow, these fires slowly drift across the water. Eventually, many of the lights disappear out of the frame, with the power plant and its rippling reflection left visible on the dam. 

Alleck’s use of fire and water grounds this work in spheres of performance and ritual that go beyond the material. The burning of camphor lamps on water evokes spiritual ceremonies such as those practiced in Hinduism, a religion which Alleck says “forms an integral language and social construct of my personae.” [7] Alleck explains, “I was brought up in Hindu family, so everything that’s culturally relevant to my upbringing shows in my work. Even though I don’t practice any tradition or religion, I am aware of symbols and elements that relate to my ancestral beliefs.” [8] Power references belief systems and the esoteric, which hold both water and fire sacred.  

Moreover, in drawing from Hinduism, fire is often used in ceremonies as a gesture to deities, people or natural forces to represent qualities such as purity, benevolence or kindness, while the burning of camphor light, a material which is said to not leave a trace when lit, has often symbolised letting go of the ego. As the camphor cubes are rested on the water, Alleck notes that its light burns on the water’s surface, “hence a space where two opposing elements meet and coexist, and the sound produced [is] as a result of this.” [9] 

In relation to the positionality of the Orlando plant — its past, present and wider societal context — Power can be read as a work in which tensions are heightened. As a transient libation to a seemingly permanent structure, Alleck’s installation amplifies states of ephemerality and fixedness to stand as a site of self-lessness: a practice of healing in an environment impacted and shaped by asymmetrical power structures. As the dam water presents a space for reflection, which brings forward contemplation for what might not be visible — hidden or erased — Power also conjures the spiritual and ancestral, propelling ways of seeing and feeling that beckon us to rethink what is presented as truth. 

Using Power as a point of departure, this essay engages the presence of water in Alleck’s artwork as a mechanism for memory, as well as a tool for reframing dominant narratives and reimagining the world around us. Moreover — in highlighting ideas around permanence and ephemerality, inequality and justice, citizenship and dislocation, temporalities of past and present — this text also reflects on Alleck’s employment of water as a source of resistance and a generative instrument for producing new visual vocabularies. 

(un)Balanced histories

Water is a motif in Alleck’s art. Even if not overtly depicted, her works infer this substance. “Maybe it’s because I am always surrounded by water. I am from an island after all,” Alleck says to me. [10] Born and based in Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island located east of Madagascar, Alleck’s artwork draws from the layered and intricate dynamics that exist both on the island and beyond its shores.  

Histories point to precolonial Mauritius as uninhabited by people. Christian Kull, Edward Alpers and Jacques Tassin highlight the probability of medieval Arab sailors being familiar with the island but note that, in 1638, the Dutch established a presence at Mauritius, “hoping that it would become a way-station on the route to their colony in Batavia, but once they settled Cape Town in 1652 they lost interest in Mauritius, which they finally abandoned altogether in 1710.” [11] France’s domination of the island soon after the Dutch resulted in the establishment of sugar plantations and a colony, in which enslaved people were forcibly moved from eastern parts of Africa, including Mozambique and Madagascar, to labour in Mauritius. [12] Subsequently, British rule was entrenched on the island in 1810 and, following the abolition of slavery in 1835, indentured labourers from India arrived in Mauritius to work the sugar fields belonging to the Franco-Mauritians. [13]  

Today, the island is made up of not only descendants of the enslaved, indentured labourers and colonisers, but also a melange of people that have migrated to the island over many decades. According to Julia Walters, the socio-political and cultural circumstances in Mauritius can be contemplated as a result of “economic migration, mobility and global capitalism that have increasingly made Mauritius a place of emigration … as well as of multiple immigrations.” [14]  

Despite the current presentation of the island as a multicultural country, tensions along intersecting lines — including ethnicity, race and class — exist as a consequence of not only colonialism but also contemporary political and cultural dynamics. [15] Briefly, Mauritius is made up of majority Indo-Mauritians, a group that Patrick Eisenlohr describes as transforming from “poor indentured laborers in the sugar-cane fields to a position as the politically dominant group of the country, now on the average enjoying reasonable prosperity.” [16] While minority groups include Sino-Mauritians and Franco-Mauritians — whom Eisenlohr articulates as “economically powerful” [17] — the largest of the minorities is the Creole community, descendants of enslaved African people. Credited as the creators of Creole, the main language of communication in Mauritius, the exclusion of Creole people from access to state amenities is underscored by Eisenlohr, while the Creole community also includes “a small elite group of so-called gens de couleur,” writes Tijo Salverda. [18]  

A Balancing Act I, 2016. Site specific installation (Courtesy of Nirveda Alleck)

Recognising the fragile and intricate nuances of the socio-political and cultural milieu, Alleck draws attention to systems of exploitation that have shaped Mauritius’ dominant narrative structures. “Whatever we learnt from school was from western perspectives. It was the colonisers that were saying: ‘This guy came and developed this island. There was nothing here before.” [19] However, according to Alleck, the last two decades has seen a scrutiny of ‘official’ accounts of western colonialism that seeks to recover silences in mainstream histories. [20]  

It has been during this period of recovery that Alleck became interested in the silences that permeate institutional histories of the island. Examples include Alleck’s A Balancing Act I and Arise — artworks featured in Ephemeral Coast, an exhibition series curated by Celina Jeffrey exploring coastlines as a site for environmental and cultural discourse. 

A balancing act I (2016) queries gaps in the island’s historical records and unsettles tightly compacted colonial accounts. The installation takes place on the shores of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean — a wetland which poet and scholar Gabeba Baderoon describes as “a connecting tissue to memories of a life before and outside of slavery.” [21] A video recording of A Balancing Act I shows a vista of blue skies and ocean views. A structure created from wooden poles is assembled in a frame that is planted into the shore. Suspended from the frame are pieces of coral dangling from a mechanism not visible to the eye. The video captures the slow rising tide. While the waters are low, the coral can be seen floating in the air and gently moving in the breeze. As the tide rises, the coral become buoyant on the low waters, and are eventually engulfed by the high tide, disappearing as they camouflage against the ocean’s floor.  

The disappearance of the coral in the installation draws attention not only to sea life and marine ecology, but also to what is hidden beneath the ocean and, when exposed, the potential for new narratives to be revealed. According to Alleck, A Balancing Act aims to invoke the Mascarene Archipelago — made up of Mauritius, Rodrigues and Reunion Island — and the histories buried beneath its seabed.  

“There is this theory that these Indian Ocean islands used to be a continent that has sunken,” says Alleck. [22] This includes research relating to billions of years old volcanic matter recently found on Mauritius, which geologists believe are remnants of an ancient ‘lost continent,’ Mauritia. Science writer Bec Crew explains, “The proposed ‘lost continent’ would have once connected Madagascar and India in the Gondwana supercontinent, but likely disappeared into the Indian Ocean around 84 million years ago. Now researchers have found what appears to be a piece of Mauritia, dredged up by ancient volcanoes and hidden below the surface.” [23] Such studies amplify an existence of the Mascarenes that precede a colonial ‘encounter.’ A Balancing Act I, therefore, unsettles a view of Mauritius as inactive or dormant prior to western colonialism. It also raises questions about the effects of exploitative economic systems on humanity and the environment, as well as how these dynamics shape memory. 

Situating this particular ocean as a site of memory, [24] A Balancing Act I suggests that the water is a witness: a carrier of nightmares and sometimes dreams, and a space for unique and divergent stories. “As an archive, the Indian Ocean provides a new way of looking at world history that has previously been dominated by European accounts,” argue Isabel Hofmeyr and Charne Lavery in their essay on Indian Ocean histories. [25] According to the two academics, despite a history that traces back centuries, and which makes this territory “the world’s oldest long-distance trans-oceanic trading arena,” the Indian Ocean is “far less studied than the depths of the other oceans, for economic reasons: it is ringed by underdeveloped countries.” [26] Emphasising the ways in which societal imbalances contribute to how histories are amplified or marginalised, Hofmeyr and Lavery underline alternative engagements of this body of water, advocating for a decolonial discourse which would disrupt narratives of the Indian Ocean currently entrenched in linear constructs beginning with western colonialism. “The age of European empires is only one tiny sliver of time in a much longer arc,” Hofmeyr and Lavery say. [27] Announcing the stickiness of the Indian Ocean, the two scholars write, “The ocean’s submarine life and its human histories are always entangled.” Thus, they acknowledge the multiple paradigms of these waters, including its vast ecology, the “mythical submarine world” and the many lives present and past tethered to it. [28] 

Arise, 2016. Video. (Courtesy of Nirveda Alleck)

Similar to A balancing act I, the Arise video pushes back against homogenous accounts of the Mascarene Archipelago. Based on actual bathymetric topological data — which map and measure the depth of ocean water — the 3D animation represents parts of the archipelago ocean floor. In what looks like surveillance footage from a rover camera, Arise provides a reimagined subterranean view of the seabed. Arise pictures the terrain as expansive and rugged and with surfaces that dip and swell. Later in the video, a mountain-like structure can be seen, which then closes in on a smoothed over object. As the camera rotates around it, a human-like figure is slowly revealed: first a limb, then its torso becomes more apparent. Eventually, we can discern its bare body lying in a foetal fold tucked into the ocean floor. The next shot is a 3D rendering of the figure removed from the ocean floor. The figure — whose skin resembles the grit of the ocean floor, as if they were cut out of the ground — rotates against a black backdrop. Later, the figure stands up straight and looks into the camera alongside a mass of identical stone-like bodies, commanding space. 

Plunging to the depths of the Mascerene Archipelago’s waters, Arise raises interesting questions about an existence of life on these floors before it was enveloped by water. Inviting viewers to think critically about the undercurrent of memory in this region, Arise’s evocation of surveillance footage also evokes western historical accounts predicated on ‘the discovery,’ particularly how ‘voyages of discovery’ have erased details of rich, complex lives that pre-date colonialism. In giving feeling and face to the characters on the ocean floor, this artwork portrays these waters as repositories for the lives below. In so doing, Arise — as a site of memorial and recovery of lost histories in this region — gestures not only to the possibilities of existence on the ancient sea floor, but also to lives lost on the Indian Ocean, particularly enslaved people forcefully moved during colonialism.  

In their activation of the waters of the Mascarene Archipelago, Arise and A balancing act I are imaginative cartographies of lives and lands deemed ‘lost’ because they cannot be read outside of extractive systems that continue to affect humanity and the environment today. By connecting narratives of the land, the people (those present and those who came before), the surrounding waters and sea life, Alleck’s two interventions reframe the Indian Ocean as an ocean of “the middle passage, but also of cosmology, memory, and desire, tracked in the movement, language, and culture of enslaved and dominated people.” [29] 

Accounts of diaspora and (dis)location

Reflecting on her practice, Alleck shares how water has shaped her art. “From early in my career, I would incorporate elements into my art which I had no control over. Like the wind, birds singing or dandelion seeds — but especially water — because it is a body, it is present and it is there. You cannot order it to do something. You allow it to take over.” [30] This relinquishing to the sways of the ocean’s tide and ceding to the ripples of currents is visible in the installations discussed above, as the unpredictability and amorphousness of water trigger new and incalculable meaning to her art. On the surface, Alleck’s painterly interventions offer a sense of measure with their meticulously drawn lines and realistic portrayals of people, nature and objects (even as some of these vistas are steeped in mythology and folklore). However, a close reading of her paintings reveals a fluidity and volatility that water so potently possesses.  

Continuum (2006–) is a series which does not overtly depict water but infers movement and migration, traversing themes relating to diaspora and locationality. Each artwork in Continuum is named after a country, city or territory (such as Beirut, Mali, Chagos and Dakar) and presents people that appear posed (either seated or standing) or as if going about their day. Against a white backdrop and across numerous panels, the subjects in Continuum are removed from their surroundings. Some of the paintings feature photorealist imagery, such as Continuum SA (2006) (Figure 5) and Continuum Mali (2011). Others, like Continuum Dakar (2017) and Continuum USA (2011), take on a more surreal quality, as Alleck presents landscapes and archival images projected onto their clothing. Other paintings in the series, such as Continuum Chagos (2011) and Continuum Beirut (2009) show people merely as outlines, engulfed by the white of the canvas — incomplete and barely present. 

Continuum SA, 2006. Oil on canvas, 360 cm x 150 cm. (Courtesy of Nirveda Alleck)

In painting people detached from the world around them, Continuum presents stories of individuals not defined by their settings. Meanwhile, as topographies and archival images of difficult histories are drawn onto the fabrics they wear, Continuum widens the possibilities of the lives presented, propelling audiences to closely read into their stories. By unfastening subjects from their surrounds, Alleck suggests a way of being connected through meeting points created by systems relating to migration, globalisation, histories of colonialism and more. Problematising notions of citizenship and belonging, Continuum offers narratives untethered from bureaucracy and borders, prompting audiences to see each individual on the canvas as entangled in layered histories and dynamic environments. 

The series exhibits a seemingly unsystematic approach to what is presented on the canvas: vignettes of people, various histories, indistinguishable topographies. But it is this approach of montage which scholar Françoise Vergès says is critical for “writing the history of the dispossessed” [31] and ruminating on complex, fragile settings, such as those “within different temporalities and spaces, within different modernities.” [32] According to Vergès, “Montage suggests an encounter between what is intimate and what is foreign, it implies a shift in our gaze, it challenges preconceptions. It is a pedagogy of complexity, a warning against the temptation of easy and self-righteous judging.” [33] Declaring the ways in which conflicting and everyday experiences can reframe dominant histories, Vergès advocates for montage as a practice to centre subaltern narratives. [34] 

As Continuum brings together diverging ideas, histories and places, the attention given to the individuals in this body of work ruptures dominant narratives that ‘Other’ and negate complex, personal histories. In doing so, Continuum expands on notions of locationality and interconnectivity, sensitive to the ways in which histories, people and places overlap and intertwine. 

Amnesia (2015) is another painting by Alleck which problematises dominant narrative structures and highlights silences in histories, thereby centring marginalised accounts. The diptych’s right-hand canvas depicts an archival depiction of a ship used to transport enslaved people. It is painted against a background of aquamarine blue on the bottom half and white at the top, invoking water. A cross section of a ship is presented, with the belly of the boat and the upper deck laid out next to each other. The two ship levels are filled to capacity with outlines of people: faceless, nameless bodies packed tightly next to each in the boat’s basement and all around its edges, exposing the inhumane system of slavery. 

Amnesia, 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 350 cm x 220 cm (Courtesy of Nirveda Alleck)

On the juxtaposed canvas, Alleck shows a vista of mountains and sparse foliage. Standing before the mountains are a few building structures and silhouettes of people. Some are carrying a palanquin; others stand or sit alone. In the frame, there are also two people next to each other: one holds a long, thin object that could be a stick or a pole. In the foreground, a person is hanging from a tree. Another figure is standing alongside yielding a whip next. This violent panorama rests on painted text that bends to the curvature of the ground in the artwork.  

Despite Amnesia not pointing to any specific location, the imagery certainly calls to attention histories of slavery, systems of exploitation and the afterlives of these structures. The detailed blue and white colours bring to mind pottery from the Ming dynasty period in China or Dutch Delftware, and in so doing, call forth histories predating European colonialism as well as the geographically widespread effects of western imperialism.  

Speaking about Amnesia — a title which alludes to memory and a state of forgetfulness — Alleck ties this work to histories of violence in Mauritius which have been flattened and marginalised in institutional histories. Pointing to the text that runs across the bottom of the diptych, Alleck refers to the research of historian Benjamin Moutou. Alleck says, “[Moutou] did a lot of archival research and managed to find names of slave owners in Mauritius. So, what I did was take all the names of these slave owners and wrote them like a sea underneath in that work.” [35] 

Amnesia refuses the erasure of the island’s past. It calls out histories which, Alleck says, have been hushed in Mauritius. In spotlighting this brutal past, Amnesia prompts viewers to ruminate on the effects of extractive systems and the ways in which a whitewashed history hinders opportunities to restore what has been so violently removed.  

Exploitative practices — such as slavery and indentured labour — were once “the backbone of Mauritian society,” according to Aileen Familara, [36] playing a significant role in the creation of Mauritius. Disregarding this past rejects the very foundations of the island. Hofmeyr and Lavery trace the history of the island as underscored by “systems built on existing foundations of labour exploitation” and describe the constraints of mobility in the region to have “involved slaves, indentured labourers, political exiles and prisoners who were transported between regions.” [37] In paying special attention to this part of the island’s past, Amnesia agitates against the peripheralising of a people’s history, to encouraging ways of healing and restoring.  

Today, Mauritius still feels the aftershock of colonialism and interconnected systems of globalisation, capitalism and environmental exploitation. (The oil spill in August 2020 in the south-east part of the country is a blatant reminder). With these paradigms in mind, Alleck’s artwork invokes water to incite contested histories and wrestle corridors of power that continue in society today. Amnesia — like Alleck’s artworks highlighted above — reminds us that the waters do not forget. They can be read as caches of complex, difficult histories and, as such, provide space for rethinking past, present and future. 

Conclusion

In the global south, where the long-term effects of western colonialism — including climate change — are heightened by neo-colonial structures and the current COVID-19 pandemic, [38] Alleck’s work encourages viewers to think outside of frames designed to perpetuate inequality and injustices. Artworks, such as those discussed above, push against binary perspectives produced by hegemonic constructs and resist colonial accounts in a process that forges new and divergent narratives. In doing this, Alleck engages histories, lives and constructions of power as wholly interconnected and involved.  

Calling upon the waters as mediums for the ancestral, for seeing and remembering, Alleck’s oeuvre draws upon contested histories in the Mascarene Archipelago and beyond. Centring narratives pushed to the periphery, these artworks gesture to the silences that have long existed. In engaging themes of spirituality, diaspora, the environment and memory, Alleck’s artworks encourage viewers to look a little closer, not only at what she presents, but also what is presented in our societies at large. 

Stefanie Jason works at the intersection of research, writing and curating. Currently an Art History PhD student at Rutgers University, Stefanie graduated with an MA in Curatorial Practice from Wits University, with a thesis on the archival absence of pioneering photojournalist Mabel Cetu from South Africa’s mainstream histories. Stefanie also created the zine titled Centring Silences: The Elusive Photographic Archive of Mabel Cetu, which features a collection of responses to the memory of Cetu. An International Women’s Media Foundation 2017 fellow, Stefanie has worked as a journalist and editor; including as senior arts writer for Mail & Guardian, Marie Claire South Africa features writer and editorial director of 10and5.com.


Notes

[1] Jyoti Mistry describes the events relating to 16 June 1976: “It was during this time that children attending black schools challenged the South African state’s requirement that they be instructed in the Afrikaans language, along with the quality of the education (termed “Bantu education”) that they were receiving.”  Jyoti Mistry, “A Dry White Season: Justice Against the Law,” Criterion, December 11, 2018, https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/6095-a-dry-white-season-justice-against-the-law.

[2] Sifiso Khanyile (dir.), Uprize! (Johannesburg: Zinc Pictures, 2017).

[3] Ali Khangela Hlongwane, “The Mapping of the June 16 1976 Soweto Student Uprisings Routes: Past Recollections and Present Reconstruction(s),” Journal of African Cultural Studies 9, no. 1 (August 2007): 7–36, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13696810701485892

[4] Envirolution Consulting, “Basic assessment process and water use licence for the proposed rehabilitation of Orlando Power Station Dam, Klipspruit, City of Johannesburg, Gauteng Province,” South African Heritage Resources Survey, March 5, 2020, https://sahris.sahra.org.za/sites/default/files/additionaldocs/Orlando%20PS%20Dam%20DBAR%202020.pdf.

[5] EmmylouSA, “Cooling towers, Soweto,” Travellerspoint, April 3, 2007, https://www.travellerspoint.com/photos/stream/photoID/104766/features/countries/South%20Africa/. 

[6] Here, I invoke artist Doung Anwar Jahangeer: “‘Power’ in a double sense of a word: Power as in the power that enables us to grow and develop but also power as a resource that also dehumanises us.” Quoted in “Mauritius: Doung Anwar Jahangeer,” Standard Bank SA (Youtube), February 21, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djcJZiVfyy0.

[7] Nirveda Alleck, interview with the author, June 2020.

[8] Alleck, interview with the author, June 2020.

[9] Alleck, interview with the author, June 2020.

[10] Alleck, interview with the author, June 2020.

[11] Christian A. Kull, Edward Alpers and Jacques Tassin, “Marooned plants: vernacular naming practices in the Mascarene Islands,” Environment and History 21, no. 1 (2015): 47, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273109567_Marooned_Plants_Vernacular_Naming_Practices_in_the_Mascarene_Islands

[12] Kull, Alpers and Tassin, “Marooned plants.”

[13] Tijo Salverda, “Still standing: the maintenance of a white elite in Mauritius,” IIAS 45, no. 19 (2007): 19. 

[14] Julia Waters, The Mauritian Novel: Fictions of Belonging (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2018), 168.

[15] Tijo Salverda, “(Dis)unity in Diversity: How Common Beliefs about Ethnicity Benefit the White Mauritian Elite,” Journal of Modern African Studies 53, no. 4 (2015): 534.

[16] Patrick Eisenlohr, Little India: Diaspora, Time, and Ethnolinguistic Belonging in Hindu Mauritius (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), 89.

[17] Eisenlohr,  Little India, 89. 

[18] Salverda, “(Dis)unity in Diversity,” 534.

[19] Alleck, interview with the author, June 2020.

[20] Alleck, interview with the author, June 2020.

[21] Gabeba Baderoon, “The African Oceans – Tracing the Sea as Memory of Slavery in South African Literature and Culture,” Research in African Literatures 40, no. 4 (2009): 95 

[22] Alleck, interview with the author, June 2020.

[23] Bec Crew, “Researchers Just Found Evidence of an Ancient ‘Lost Continent’ Under Mauritius”. Science Alert, February 1, 2017, https://www.sciencealert.com/researchers-just-found-evidence-of-a-lost-continent-under-mauritius

[24] Isabel Hofmeyr and Charne Lavery, “Exploring the Indian Ocean as a Rich Archive of History – Above and Below the Water Line,” The Conversation, June 7, 2020, https://theconversation.com/exploring-the-indian-ocean-as-a-rich-archive-of-history-above-and-below-the-water-line-133817

[25] Hofmeyr and Lavery, “Exploring the Indian Ocean.”

[26] Hofmeyr and Lavery, “Exploring the Indian Ocean.”

[27] Hofmeyr and Lavery, “Exploring the Indian Ocean.”

[28] Hofmeyr and Lavery, “Exploring the Indian Ocean.”

[29] Baderoon, “The African Oceans,” 91.

[30] Alleck, interview with the author, June 2020.

[31] Françoise Vergès, “Wandering Souls and Returning Ghosts: Writing the History of the Dispossessed,” Yale French Studies 118/119 (2010): 140.

[32] Vergès, “Wandering Souls and Returning Ghosts,” 148. 

[33] Vergès, “Wandering Souls and Returning Ghosts,” 140.

[34] Vergès, “Wandering Souls and Returning Ghosts,” 136–154.

[35] Alleck, interview with the author, June 2020.

[36] Aileen Familara, “Mauritius: Communities of Paradise,” Women in Action 18, no. 3 (2009): 89, https://www.isiswomen.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1416:mauritius-communities-of-paradise-&catid=169:multiple-intolerance-mounting-resistance&Itemid=452

[37] Hofmeyr and Lavery, “Exploring the Indian Ocean.”

[38] Pethani Madzivhandila, “Fighting the pandemic in the global South,” Africa’s a Country, July 8, 2020, https://africasacountry.com/2020/08/fighting-the-pandemic-in-the-global-south


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