Créolité and Réunionese Maloya: From ‘in-between’ to ‘Moorings’

Stephen Muecke


At the beginning of October 2009, UNESCO announced that the culture of maloya, a genre of song and dance from the island of Réunion, would henceforth become an international heritage item. The Geneva committee, in placing this endangered form of culture under their protection, defined it as a ‘type of music, song and dance native to the island of Réunion’. There is nothing unusual in the fact that a marginal item of ‘immaterial’ culture, originating from a tiny speck of France in the Indian Ocean, should be noticed by an international organisation and ‘protected’ in this way. This discussion paper investigates versions of creole and créolité and the role of theory in the kind of advocacy that promoted maloya. It argues that ‘moorings’ (Vergès and Marimoutou), as a concept for creolisation studies, is more robust, concrete and precise than Bhabha’s ‘in-between’.

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