Introduction / History Mauritius is an island nation roughly 700 miles east of Madagascar in the Indian ocean. France took over the islands in the early 18th century and imported slaves from East Africa to work on sugar cane plantations. In 1810 the British seized the islands from the French. The British imported more slaves from Africa until 1835 when slavery was abolished in the British Empire. Indentured servants were then brought in from southern India to work on the plantations. The descendants of these Indians make up the Tamil speaking citizens in Mauritius today. Mauritius became an independent nation in 1968 and a republic in 1992. The standard of living of Mauritius is higher than other African nations. Mauritius was recently voted the least violent and most peaceful African nation. Mauritius is the only African country with Hinduism as the most practiced religion. Tamils frequently speak Tamil at home, English and French at work and Mauritian Creole with their neighbors.
What are their lives like? The Tamils living in Mauritius often occupy what would be considered middle class status. A few are some wealthy Tamils own resorts, hotels, and sugar cane plantations. Most Tamils work at the resorts, as managers in sugar factories and as shop keepers and in trade. Many also are employed in medicine, education, and government. The father is the head of the Tamil family. He shares leadership with his wife over the children. A woman has a higher place in the Tamil home than in most African cultures. Parents encourage their sons and daughters to excel in education and obtain college degrees. Tamils in Mauritius try to maintain their ethnic identity. In traditional Tamil culture, the parents chose the spouse of their children. This practice has changed where young people frequently choose their partner with their parents’ guidance. Parents strongly encourage their sons and daughters to marry within Hindu Tamil society.
What are their beliefs? The large majority of Tamils in Mauritius practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Tamils visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hope of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods as Christians do with their heavenly Father. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Tamil people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama’s birthday. A small but growing number of Tamils are becoming followers of Jesus Christ.
What are their needs? The Tamils living in Mauritius need to hear a clear presentation of the gospel. They need to come to understand that Jesus Christ is not just another Hindu god or guru. He is the unique Son of the one, true God and the only One who can forgive their sins.
Prayer Points Pray that the Lord raises up a Disciple Making Movement among the Tamils in Mauritius in this decade. Pray the Lord moves Mauritian believers and churches to help Tamil Hindus find their way to the cross. Pray that Christian literature and videos in the Tamil and Mauritian Creole languages become readily available and heeded by the Hindu community. Ask God to bring Tamil leaders and heads of families into His kingdom.