This film is part of Free

Mauritius 1941

The film shows Port Louis, the capital; workers on sugar plantations and road mending as well as colonial life in the then British dependency.

Amateur film 1941 14 mins

Overview

Mauritius was a British possession until independence in 1992. Before the construction of the Suez Canal it held an important and strategic position for Indian Ocean trade and naval power. At the time of filming, it was the most intensely cultivated sugar area in the world. The film illustrates the lives of plantation workers and road menders compared with the leisure pursuits of the colonialists.

Edited and photographed by Joseph Albrecht for the company ‘The African Film Productions Ltd’, based at South Africa’s first film company, the Killarney Studios of Johannesburg and founded in 1915. Albrecht also made a weekly newsreel for the company called ‘Africa’s Mirror’. Sections on cropping sugar cane show the manual labour involved in the process, whilst the wealthy residents of the ‘Curepipe’ district are filmed at their homes playing tennis. Horse racing features at the Champs de Mars racecourse – introduced by the British to the island in 1810 – and guests at a reception at the Governor’s Residence, Le Réduit.

Subjects