“Vy, Vato, Sakelika” or “Iron, stone, ramification”. It is the name of an association – at the cultural origin – of young people, composed mainly of medical students and which was formed about 1912 around a French pastor.
At that time, any indigenous organization is illegal, so the VVS is banned by the Colonial Administration, and passes for a secret association. In 1915 she was accused of fomenting a conspiracy against France, and particularly of organizing the general poisoning of all the drinking water wells of the French in the capital by 31st December at 9 pm.
Forty-one young people appear before the indigenous court, including a number of medical students, including future Raseta and Ravoahangy politicians, with a priest, two brothers from the Christian schools, pastors, Writers like Ny Avana Ramanantoanina …
Some are acquitted, but most are subjected to various penalties of forced labor under a law of the Malagasy code, therefore prior to the French occupation. This law provides for excessive penalties for mere intentions or for offenses of opinion. However, all the condemned are, a few years later, amnestied.
One of the first Madagascan priests, Venance Manifatra (1862-1826), comes from the Sakalava tribe of Faseny, near Hellville on the island of Nosy Be. He spent forty-five years of religious life in the Society of Jesus and was recognized as “a great trainer of men, a tireless worker, endowed with a truly cultivated spirit and an artist’s soul” (Régis Rajemisa-Raolison ). He is the author of many melodious hymns and several collections of short stories written in Malagasy, to quote only “Atsy ary”, “with a refined flavor”.
Involved in the VVS affair in 1915, Venance Manifatra was incarcerated in the company of the Raphael and Julien brothers, which enabled her to write an article entitled “A Madagascan Jesuit in Prison” (Revue des Jésuites: Les Études).
Brother Louis Rafiringa (1854-1917) “who honors his congregation by his piety, his firmness in Christian doctrine and his devotion,” is a native of Antananarivo. He became one of the youngest Malagasy schoolteachers whom Brother Gonzalvien could join. Son of the chief of the blacksmiths of Ranavalona I, he is with Victoire Rasoamanarivo, the support of the young Catholic Church during the difficult hours when the French missionaries must leave the island during the two Franco-Merina wars.
In 1915, he was also involved in the so-called VVS case. At the age of sixty, “it is with the courage and resignation of a true religious that he endures the ill-treatment of a prisoner,” during the fifty-seven days he has left.
Brother Raphael Rafiringa is also one of Malagasy literary luminaries of his time and is distinguished by pamphlets of spirituality and pedagogical manuals which testify to a vast culture and a deep knowledge of Malagasy. He is, moreover, designated by the Malagasy Academy, together with other confreres, to translate into French the “Tantara ny andriana” of Father Callet.
Pastor Ravelojaona (1879-1956), a very influential figure in Malagasy society, is known in the triple title of “mpitandrina, a social-political man and a literate end”. Managing several newspaper titles, he showed his enthusiasm for the social formation of young people, hence his involvement in the VVS affair.
In May 1939, he was elected delegate of the indigenous peoples of all Madagascar to the French Superior Council of Overseas France, a position he kept until 1946. This enabled him to take care of the Madagascan soldiers in France during Of the Second World War. In 1946, he again put his candidature for the deputation of indigenous peoples, with the program the progressive Independence of Madagascar. But he is beaten by Dr. Ravoahangy-Andrianavalona, promoter of Integral Independence. It is known that six months after his election, Ravoahangy adopts, in a few nuances, the program of Pastor Ravelojaona.
The latter’s line of conduct in anti-colonial politics has always been dictated by the Malagasy saying: “Aza manai-boron-kotifirana”, in other words, “do not frighten the birds you are about to shoot”.