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Faced with the mass of Malagasy people who have only modest purchasing power, sometimes very small, there is a minority who, on the whole, have a higher standard of living. It includes some 17,000 foreigners in the late 1960s, residing in Antananarivo. “Yet it would be wrong to believe that all its members live in ease: rich and poor exist among them, although the average income is still higher than the Malagasy average” (Gerald Donque).
These foreigners are categorized into five nationalities, according to what characterizes them. These are the French, the Comorians, the Karana (whom Gerald Donque defines as Indians, Pakistanis or stateless persons of Indian origin), Chinese and other Europeans.
The French constitute the most numerous but also the most diverse foreign minority. Arrived especially during the colonization, they saw their number grow until Independence, at the time when they are then at the number of 27 128. Many, established permanently in the island, make there strain. Then their numbers began to decline, bringing them back to about 11,500 in 1968.
In fact, the population of the French inflated from 1950 by the granting of French nationality to Malagasy. Ten years later, they generally opt for a return to their citizenship
Of origin (51 000 in 1958, 21 000 the following year). This decline is expected to continue with the progressive malgachisation of the cadres, both in the Administration and in the private sector, and with the reduction of the military personnel.
The origin of the French differentiates them. A good third comes from Reunion, more rarely from Mauritius or Madagascar. The rest comes from France (Paris region, department of West Brittany, secondarily from the Mediterranean regions), sometimes from Indo-China or from North Africa. “These last two categories result from the exodus of the French of Indochina, a decade earlier. Or the repression of the French of Algerian stock in 1966. “
Thus, in 1962, 770 people born in France have been settled in the island for thirty years and 382 for at least forty years. With their compatriots born in Madagascar, they constitute a group of 8,000 members, firmly established and no longer thinking of returning to the Hexagon.
“The malgachisation of public sector executives and the more slowly the private sector, new French measures now limiting to six years the stay in the same country of technical assistants and having transferred those who had more than fourteen years of service in Madagascar in 1967, Diminish more and more the character of antiquity of the implantation of the French in Tananarive. “
The French of the capital are also differentiated by their standard of living. Many are “small urban whites” that low educational attainment and lack of occupational skills are related to high-paying jobs. “The number of illiterates represents 1.3% of the French population, while 12.3% of the remainder did not reach the level of primary education. “French native or Reunionese, they are forced to accept jobs very subordinate, more and more reduced with the malgachisation of the posts.
Thus in 1968, in addition to the diplomatic and consular staff and the few military families, the French of Antananarivo are divided into three main socio-economic categories.
First, the assistants and technical advisors and assimilated persons who work in the Malagasy administrations, especially in education. They enjoy fairly high treatments, enabling them to lead a more comfortable life than in France. Some, who have arrived for many years, prefer to retire in Madagascar. Others settle there, sometimes marrying Malagasy women and
“Feared a departure imposed under other heavens.”
Then come the industrialists, great merchants and senior managers of private firms, originating either in France, Madagascar or Mascareignes. They also have a high standard of living.
“These two categories play a considerable role in the Malagasy administration and economy, a role that is out of all proportion to their numerical importance, a legacy of colonization and underdevelopment that does not seem to have to cease soon. “
Finally, there are the small wage-earners of commerce and industry, subordinate cadres, workers and employees of the tananarivian firms. Almost all of Reunionese origin or born in Madagascar, almost unaware of France, “they are worried at the thought of having to be repatriated one day.” Their lifestyle is modest, sometimes difficult.