Between the continental Africa and the island of Madagascar, in the Indian ocean a place named Mayotte is a paradise for divers. These divers flock over there to see the spectacular coral in the world’s largest enclosed lagoon. Mayotte is an overseas department and a region in France officially named as the Department of Mayotte. This place comprises of the two south-easternmost islands of the Comoros archipelago. It is situated in the Mozambique Channel of the western Indian ocean, about 190 miles northwest of Madagascar. Mamoudzou, the capital of Mayotte is located on the eastern coast of the main land.
The department status of Mayotte has been implied recently for the reason that this place is considered as the poorest region in France. Although this region is considered as the poorest, it is the most prosperous amongst the other countries of the Mozambique Channel as it is the major destination for illegal immigration. According to January ’20, an official estimate about the people is 2,79,471 and the land are is 374 square kilometres. In 2019, with an annual population growth of 3.8%, half the population was less than 17 years old. In addition, as a result of massive illegal immigration from neighboring islands, 48% of the population are foreign nationals.
Although, as a department, Mayotte is an official part of France, most of the people there do not speak French as their first language, but a majority of the people 14 years and older report in the census that they can speak French.
Agricultural sector is one on primary industry in Mayotte. It also includes fishing and livestock raising. As Mayotte is not self-sufficient, it imports a large portion of its food requirements, mainly from Metropolitan France. The economy and future development of the island of the island are heavily dependent on French financial assistance, this is considered as an important supplement to GDP. The country’s major agricultural crops and products are vanilla, ylang-ylang, coffee, copra, fish and livestock.
The climate of Mayotte is tropical, with a hot, humid and experiences a rainy season from December to April. The weather is relatively cool, dry and sunny from June to October. May and November are considered as transitional months. During the dry period, some brief thunderstorms are possible, especially on the main island where there are some small elevations. It is yearlong warm or hot. The sea in Mayotte is always warm enough to swim in, in fact, the water temperature ranges from 26 degree Celsius in the July-September period to 29 degree Celsius in February-April period.
Mayotte is considered as a developing nation. Living standards are therefore lower than the metropolitan France. One third of the population stay in a housing which is not connected to a public water network. As a developing nation, Mayotte may not be able to offer consistent social services to its citizens. The citizens in these developing nations may have lower life expediencies than citizens of developed nations. Around 67,258 people which stands accountable for 25.9% are unemployed. The Gini index of the country is 49 as Mayotte is experiencing a poor-quality growth.
In the 15th century, the Arabs invaded the island and converted the people from various castes such as- Bantu, Malay and Indonesian language to Islam. In the 16th century, the Portuguese and French visited Mayotte. The French gained colonial control over Mayotte in 1843, Mayotte also become the single French overseas territory in the early 20th century. In 1979 the United Nations passed a resolution affirming the sovereignty of Comoros over Mayotte.
Mayotte was known as Mahore until 1975. This place was considered as one of the islands of Comoros, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean between eastern Africa and the island of Madagascar. The island’s educational system is based on that of France, and the primary language is French. Education is free and compulsory for the children between the ages of 6 to 16. Primary education lasts for five years and is followed by another five years of secondary education. Secondary students pursuing general studies attend one of the island’s seven colleges, while those in vocational programs attend the one lycée. Students pursuing university degree usually go to France.
The main religion of Mayotte is Islam. 97% of the population follow the Muslim religion, whereas the remaining 3% follow the Christianity religion. Roman Catholicism is served along with the Comoros as they have no proper diocese. The population is young; more than two-fifths of the population is under age 15, and only about one-eighth is 45 or older.
The Comorian island people eat rice with the staple of the daily diet, along with other manioc and root vegetables, plantains, fresh and dried fish, milk from grated coconuts. As Mayotte imports food from France and Africa, the products are more common and are available in several supermarkets. Mayotte follows the traditional Comorian practices. During celebrations- rice, curdled milk and meat are eaten.
In the past, there was a typical two-room house which is built out of cob- earth mixed with straw, coconut fronds or raffia. In 1975, the population was encouraged to build houses made out of earthen bricks and cement painted in bright colours. Ever since then, 65% of the population lives in houses made out of solid materials and 75% out of them have electricity. In Mayotte, people having televisions are more than that of people having refrigerators. From the 16th century in Tsingoni, the architecture of their mosques and royal tombs have been restored.
GOVERNMENT AND SOCIETY –
From 1976 to the 21st century, Mayotte was considered as a territory to France, later the status of Mayotte was changed to “Department.” This status has been changed in 2001 and then was further changed in 2011 to “overseas department.” Mayotte’s status as an administrative unit has been disputed by Comoros. Mayotte is represented in the French national assembly by a deputy and in the French senate by 2 senators. It is administered by a French-appointed perfect and have an elected Departmental Council. The judiciary of Mayotte is modelled by the French system.
Shimaore, is a form of Comorian language which is spoke by the “Magoran” in Mayotte. Shimaore is a language similar to Shindzuani- a language spoke on the next island. The languages spoke in Mayotte are principally influenced through borrowings. French is the language of the public services, education and foreign exchange, even though 60% of the population don’t speak French.
Mayotte became a French possession in 1841. At the outset a sugar colony and then the administrative center of the archipelago, Mayotte lost that distinction in 1958, when the capital was moved to Moroni (Ngazidja). When the Comoros gained independence in 1975, Mayotte chose to remain French to benefit from French development funds, which residents feared it would no longer receive.
There is a common desire to remain French in order to preserve social equality and receive financial aid. In Mayotte, men from Ngazidja come to marry Mahoran women and in turn gain France citizenship. The standard of living in Ngazidja is lower than that of Mahoran. 4% of the Mayotte population consists of French people, who mainly come to Mayotte for working in municipal administrations or are in the post of taking charge. These people don’t interact with the local people and thus have differentiation amongst themselves.
A person in Mayotte is distinct from the others on the ground of a person’s level of education and wealth. The administration of Mayotte has an organization based on the French department with a legislative unicameral General council, consisting of 19 seats. The members elected by the public votes need to serve 3 years term. Mayotte elects one member to the French Senate. The executive power is vested in the prefect, who represents the French government.
- FASHION IN MAYOTTE:
Mayotte is a part of the Comorian islands but is different as it is governed by the French law. Every region has a traditional clothing, for this place the Mayotte women wear clothes which include white long dresses, decorated with bright local paints and headbands, in addition they usually add paint to their faces. Mayotte men wear similar long skirts with wide t-shirts. Working people in the fashion industry have begun following various trends and thus, t-shirts, blazers and shorts are very common.
Various fashion brands in Mayotte offer wholesale clothing too. Clothes for men, women, babies and children are easily available and are sustainable in nature.
The men in Mayotte have a similar clothing style as that of the Comoros people. Men wear clothing made of cotton, and a skirt that goes up to the length of their knee. They sometimes wear a white jacket and a white skull cup, they wear white because of the raging heat in Mayotte. When men go out of town, they wear a long, colorful skirt called a sarong. Although, young males tend to wear traditional western clothing over their own kind. Older ones, however, prefer the traditional Comorian clothes instead.
Salouva is an elegant outfit for the women of Mayotte, this is the only garment that has a cultural value. The fashion of this to be described is- a large cotton tube tied around the chest and falling to the feet. It consists of 2 parts, a large piece of fabric sewn on one side which the woman slips and fastens, most of the time, over the chest and the kishali, shawl worn on the head or the shoulders. The kishali is a Mahometric veil, without religious connotation, made from the same material as salouva.
Older women wear a lace skirt underneath. Among the Mahorais, practical clothes were worn which had to be worn all day and used during all activities. Embroidered salouvas are generally reserved for large ceremonies such as weddings. Almost all women show their salvas on Friday, a sacred day among Muslims.
Mahorian women also wear bright shawls or scarfs around their face as a covering. Another way that these women dress is using sandalwood and coral paste as a type of “beauty mask: for their faces.
Typically, the clothes worn by both, men and women in today’s time are according to the fashion industry of the Western World. But, to protect their cultural heritage, even today, Mayotte styles their traditional clothes in a very common way to keep their traditional clothes trendy.
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