Life on Reunion Island
It is the people of Réunion who add a living soul to the ‘intense isle’. It is a true melting pot and a ‘rainbow nation’ far exceeding that of South Africa. After spending some time communing with nature in the mountains or amongst the coral, take time to experience a culture that has its own unique identity as well as a myriad of identies within. This is not France, not Africa, it is Réunion and is essentially Creole – more like a meeting point at the outer reaches of the galaxy. Have your doors of perception cleansed and realise the world anew…
Reunion has people of many different ethnic origins, descendents of the early settlers who came from places as diverse as China, India, Arabia, Comoros and Madagascar Islands, the African mainland and Europe. The French plantation owners brought the Africans and the Malagasy to the island as slaves, their descendents living on the island are known as “Cafre” (something which for an anglophone is hard to accept and is felt often to be defamatory). The descendants of more recent arrivals from Europe, mostly of French origin are known as “Zoreil” (who may become “Z’oreole” if well intergrated) while the “Malbar” are Tamil from Madras and the Coromandel Coast in India who were brought to the island as indentured labour after the abolition of slavery…………..
Life in Russia
“Rus” may derive from the name of a tribe that gained political ascendancy in Kiev and other Slavic towns and lent its name to the language, culture, and state. Some scholars believe this to have been a Varangian (Viking) clan from Scandinavia, and others hold that it was a Slavic tribe. Some historians believe that “Rus” derives from an ancient name for the Volga River.
People ethnically identified as Russians have been politically and culturally dominant in a vast area for five hundred years of tsarist and Soviet imperial expansion. However, despite repression of their cultural autonomy, minority cultures have survived within the Russian Federation; including the peoples of the North Caucasus, numerous indigenous groups in Siberia, the Tatars in the Volga region, and the East Slavic Ukrainians and Belorusians. The last three groups are widely dispersed throughout the federation. All but the youngest citizens share a Soviet cultural experience, since under Communist Party rule the state shaped and controlled daily life and social practice. Much of that experience is being rejected by Russians and non-Russians who are reclaiming or reinventing their ethnic or traditional pasts; many communities are asserting a specific local identity in terms of language and culture. There is a broad cultural continuity throughout the federation and among the millions of Russians in the newly independent republics of Central Asia, the Baltic region, and the Caucasus……………