Afrobarometer survey: “Majority of Mauritians equally value their national and ethnic identities”

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The latest Afrobarometer survey interviewed 1,200 adult Mauritians in October 2017. © 2017 Afrobarometer survey.

The latest Afrobarometer survey interviewed 1,200 adult Mauritians in October 2017. © 2017 Afrobarometer survey.

Almost nine out of 10 Mauritians find their national identity to be at least as important to them as their ethnic-group identity according to the latest Afrobarometer report. The survey, conducted by StraConsult, found that 63 per cent of respondents “felt equally Mauritian and a member of their ethnic group”, 18 per cent felt “only Mauritian”, and only 6 per cent felt “more Mauritian than a member of their ethnic group”.

Paradoxically, most Mauritians are not engaged in religious or community groups. Merely two in 10 Mauritians are active members or leaders of religious groups that meet outside of regular worship services (11 per cent) or other voluntary associations or community groups (9 per cent). attending community meetings, joining with others to raise an issue, contacting elected officials, or participating in election campaigns. While men are twice as likely as women to be part of religious groups (15 per cent vs. 7 per cent), religious groups seem to be somewhat more popular among older citizens than other kinds of associations or community groups.

Likewise, more than seven in 10 Mauritians did not partake in civic actions by either attending a community meeting (70 per cent) or a get-together with others (78 per cent) to raise an issue during the year preceding the survey. Gender-wise, men are more likely than women to partake in civic actions. Moreover, rural residents are more socially active than urbanites.

Besides, almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of Mauritians reckon that people “often” or ‘always” have to be careful about what they say about politics – a sharp increase from 57 per cent in 2014 – which political organisations they join (71 per cent) and how they vote (73 per cent).

Finally, three in 10 Mauritians (30 per cent) deem that the media have less freedom than a few years ago to investigate and criticise government actions, whereas 31 per cent and 33 per cent opine that media freedom has increased or stayed the same respectively.

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