The Cold War Indian Ocean world was a space in transition. As European empires retreated from the ocean's littoral states, the structure and makeup of what political entities would follow remained opaque and contested. Mauritius's relatively late formal decolonization in 1968 was a case in point: as “winds of change” blew across Indian Ocean Africa, the impending departure of the British from the island threw into stark relief how different racial groups understood their collective diasporic pasts and weighed potential futures free from British rule. This essay examines how race shaped popular conversations on Mauritian political independence through two areas of analysis. The first is a discussion of Mauricianisme, a mid-century project of building a multiracial Mauritian political identity that could accommodate and integrate its African and Asian components to chart a path forward in the postcolonial world. Second is an analysis of a singular Afro-Mauritian newspaper published in the 1950s and 1960s, L’Épée, and how it approached questions of race and decolonization. Taken together, the following pages offer a view into how nationwide debates attempted to reconcile deep histories that spanned the Indian Ocean and to smooth the jagged historical rifts between communal groups with an eye toward political independence.

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