Far from the tourist spots, in Rose-Hill, one of the main towns that probably received its name from an ancient 19th century ‘Mount Rose’ estate, opposite the beautiful church of Montmartre, is located The Plaza: an authentic bastion of cultural Mauritius. In this courtyard during the weekends reigns a jovial atmosphere, a testimonial of the natives’ authenticity.
Initially, the opera companies that came to Mauritius on tour had only cramped theatres at their disposal, outside the Port Louis theatre, and the performances were difficult. In 1933, The Plaza theatre was inaugurated, but with a film session, while a year later the shows began.
Our elders will surely remember these beautiful film screenings during which two films were proposed interspersed with an intermission, which allowed people to socialize and meet long-time friends who had made the trip to Rose-Hill. They also recall these beautiful plays, musicals, lyrical art played by well-known Mauritian troops or these dancing parties, balls in the party room.
Nowadays during the weekends, the well-maintained courtyard crowded with families and couples, allows an animation of this town that would otherwise have been deserted. Mauritians come here to relax, to let young children enjoy themselves, to buy local ice cream cones sprinkled with grated pineapple jam (the famous Vona, as locals call it), for bags of hot pink-coloured peanuts, or ‘poutous’ (crushed rice cakes) steamed and flavored with vanilla and coconut.
It is not uncommon to see young people in faded decorated jeans, earbuds on, singing unknown tunes that can only be guessed, while observers smile have fun looking at them.
The Plaza in Mauritius will have seen the birth and will see the birth of beautiful stories and anecdotes. It is part of the Mauritian heritage and deserves a must-see detour… It contributes to the beautiful pages of Mauritius country’s history and rekindles wonderful memories.
Lza M Natur