Written by Jean-Georges Prosper and composed by Philippe Gentil in 1968 for the celebration of the Independence of Mauritius, the national anthem is the pride of Mauritians. Only the English version is official. 55 years ago, Jean-George Prosper and Philippe Gentil composed the words and music of the national anthem respectively.
In January 1968, the country’s accession to independence was already foreseen, he marked only his national anthem, the famous Motherland. As a good patriot, the poet Jean-George Prosper began to write a poem in three verses about his country. He thought he would highlight “his love for Mauritius and its progress towards independence.”
Meanwhile, on his side, Philippe Gentil of the Police Band had a tune in mind one fine evening. “I got out of bed and took a piece of paper to write down the few notes I had in mind,” he says. That night he wrote half the music for the anthem. The next day, he completed it and had the music played by the police band.
A competition for the composition of the lyrics of the national anthem for Mauritius was launched in 1968 by the Independence Party of SSR, and the result, we know, the creations of the two men were to be chosen. Philippe Gentil, the maestro, thought that the lyrics were a wonderful match for Philippe Ohsan’s music. One had the impression that these words had been written for this air. “It was miraculous”, confides Jean-George Prosper. Prosper had learned that his poem had been chosen through a phone call from Marie-Josée Baudot of the MBC. And in early March, the anthem was broadcast for the first time on the radio, and for the author of the lyrics: “It was something intense, a strong emotion.”
Here is the national anthem in its original form, which is in English:
Glory to thee, Motherland
O Motherland of mine.
Sweet is thy beauty,
Sweet is thy fragrance,
Around thee we gather
As one people,
As one nation,
In peace, justice and liberty.
May God bless thee
For ever and ever.