News on Sunday

50 Years of Independence - Michel de Spéville : “Emigrating has never crossed my mind”

Michel de Spéville

Michel de Speville is and will remain for a long time an outstanding example of who is a true Mauritian. He started from scratch – a little poultry farm with a few dozens hens at Moka a few months before Independence, when his friends hurried to settle in a foreign country, South Africa or Rhodesia. Very often, he spent his nights at the farm with his watchman listening to the latter singing in Bhojpuri.


He will be known in Mauritian history as the one who has democratised the consumption of chicken, at the time before Independence, when meat appeared on the dinner table of an ordinary person only during New Year or during a big event when parents and friends called at his place. To-day chicken is in the daily menu of Mauritians.

From poultry farming, Michel spread his activities to other sectors: Yoghurt, fruit juice and other consumption items. Michel de Spéville is most deservedly, to-day, the richest Mauritian of the Republic! Below are his views on the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Mauritius:

“The evolution of Mauritius over the past five decades has been remarkable. Considered by economic and social experts as a ‘doomed country’ with no hope, no solution, Mauritius has demonstrated its uniqueness.

The size of the island, initially considered as a handicap for the creation of wealth and growth, however, proved to be its main asset. Indeed, people of all origins, growing up together in schools and villages, turned out to be a real enrichment for each and everyone.

I had myself the privilege to grow up within a large family, close to nature and to people of all origins. I learned a lot from that period and I guess this is what prompted my passion for the country. 

I have always been strongly attached to Mauritius and emigrating has never crossed my mind. I rather had the ambition to stay and contribute, even modestly, to the enhancement of our country. 

I wish, however, to point out that I have much respect for all those Mauritian citizens who chose to migrate for various reasons, and who have been our ambassadors and are still connected to our ‘Mauritian spirit’ overseas. It is indeed fascinating to witness the reputation of our fellow citizens in many countries throughout the world.

It is rewarding to note the significant progress achieved by Mauritius since its Independence. We have to acknowledge the commitment of political and social leaders who contributed to cultivate common sense and the right mindset to maintain confidence and a stable environment.

There is still substantial progress to be achieved to further develop the nation and ensure social enhancement of quality of life at all levels. The promotion and support of entrepreneurship is an important way to contribute to development and self-reliance so that many more citizens would participate in the value-added chain of our nation.
Mauritius is, no doubt, the “star” of the Indian Ocean and can contribute to improve certain aspects of the world.”


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