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‘He is my friend,’ one of the men, a Creole named George, proclaims, throwing his arm around the shoulders of an Indian colleague. ‘I am a Christian, he is a Hindu and my friend over there is a Muslim – but here in Mauritius we are all friends and we all get along beautifully.’

The crew, who have been building a new resort on the island, have come together to mark a successful end to the project with a sega dance, an intensely emotional and improvised form of music and movement that evolved out of the days of slavery in the 18th century. Like the platters of food they have brought, it is an intermingling of African and European elements that has blossomed into something all its own. With drums and singing and the air heavy with fragrant barbeque smoke, they celebrate their lives as Mauritians. And when the dancing and feasting is finished, they pick up every scrap of litter, wish each other the very best and go home to their families.

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