She was only 14 years old when she was married to ‘Ton Samy a.k.a Long Samy. When she was 16, she gave birth to her first child who was followed by several others. One of them is Loga whom I married in 1964 while we were students in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Madam Samy a.k.a Mama Ouma quickly realised that living under the roof of her father’s mansion at Pope Henessy street, meant that she would have to forfeit her rights and ambition with regards to her growing family, for Bonom Madaya, the patriarch and clan leader, had very narrow and conservative ideas about the roles and duties of women.
With the help of ‘Ton Samy, a skilled worker (compositor) at “Government Printing” and also a very talented musician, she took her family out of the huge colonial villa to move to a modest ‘Lakaz Kreol’ at Lari Madam.
There she decided to learn to sew, crochet, embroider and paint and eventually became a well-known ‘modis’ and shortly later, a ‘choli’ specialist whose reputation crossed district boundaries and the shores of Mauritius.
She believed in girls’ education and women’s emancipation. She burnt the midnight oil to provide for secondary and tertiary learning for her children.
When I told her that I loved Loga and wanted to marry her, she supported me, the physically handicapped who was about to leave for Scotland, because she believed in our love in spite of opposition from people within my ranks. She was prepared to financially support Loga’s secretarial studies.
When we returned after our studies and I started political and language activism, she gave me her blessing and together with her husband, she helped Loga to look after Saskia and Anushka, our 2 daughters, while I was absent or in prison under the state of Emergency.
Madam Samy is now gone but this unsung heroine will be remembered by all those who have known her.


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