Everyone living in Mauritius (and abroad also) should, in a way or another, have certainly encountered traditional hawkers from different trade activities. In many regions of the island, most of these traditional activities were very common and even now some can still be seen here and there. Traditional activities include the mobile milkman, the newspaper seller, the bread seller, the tin-can seller, the coal seller … and some others as well. Every decent way to earn a living was acceptable and it formed part of the social well-being and facilitated many households to buy some petty things right at their doorsteps.
This traditional slippers seller was quite rare but existed in some villages. This tradesman would sell sandals and other footwears, all of which are loaded on his bicycle or moped in most cases and he would wander in certain regions for potential customers. Memories for some, souvenirs for others, this image also reminds us of the famous ‘savates dodo’ which many Mauritians have certainly used at a given period. These famous pink and blue slippers/sandals were made of rubber and lasted quite long, and when they were used up to a certain level, experienced users would cut out piece of the rubber to use as brake pads on their bicycles… of course, referring those classic bicycles mostly known as ‘bicyklet grand-pere’.
Today whilst many of these traditional activities have disappeared, a few can still be seen in both urban and rural areas, for example, the mobile newspaper seller, the bread seller, the milk seller among others.
A few of those traditional trades are showcased below…