The Department of La Réunion signs the Kréol-French Bilingual Charter – Culture and identity

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New progress for the recognition of the language of the people of Réunion

Wednesday, December 14, 2022, by manuel marchal


The most important community in Réunion in terms of public reception point signed yesterday the Kréol-French Bilingual Charter with Lofis la lang. This Charter recognizes the right of users to be received in Creole or French in the Department’s services. This is an important new step in the recognition of the Creole language, the mother tongue and the most widely spoken in Réunion but which is not the official language.


On December 13, the Department and Lofis la lang kreol signed the Kréol-French Bilingual Charter. Present at this event were Catherine Chane Kune, Director of Culture representing the State, Cyrille Melchior, President of the Department, Axel Gauvin, President Lofis la lang, Isabelle Erudel, Departmental Councilor.

Yesterday a new important step was taken for the recognition of the Creole language. The Department and Lofis la lang signed the Kréol-French Bilingual Charter yesterday. Already signed by several communities, this Charter recognizes the right of users to be received in Creole or French in the Department’s services. This signing took place at the Villa du Département in the presence of the press.

Fight against exclusion

Remember that Creole is the mother tongue in Réunion. But French is the official language. Consequently, a Reunionese person can very well go to an administration without their interlocutors being obliged to speak their language. This situation is causing big problems. This was remembered by Axel Gauvin, president of Lofis la lang. “Even today, the elderly bring their grandchildren to explain their case because they do not speak French,” he said in substance. He added that it is common for a Reunionese to not understand what he is accused of in court. Difficult in his conditions to defend himself well.

From now on, this problem will no longer arise in the Department, the competent Réunion community, especially as regards social action. Cyrille Melchior, president of the Department, highlights the awareness work that will be carried out with the agents of the institution. This means adapting the organization so that a Creole-speaking Réunionés can always have in front of him a person who speaks and understands the Réunion’s mother tongue.

Two recognized languages ​​and not opposed

The departmental councilor and bilingual school teacher, Isabelle Erudel recalled the struggle to give life to Creole. “Our island has experienced colonization and assimilation for several centuries, generating negative representations of our culture and our identity, even reaching the denial and devaluation of the people of Réunion. Banned for a long time, repressed, despised and not valued, the Creole has been able to retain, thanks to men and women of struggle, activists, associations such as Lofis, Daniel Honoré, Axel Gauvin, Fabrice Georger, Giovanni Prianon, Laurence Dalleau Gauvin,… all of them. its identity, cultural and universal dimension. “.

The reception is very important, in the school and in the administration, stressed the departmental adviser of the PCR. Like Axel Gauvin, he also stressed the importance of not opposing Creole and French.

Axel Gauvin recalls that this Charter recognizes both languages, and that it is tolerant because it does not impose the exclusive use of one language. “By accepting each other, we can move forward,” he says.

“Creole is an element of academic success that also goes through French,” he added. “This Charter is a big step in language policy.”

Axel Gauvin concludes on the question of the status of the language: “the statute is to recognize the language of the Republic and the mother tongue of the people of Réunion”.

After these speeches, Cyrille Melchior and Axel Gauvin signed the document.

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