Why are these questions important even now?
When growing up under the Apartheid regime, personal and group identity were paramount because this overpoweringly discriminatory political system determined the everyday life chances that an individual and a family experienced or endured. The particular agony for Coloured or mixed race folk was that you practically had no enduring past to give you a sense of your personal worth. You were the construct of a bureaucracy. Neither did you have a ‘future’ to go towards while living in an empty ‘present’. It is from this basis of personal, psychological and historic dislocation that I felt compelled to find out who my grandparents were in order to find out more definitively who I was, am and could be now.
What other outcomes are there to this search for Gustave?
The family narrative in this study is intended for all the descendants of Gustave and Eloise (nee Le Bon) Fabre who emigrated from Mauritius in the late 19th century to start a new life in Natal colony now KwaZulu Natal (KZN). It is for persons interested in the general fate of the Mauritian emigrants who went to South Africa in the same period in search of work and a new life only to find that the Creole amongst them were to be overtly and disparagingly discriminated against before and after Apartheid. It is to present the case that the people once allocated a common identity of Coloured in South Africa were in reality families and individuals being indiscriminately cut off from their authentic histories and cultures.
The final discovery of this search was that the descendants of Gustave Fabre of Beau Vallon came to realise that their past was transformed, their present was enriched and their future redefined.