While strolling the brightly colored streets of cité Mangalkhan, an inner-city of Floréal, it is hard to imagine that a few months ago, the walls were dull and barren.It is Sofap that initiated the revitalization effort as part of their ambitious project, Colour for Change. Below, the story of their success.
Linite dan nous site, To bann zenfan kontan twa Mangalkhan… The cité’s walls are emblazoned with pleas for peace and messages filled with hope. And in the midst of all the colour, a pulsating town.
It was in October 2017 that the now-famous suburb was splashed with colours, an act carried out by Sofap, a local paint manufacturer. The company, which pushes for localism, is involved in several smaller-scale projects that advocate for Mauritian culture and the environment. As a way to give back to all Mauritians, Sofap initiated Colour for Change, a long-term project that takes after the community art projects found in Brazil’s favelas and in Buenos Aires, where art acts as an antidote to hardship, as a catalyst for social change. Sofap joined forces with Twögether, a communications agency, to revitalize the blighted neighbourhood.
Cité Mangalkhan was the chosen one. With the help of various local organisations and even the suburb’s most famous resident—the Mauritian athlete Stéphane Buckland—, Twögether and Sofap planned loads of activities during the revamping of the area. The neighbourhood was abuzz with excitement: children, grown-ups, and artists hastened to cover the walls with vibrant hues in a convivial, communal atmosphere. Colour for Change is not just a matter of aesthetics, but a collaborative enterprise that fosters strong ties among the inhabitants of Mangalkhan, and deeply affects all those who contributed to making it happen.
The project’s success inspired Sofap to further engage in community-based endeavours. The company that partook in the first three editions of the Porlwi festival aspires to build an art school (a pilot project was launched in 2017) and why not, mobilise our community for the second edition of Colour for Change. Our island is facing a bright future it seems!