MadaLiving commemorates the Malagasy heroes who lost their lives in the tragic uprising of March 29, 1947 in the fight that would pave the way for independence for the island. On this day 74 years ago, Malagasy nationalists led coordinated attacks against the French colonial army in Moramanga and Manakara, an uprising that would claim between 11,000 - 100,000 Malagasy lives.
The day commemorates the death of more than 11,000 armed militants part of the Democratic Movement for Malagasy Restoration (MDRM) during French imperial occupation of Madagascar which lasted from 1897-1960.
At MadaLiving, we are celebrating this day by remembering all who sacrificed their lives in the cause for our country’s freedom.
The initial conflict arose under Queen Ranavalona III’s reign in the 19th century when she resisted French foreign rule of the island. Both France and Britain were interested in the island due to its strategic location, until France invaded in 1883, leading to the removal of the monarchy and Ranavalona’s forced exile to Reunion, crushed resistance attempts, and colonial rule imposed in 1897.
Independence attempts regained strength during World War II after the Vichy government of France unsuccessfully fought Britain for control of Madagascar. The French’s actions after the war triggered the growing fight for independence leading to the fateful Malagasy Uprising of 1947.
As the French refused to accept calls for independence led by the nationalist political movement, nationalists launched the coordinated attacks on the evening of March 29, 1947 in the cities of Moramanga and Manakara. Though they were mostly armed with spears against the French army, the uprising gained momentum to spread across the island in the next months.
By May 1947, France called in additional troops to subdue the rebellion to regain control of Madagascar. Although the uprising was subdued, the French began taking steps to reform institutions in 1956 that would pave ways for independence for the Malagasy without further escalating to violence.
President Tsiranana (1959-1972) declared March 29 as a public holiday and a day of mourning. In Madagascar, people celebrate this holiday with local officials delivering speeches to remember those who perished in the violent revolution of 1947 by the Malagasy nationalists and lay wreath on memorials dedicated to the martyrs (A Global World). Families will gather and spend quality time together whether at home or at nearby parks to enjoy the long weekend.
Although 74 years have passed, know that time cannot heal the impact that colonization has made on our country and people. For MadaLiving, we give our utmost respect for our people in the perseverance to fight for independence and autonomy, something we will continue to fight for today.
Today, we restrengthen our values and mission in the fight to continue to de-colonize Madagascar in our minds, in the systems that cause oppression for Malagasy in Madagascar and around the world, and demanding the respect that we deserve as a sovereign people and nation.
What does decolonizing our minds look like? It serves as a reminder that we are no longer a colony and do not deserve to continue to be mistreated under the French or foreign powers with vested interests in Madagascar.
A unified Malagasy population has the ultimate goal to show that we are independent because although we achieved independence in 1960, there are still some people manipulated by foreign countries, and the steps to that unification are very important. This unification also means that there are no more "traitors", nationalists who opposed the French regime, a negative connotation given to the nationalists since pre-colonization.
We would love our MadaLiving community to help pave the way towards that brighter future.
This is our history.
We deserve respect and dignity that those before us fought to achieve.
How will you continue the legacy in the fight for Madagascar’s autonomy and progression?