chapter  13
Between Europe and Africa: Mayotte
ByKARIS MULLER
Pages 16

Mayotte is a French group of islands lying off the Mozambique coast in the Indian Ocean. The two inhabited islands measure 374 km2. The mainly Bantu population of roughly 200,000 has increased five-fold in 35 years; 56 per cent are under the age of 20. Population density has reached over 510 people per km2. Geographically, Mayotte belongs to a four-island group, the Comoros; politically, it is an anomaly in as much as its population voted several times to remain French or to become more so, unlike the other islands, which chose independence in 1974. In 2011, Paris acceded to the Mahorans’ long-standing desire to become an Overseas Region and Department (DROM). France’s four other DROMs, one of which, Réunion, is also in the Indian Ocean, joined the European Community (EC) in 1957 and today belong to the EU’s Outermost Regions (OR) (see Hannibal, Holst, et al., this volume). New DROM Mayotte is expected to transfer from the Overseas Country or Territory (OCT) to the OR category in 2014 (Rakotondrahaso 2009). The Mahorans reject independence, as the departure of France would invite annexation by the nearest island, Anjouan (Nzwani), or the Comoros as a whole, which they regard as a disastrous colonial occupation worse than the protective, wealthy French administration. For this reason, they have long sought the fullest degree of integration possible into France (Martin 2010; Caminade 2003/10).