During the half-century of the Faith in Mauritius there have been many individuals of great capacity who arose to develop the Bahá’i community in the country.
Among those was Miss Rhein, who was named by Shoghi Effendi as a Knight of Bahá’u’lláh for her service in being the first person to bring the Faith to Mauritius.
Miss Rhein (1903-79), who had arrived in the United States from Germany as a young girl, set out during a global Ten Year Plan to take the teachings of the Bahá’i Faith around the world.
She arrived in Mauritius on 11 November 1953, and on her first expedition to provide necessities for living there met the proprietor of a shop, Mr. Yim Lim, who became the first resident of the country to join the Faith.
Only three years after the 1953 arrival of Ottilie Rhein, the first Bahá’i in Mauritius, there were more than 100 members of the Faith, and three Local Spiritual Assemblies were formed by 1956.
Another prominent Bahá’i was Seewoosumbur Appa (1912-1981). Mr. Appa became a Bahá’i in 1956 and diligently served the Faith until the last day of his life. He was a member of Local and National Spiritual Assemblies and served as a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors. Conscientious, hardworking and orderly, he had a gentle, pure-hearted personality that led him to become known affectionately throughout Mauritius and the African countries he visited as “Papa Appa.” A schoolteacher by profession, he was also an outstanding teacher of the Bahá’i Faith.
Another dynamic Mauritian Bahá’i was Roddy Lutchmaya (1932-1999), a joyous and enthusiastic personality, who held the high-ranking post of Commissioner of Prisons in Mauritius. He served on Local and National Spiritual Assemblies and was also a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors.