Although in Madagascar slavery was formally abolished in 1896, a growing number of studies has shown that slaves descendants are still exposed to various forms of social discrimination in many regions of the island. The categories of social inequality that characterized these societies before colonization seem to have survived colonialism and independence, and are often used to describe contemporary inequalities. Based on ethnographic research conducted in the slums of Antananarivo (Manarintsoa-Isotry) and in the city of Ambositra, this article explores how the servile origin - real or supposed - has been reproduced, renegotiated or challenged in a changed political scenario and how it acquired new political meanings. After a brief presentation of the historical role that the slave trade, slavery and abolition played in the processes of political centralization in Madagascar and a discussion of the historical and anthropological trajectories of research on this topic, this article analyzes the different criteria that people use in order to say if someone is a slave descendant and the role that the issue of slavery played in the postindependence political arena.
Keywords: Madagascar, slavery, post-slavery, slaves descendants, discrimination, emancipation