9914
5 mins read

Mandela had an Ethiopian passport under the name David Motsomayi. Where did he go?

We don’t live in a world of heroes, but at rare moments we celebrate those who emerge from the shadows to push them further back. I don’t know if Nelson Mandela had heroes. He must have done. We all know he had comrades, both within the ANC and without. When he visited Mali in 1996, he wanted to see some of those foreign comrades, men who had helped him in the early 1960s before they were all—guest and hosts alike—imprisoned. When, in 1962, he had come to Bamako before his trial at Rivonia and his imprisonment, the struggle in South Africa was accelerating. When he returned thirty-four years later, he was a sitting president. Some Malians remember with pride that pair of visits, separated by decades, one by a young freedom fighter, another by an elder sage.

5393
11 mins read

Meeting Sembène: An Interview with Abderrahmane Sissako

Abderrahmane Sissako is a Mauritanian-born, Mali-raised filmmaker who completed cinematic training at Moscow’s Federal State Film Institute during the 1980s. The program concluded with his first film, the 23-minute short…..

1797
8 mins read

Welcome to Mali

Bamako doesn’t feel like the capital of a country at war. True, people are stressed, and the pace of life might have slowed. The city’s building frenzy has subsided. Ça…..

2682
11 mins read

France in Mali: the End of the Fairytale

Whew, Mali. French air raids against Islamist positions in Mali began Thursday night, and the dust hasn’t settled yet. The news is changing fast, but, three things emerge from the…..

1103
4 mins read

Foreign correspondents and false notes

Two things I’ve learned about the popular press in the last few months: you don’t get to pick your own headline, and you don’t want anyone thinking that the inevitable…..

2 mins read

Mali–don’t talk about somebody’s mama

Monday evening, and it’s hard to tell who’s shooting up Bamako, or why. But someone cracks on Twitter “béé b’i ba bolo.” It’s one thing to stage a counter-coup or…..