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Niger's Segou Art festival dedicated to peace efforts in Mali

Niger

The 2020 edition of the “Ségou’ Art Festival in Niger” has been dedicated to reconciliatory efforts in neighboring Mali.

This year, Organizers of the Festival on the Niger and Ségou Art have decided to dedicate this special edition to national reconciliation in Mali.

Mali has been in a state of anarchy since 2011. And there’s is still no solution to the rebellion in northern Mali despite political and military efforts.

It gives us great hope for reconciliation. And every time I come to play in front of this audience I feel Malian once again.

“Reconciliation, except there’s an act of barbarism, unless there’s a really big divide. For me, Mali is the river, and whoever says river – says the dugout canoe. So I’ve been working on two things: the dugout canoe and the hand-saw. I started shredding that dugout, to recompose afterwards in harmony between the dugout and the hand- saw and the two can harmonize and live together. And the saw represent in this new structure as if they were the angel wings that protect this canoe’‘ said Tunisia artists, Wadi M’hiri.

Saintrick Maytoukou fled his native Congo Republic during the 1997 civil war to settle in Dakar. For this festival, he decided to send a strong message to the people of Mali with his title Bolé Bolé which means “Gather” in Wolof, a local Senegalese dialect.

‘‘I made this song after having lived through the war in Congo. I’ve seen losses in my flesh and in my blood. And so when I came out of there, I wanted to send this message to Africa to never forget that we are one people because we have the same roots and the same African roots make prevents us from tearing each other apart’‘, the Congolese artists said.

The rebellion in the North of Mali makes the famous festival in the Desert of Timbuktu non-existent. The festival on the Niger has been revived again with more commitment for artists in Northern Mali.

‘‘In the dimension of the big festivals, it is the only festival that we have left. so I play here almost every year, and every time I come to play here from Kidal..,
It still gives me hope that one day this rift between the Malian people will heal. Because this festival is the only one in Mali that makes us truly play. Artists from the North, the West and especially Kidal take part. So we really wish this festival a very long life. It gives us great hope for reconciliation. And every time I come to play in front of this audience I feel Malian once again’‘, Malian artist, Ahmed Ag Kaedi said.

Far from being just a playful event, for 16 years, Ségou’Art Festival in Niger has been demonstrating that culture is an excellent bridge between economy and development.

It has remained an incredible platform for exchanges in order to find solutions to issues of national and global interest.

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