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Segou, Festival sur le Niger. First day. 2nd of Feb.

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Travel Blog

contains Festival/Fiesta/Art photography.

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo.

"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it, to tell the tale." Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel García Márquez.

"They never taught wandering in any school I attended. ... they never taught the art of writing a book, either. It's all so mysterious."
"Wandering is an art in itself. Wandering and writing don't mix"
"Writing demands commitment and if one thing your wanderer is allergic to is that very quality of commitment, for once one is committed he runs that very risk of failure ..." Wanderer - Sterling Hayden. > journey > africa > mali > 20060202-segou-more

Forum/Conference: The multiple functions of the Niger river.

Parallel to the cultural/artistic festivities, a conference/forum.

Segou's soul is quite clearly the river. The Niger River and its resources feed millions of Malians and Africans. The Niger river though is on the list of disappearing rivers. Nothing could be nearer than making the Niger River the topic of the 2006 Forum.

The impressive thing is that it springs just 300km off the Atlantic coast in region of High Guinea and then runs more the 4,000km to reach the very same ocean. Already when leaving Guinea it flows at an altitude off 350m and still has nearly 4,000km to go (wiki).

What can I say. I like their intellectual, contemporary approach of raising awareness of important issues that are all too often neglected elsewhere in Africa. A very interesting read, the 2006 Forum.

The podium discussion
Cissé, N'Diaye Ba, Governor of Segou, Daffé, Lisbeth.
Director of Festival Mamou Daffe talking to the Governor of the Segou region.
Daffé talking to Gouvernor of Segou.
Director of Festival Mamou Daffe.
Daffé giving his speach.
Youssouf Tata Cisse.
Youssouf Tata Cissé, explains his views.
Youssouf Tata Cisse.
Respected person, served his country and Africa in numerous
Youssouf Tata Cisse.
roles, adviser and researcher.

A conference, a meeting place.

The idea is to bring the important people to Segou. Governors, three Malian ministers and other Malian and international officials, representatives, ambassadors attend at different times the festival. Nothing better then start with a conference.

I don't know many of the people I have taken pictures of. Where I have names I tag the pictures.

But a conference is to meet, shake hands, exchange views, discuss local or international matters or business, show your face, or simply have a chat and a laugh.

Daffe welcoming..
Mamou Daffé welcoming people.
Meeting people.
Meeting people.

Shake hands.
Shake hands.
Ministre of Craft and Tourisme N'Diaye Ba.
Minister greets important old man.
Ministre of Craft and Tourisme N'Diaye Ba moves on.
N'Diaye Ba moves on.

She has a good laugh.
She has a good laugh.
Women in red in the audience.
Interested audience.
Man and Woman in the audience.
Listening to the presentations.

Segou, ville touristique sans plastique.
Touristy town without plastic.

Would we have expected this here? Is it jute? Anyway it is not plastic. Plastic bags, disposed off just about everywhere are just one big ugly issue in Africa. Tourists usually are amused by the sight of goats eating plastic bags, but such is the situation. Addressing issues of the environment is a main point of the festival.

BTW, the theme of next year's forum will be "Young people and Employment".

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Evening under the Balanzan

Malika, a beer and Hasna.
Malika, a beer and Hasna.

A conference in the morning, relaxing in the afternoon, the tale of Caanaba is being told at the Delta Hotel in the evening.

It is the story of two boys, twins from the Fulani (an ethnic nomadic group found all over the Sahel), one a human being, the other a snake with a human face, Caanaba. After some squabble involving his brother's wife Caanaba leaves with his oxen for the interior delta of the Niger river. "Wherever I go will be enough to graze and drink" he says when he leaves.

Caanaba crosses the river with all his oxen to reach the pastures of the other bank. Still today this river crossing is of great symbolism for the Fulani people (just as in the Caanaba tale). The story is one of the big legends for all of Segou, the river Niger, the success of rearing animals and prosperity in Mali in general.

It is being told near a huge lightening fire and accompanied by traditional dance and music. Legends are told under the Balanzan which is a tree of the Segou region. I could not establish whether we actually sat under a Balanzan.

Girl dancer turnes around her head.
She is looking where her baby is.
Close up face (cropped) from dancer.
... leaves, feeds the baby and returns.
Dance around the fire.
Trying to fly

The group, the story unfolds.
Brightened by the fire.
Dance around the fire.
Dance around the fire.
Dance around the fire.
Some spectacle,
And we love it.
Story/Tale teller.
Story teller.
A man
Singer. > journey > africa > mali > 20060202-segou-more

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