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Mama Africa


Last February, I presented my work to young business leaders. I explained to what extent my work had a cross-cultural and a socio-political dimension. My clients are US-based non-governmental organizations striving to promote safe motherhood and development in African countries. My role as a freelance English to French translator is to help them communicate with Francophone audiences. One of the attendants asked me whether I was planning to visit Africa at some point.

I sometimes feel the need to visit my parents’ homeland. It has been five years since my last trip to Bamako, Mali. So when I get "Mali-sick", I try to overcome the nostalgia by listening to great musicians such as Ali Farka Touré (1939-2006) (I recommend his album "In the Heart of the Moon" for which he won a Grammy award in 2006) or I read the "Epic of Sundiata Keita" (founder of the Mali Empire who ruled circa 1235-1255).

A few weeks ago, I came across a wonderful documentary broadcast by Franco-German cultural channel, Arte, featuring the legendary South African singer Miriam Makeba (1932-2008), outspoken opponent of Apartheid. Mama Africa can definitely be portrayed as the artist who cast light on African music (needless to say that there are various types of musical genres in Africa but I will not talk about that here).

Her musical journey and her political struggle made me travel back to Africa and more specifically to Guinea-Conakry (former French colony) where she lived for many years, I was extremely touched and I felt a sort of bond with that land because part of my mother's maternal family comes from Guinea. As I watched the Guinean landscape, the street markets, the testimonials and listened to the soundtrack I was nostalgically reminded of my last trips to Mali in 2007 and 2010. So yes, it may be time for me to visit the Motherland.


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