Second theatre tour against slavery, for living together and for peace in Kita, by Aline Desdevises, October 2021

After a first theatrical tour last August in the regions of Kayes and Nioro, the second part of the tour against slavery, for living together and for peace began on Friday 12 November 2021 in the Kita region. On arrival in Kita, the Donkosira team and the theatre group visited the regional authorities and supervised the setting up of the activity.

In the evening, the activity began with words of welcome from the Mayor’s representative, Ms Koné Kandia Cissé, and a presentation by Donkosira of the activity and the objectives of the EMiFo research-action programme. Mr. Diakité Broulaye, representative of the Governor of Kita, then welcomed the initiative and assured the full availability of the region in this struggle. The stage was then left to the artists.

At the end of the sketch, the audience was given the floor. All of them strongly condemned slavery and asked that this awareness-raising activity be continued in order to reach different localities and to achieve the complete abolition of descent-based slavery. Mr Diakité Broulaye denounced the inhuman acts resulting from descent-based slavery and reaffirmed the commitment of the Kita region. The president of the High Islamic Council of Kita, Mr Keita Moussa, emphasised that this phenomenon concerns us all, whatever our religious affiliation, and welcomed the initiative of this theatrical tour, which he likened to an ancestral method for putting an end to the most serious conflicts.

On the morning of 13 November, the team left for Mambiri; on arrival, they went to greet the village chief. The activity began at around 10am with a performance by local artist Salif Camara, followed by words of welcome from the representative of the displaced, Mr Coulibaly Mamadou, and speeches by Donkosira and the Mayor of the Souranza commune, Mr Coulibaly Monsiré. The latter welcomed the initiative and declared himself satisfied with the evolution of the situation and confident of a happy outcome.

After the performance, Garan Cissoko (village councillor) said that the state had failed in its role of protecting all its citizens. He invited people to imitate the example of Mambiri, which is emblematic of living together in peace and cohesion. Mr Sidibé Sounkoutou, himself a displaced person, called for restraint and forgiveness in order to find a peaceful solution to the problem. Mr Diakité Moussa, son of the village chief and councillor, affirmed that there is no and will be no slavery in Mambiri, and asked the authorities to play their part in the fight against slavery. Mr. Nomoko Cheickna asked why the perpetrators of slavery have still not been punished, and considered that these sensitisations are aimed at numbing people’s conscience instead of taking real action to put an end to the practice. He also said that the authorities were not working at all on the issue. Mr. Touré Makan recounted the abuses of which he and his family were victims in full view of the authorities without the perpetrators being worried. He complained about the inaction of the authorities, but affirmed that they have no intention of going back to the past and that they especially need cultivable land to feed their families in Mambiri. Ms. Coulibaly Founemoussou also spoke about the hell they lived through in Secoura, including humiliation, rape, and other inhuman and degrading treatment. She ended by praising the village of Mambiri and its mayor for accepting them without creating differences between them. Mr. Touré Toukaye welcomed EMiFo’s initiative and assured the displaced that the situation would improve, but stressed that if the authorities were really committed, the lines would move faster. However, he called for restraint and patience from the displaced, assuring them of a successful outcome. The Mayor also reassured the audience that the inhabitants of Kaarta are beginning to express regret about the situation: it seems that mentalities are starting to change. He affirmed that the authorities are working hard, but that the fight cannot be completed in a few days, that it is a long-term struggle. He reaffirmed his confidence in the displaced people, in the actions of the talks and believes in a satisfactory and peaceful outcome.

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