Mamadou Coulibaly wanted to help the Samaké2012 campaign in Mali. The one hitch was that he was in New York. So what did he do? He left a job for a month and came to Mali to campaign in the remote villages. The product of his success was experienced in Mandé.
Mandé is a commune in Kati, which is in the Koulikoro Region of south-western Mali. Here the villages are still built in the traditional way, the scenery is beautiful and the Malinké, very welcoming.
As PACP reached Mandé, a large group met them outside the outskirts of the commune and welcomed them in. A group of community leaders, dressed as gunmen, marched ahead and sounded their guns periodically as they entered Mandé. A kora (an ancient Malian musical instrument) was played as the party leaders settled down. Under the shade of baobab trees, a huge crowd of 300 people had gathered from the surrounding 19 villages. As is traditional, dancing celebrated PACP and Yeah’s arrival to the commune. As the community leaders sat down on fur mats, the show began.
Procession of gunmen welcome PACP
Kora players--Such beautiful music
To begin, two men in feather headdresses performed impressive jumps for their appreciative audience. These two men then proceeded, one at a time, to travel around the circle, bent over leaning on two thin sticks, and dance to the beat of the drum, directly in front of the audience, particularly the community and party leaders. In addition, four young girls impressed Team Samaké as they performed army-like squats and jump routines in addition to moving rhythmically with the drums as an older woman chanted. Music forms an essential part of key ceremonies in Mali and is used as a form of welcome for important visitors. With PACP this was no exception. The people of Mandé were excited to meet the man who for weeks they had heard, from Mamadou Coulibaly, nothing but good about.
One of the men in feather headdresses dances in a circle balanced on sticks
PACP is a representation of what Mali deserves and a promise of what Malian people will get if they elect Yeah Samaké. The community leaders were very receptive of the party’s message of hope. Secretary General Fomba spoke of the importance of voting and how the people of Mandé are indeed an essential component of a successful Mali. He proudly spoke of Yeah’s achievements and reiterated that Yeah could indeed fulfill their needs. One of the things Mandé really needs right now is a water source. Currently, villagers will walk to surrounding villages to get clean water. Yeah then spoke. He spoke with passion of the need of the villagers to empower themselves. Through decentralization, it will become possible for villagers to become responsible for the policies that govern them. Yeah then distributed 15 boxes filled with notebooks, pencils, office tools, and other school supplies to the commune, which were received with gratitude. At the end of this grand ceremony, the man behind putting it together, Mamadou Coulibaly spoke. He spoke of the vision that PACP is and the good that Yeah could do if given a chance. PACP awarded him a Samaké2012 button to symbolize the service he has done. He has truly been a great asset to Team Samaké.
The rally ended with a bang! The villagers performed, to the beat of the drum, some more freestyle African dances for Team Samaké.
This commune of Mandé represents a small part of Mali that is hoping for change. There are many villages and communes like Mandé that hope their next President can bring a social and economic change to Mali. Things that we take for granted like running water and electricity are things unknown and wanted in Mali. It is the hope that Yeah can bring the structure and growth that Mali needs. Please support us so that Malians everywhere can get the basic things to survive. Malians are not asking for a hand out, they just need a hand up. Please extend your hand any way you can in terms of financial or verbal support at http://www.samake2012.com and together let us give our fellow Malians a hand up.
This event was also reported by reporter Yaya Samaké in the Malian newspaper 22Septembre: http://www.maliweb.net/news/politique/2012/02/23/article,49891.html