Project Africa is an initiative of the Graduate Program in International Affairs at the New School. Janet’s article was published on the Project Africa blog in December 2010.
Prior to returning to Mali this year I was skeptical about the celebration of fifty years of independence. Independence? What independence? I wondered. Mali often seems more dependent than independent given its economic and geopolitical circumstances. But over the course of the two months I was in Mali this August and September, I was impressed with the significance of this period of reflection.
Malian Independence is celebrated each year on September 22nd, but this year the entire period from September 1st through the end of 2010 has been declared a period of commemoration.
Throughout my stay in Mali, the many interviews and remembrances on television and the debates amongst the general population reflecting on the country’s past, present, and future were very touching and informative. On September 22nd, there was a military parade in Bamako, Mali’s capital, while the next evening, a civilian parade filled a stadium. The most remarkable aspect of these parades, besides the surprising amount of military material on display, was the singing of the Malian national anthem in Malian languages rather than the usual French. … Click here to read the rest of Janet’s article & see a few more photographs.