In Mali, Salif Keïta's concert pays homage to a murdered albino girl


Malian singer Salif Keita (center) and members of his foundation during a concert to denounce ritual killings of albinos in Africa, November 17, 2018 in Fana, Mali | AFP | MICHELE CATTANI

African song legend Salif Keïta presented his new album Saturday in Fana, a small town in Mali where a five-year-old albino girl was murdered in May during a tribute concert also aimed at denouncing the albino ritual murders in Africa.

In a crowded football stadium, an event never seen in this locality of about 20,000 inhabitants, located 120 km from Bamako, the 69-year-old musician, himself a native of albinism, was surrounded by Senegalese Ismael Lô, Georgian albino artist Bera, Malian comedian Yaro, Malian singer Safi Diabaté and Senegalese singer Maah Koudia Keït, also an activist for the albino people.

On May 13, Ramata Diarra, a five-year-old woman, was kidnapped in the middle of the night by armed men while she slept in the courtyard of the family compound. His decapitated body was found a few hours later next to a mosque. Associations had denounced a "ritual crime" in the run-up to the presidential election.

"Why take the life of an innocent five-year-old girl?" Why do we attack albinos? We are like all other humans, we do not want to see them in Mali anymore. because now we will not be quiet, "said Salif Keïta on the stage.

Each year, dozens of albinos are victims in Africa of attacks, deaths and amputees of their members, which are used for rituals that are supposed to bring wealth and luck.

"Today, everyone knows that a five-year-old girl was murdered in Fana because she is an albino. The world has mobilized for the cause of my daughter, that this world does not give up so that the albinos can live in peace anywhere in the world" , the mother of the girl, Diarra Awa Toure, told AFP on the fringes of the concert.

"At first I felt alone, but with this great concert and the convictions made in front of the world, I do not feel alone anymore," he added.

– & # 39; Last album & # 39; –

In front of the stage, Ousmane Wele Diallo, dressed all in white, said that he came from Bamako with his wife and children to "follow the concert and support our cause by paying tribute to Ramata Diarra." "I do not like when there are many lights, especially the giant lamps of the scene, but today accepted for our cause," adds the father of the family, who like many albinos suffers from vision problems.

"We are here so that what happened in Ramata will never happen again, and this must be the struggle of all of us, never again in Fana, Mali, Africa and the world," he said of the scene. Ismael Lo. "No one should sacrifice an albino for his power, no one should sell the hair or organs of an albino," Safi Diabate said. "I am Fana, I am Ramata, I am all victims of the ignominy of some thirsty for power," added the Malian Karim Diallo.

While the night is well advanced, Salif Keïta takes the stage for a 45-minute show, during which he defends his album "The other white", his last one according to him, to which he appealed to former accomplices like Ivorian Alpha Blondy or Benoît Angélique Kidjo, while multiplying winks for the younger generation.

"I wanted to say goodbye to all my fans, because if I'm still making music here and there, I will not have time to make an album anymore," he said. AFP, considering having "a right to rest" after 50 years of his career.


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