Women leading the music, agriculture, and military industries in Mali

By Alex Potter | June 09, 2017 | Mali

I've just returned from three weeks in Mali, reporting on women who are leading their communities, bringing together Malians who would otherwise be divided.


There were few others journalists in Mali when I arrived; the country had long faded from the headlines. On the edge of Ramadan, the weather topped out at 105*F daily. Most residents in the dusty capital of Bamako hid in shops, salons, and in colorful alleyways 'til the midday sun had passed, lounging away to the tunes of Amadou and Mariam, Ali Farka Toure, and Omou Sangare.





It rained occasionally, but not as often or early as it should. Residents complained, and crops along the road outside the capital looked listless, save for the bright orange mangoes sold on every corner. Women rode motorcycles, seemingly outnumbering the men, an odd sight for a reporter versed in the norms of the Middle East. 





While there was no visible unrest in Bamako or the other places I travelled in-country -- Segou, Macina, or the many surrounding villages -- Malians consistently said things are "just not the same" as before the war that started in 2012 and has never really ended.




Security forces are gradually returning, but life remains subdued for Malians in the north and south, from all ethnic groups. Despite the setbacks of increased security, a lingering Sahelian drought, and decimated music industry, women are innovating in the realms of music, agriculture, and military.

View All Posts By Alex Potter

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