Malian Independence Day

September 22nd is a day of celebration in Ouelessebougou


On September 22nd 1960, Mali became Independent from the French colonization. Modibo Keita fought for independence of the French Sudan, currently the Republic of Mali. He became the first president of Mali from 1960 to 1968. As the new president of Mali, Modibo followed a socialist political path and changed Mali economically, ideologically and socially toward to the Soviet Union and China.

The motto of Mali became one people, one goal, and one faith. The flag is a vertical tricolor of green, yellow, and red. The green color stands for the fertility of land; the yellow color symbolizes Mali‘s natural resources or mineral wealth and purity. The red color is a reminder of the blood that was shed to get independence from the French rule.

Later, the national anthem of Mali, which is “Le Mal” in French, was adopted. The lyrics were written by a great Malian writer, Seydou Badian Kouyate, and the music was by a Malian traditional singer and griot (oral historian), Bazoumana Sissoko. The Malian national anthem is based on great themes such as patriotism, national, freedom, dignity, and African unity.

Annual Celebration

On September 22nd of every year, Independence is celebrated in Mali. It is a day for Veterans to remember the anti-colonial struggle — the recent past riddled with humiliation and ignominy. Of course, they certainly remember this historic moment when the French left Sudan (Mali) and return to France. Veterans can still remember President Modibo Keita launching the flag of Mali again in front of colonial world and declared Malian independence.

In each village or town, parades are held with wonderful cultural, sports and social events. During these parades, women wear multi-color traditional clothes, often with their children on their backs. They join the parade while dancing and singing songs from the local, national, and international singers. These songs are found again a few months later on radio stations and TVs. What a cultural richness! At the sound of the drums, men draped with multi-colored boubous clothes, do pirouettes in celebration. This is the janjo, the dance of victory, the victory over colonialism.

The military also parades before the people to show their loyalty and dedication. Everywhere local authorities deliver speeches and remember people during the independence events. It is also an opportunity for the Malian’s military to show their technological and technical prowess to the world, particularly the people of Mali that they are ready for national defense and their people. It is a unique moment, of gathering, of union especially of memory.  

Traditions in Ouelessebougou

The people of Ouelessebougou love the celebration of Mali independence. It is the best celebration in the year. The forty-four villages of Ouelessebougou municipality come to the big Ouelessebougou stadium to celebrate. It is the only event where 44 village representatives get together to sing and dance.

From the morning to afternoon, the hunters of 44 villages and their players come together in Ouelessebougou to sing, dance, and show their black magic powers. The chimpanzee dancers of Tamala show their great dance performances with their traditional singer with her golden voice, Bozo Kone. After Bozo Kone’s group, women’s groups come with their drummers and singers with signs in their hands that state the name of their group. Also, the representatives of different ethnic groups and professions proudly show off their skills in the stadium until 2 pm. At 4 pm, the young men play soccer to end up the independence celebration. The

Ouelessebougou is an incredible diverse area for those who want to see real Africa with amazing traditions and beliefs. Malian independence celebration is the best opportunity to discover their cultures, histories, and people.