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History at the Service of an Identity Construction: Singing the Bwa Revolt of 1915-16 Today

Abstract : Those who define themselves as Bwa live in Mali as marginalized, because they live in a remote, underdeveloped region, speak a Gur family language very different from the dominant Bambara, are partly converted to Christianity in this predominantly Muslim country, and feel closer to Burkina Faso where most of the Bwa or Bwaba live, the territory they inhabit having been arbitrarily separated in two by the border. Their pride is that they were behind a revolt against the colonizer in 1915-16, which lasted nine months and mobilized thousands of fighters, sowing doubt in the ranks of the French military. To prepare the centenary of this little-known historical event, a recital recounting the different episodes of this war of resistance was presented by griots on the occasion of an associative cultural event. The performance, consisting of an introductory musical part of 31 minutes and the recital itself, lasting a little more than 24 minutes, draws a parallel between the struggle of the elders against the colonizer who imposed forced labour on the peasants in inhuman conditions and the current struggles that their descendants have to wage in order to no longer be the "outcasts" of a State that does not care about them. The analysis of this recital, of the lyrics spoken as well as the musical rhythms chosen, invites us to question this construction of identity as a marginalized but heroic population, and to evaluate from this example the impact that the verbal arts can have on cultural identities and their imaginations.
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Contributor : Cécile Leguy Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, July 9, 2021 - 10:47:10 AM
Last modification on : Friday, March 25, 2022 - 4:06:19 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-03282405, version 1



Cécile Leguy. History at the Service of an Identity Construction: Singing the Bwa Revolt of 1915-16 Today. 13th ISOLA Conference Theme: Transitions, Transformations and Translocations in African Oral Traditions and (Re) Imagined Boundaries, DR. Rose Opondo, Moi University, Jul 2021, Nairobi, Kenya. ⟨halshs-03282405⟩



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