Mali Culture

Mali Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Mali

According to COMMIT4FITNESS.COM, Mali is a country located in Africa. The spread of daily newspapers in Mali is very small (1 newspaper ex. Per 1,000 residents, 2000). In Mali there are two smaller newspapers, of which the state-owned L’Essor – La Voix du Peuple (founded in 1949) is the largest (edition: 3,500 copies). The press was previously completely state-controlled, but control was relaxed in the early 1990s and new, smaller newspapers were established.

State Office of Radio Diffusion-Télévision Malienne (ORTM), founded in 1957, broadcasts radio on, among other things. French, English, bamboo, fulani and sarakole; Television has been broadcast since 1983. In 1992, private radio and TV were allowed, and in the mid-1990s there were fifteen private radio stations. There are 56 radio and 14 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000), but TVs are often received on government-set public television screens.


According to ALLUNITCONVERTERS, Mali’s culture is a blend of Arab North Africa and Black West Africa. There is a rich craftsmanship, both in metal and wood. The Dogon people’s rocky villages in the Bandiagar mountains in the southeast are famous. Also known are the Malian houses and buildings, which are made of sun-dried clay.

In Timbuktu, thousands of manuscripts from the 13th and 13th centuries have been preserved, many of which have been written in African languages ​​with Arabic letters.

The old cities of Timbuktu and Djenné as well as the Dogon people’s area in Bandiagara have been classified by the UN agency Unesco as a World Heritage Site. During the 2012 uprising, several mausoleums with the remains of Muslim saints were destroyed and thousands of unique documents were destroyed.

The musical tradition is based on the jali song dating back to the 13th century. Typical instruments are the string instrument chorus and various drums. When West Africa’s traditional music of the 1960s was mixed with modern, Western-influenced music, a whole new African pop emerged to conquer the world, not least performed by Malian singers Salif Keita, Mory Kanté and Oumou Sangaré and guitarist Ali Farka Touré.

Filmmakers Souleymane Cissé and Adama Drabo are among the more notable African directors. In the city of Essouk in the north, a festival has been held since 2001 on the culture of the Tuaregs.



UN: “massacres in Mopti”

December 18

In a UN investigation, traditional hunter-gatherer hunters are accused of carrying out massacres in central Mali in June 2018. At least 24 Fulani livestock shooters must have been killed when the dogon hunters attacked a village in the Mopti region three days in a row and killed the victims. The investigation was done by the UN Mission in Mali (Minusma). Nomadizing fulani often end up in conflict with the resident dogas and bamboo area, as fulani animals graze on other peoples’ lands. Fulani is also accused of conspiring with Islamists. UNHCR reported in July that at least 289 civilians have been killed in similar clashes since the beginning of the year. The majority of cases occur in the Mopti region, where state power has limited influence.

Disarmament program

1 December

The government presents a program called “Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration”, which allows rebels to hand in their weapons to the authorities before January 31 without risking punishment.


Two UN soldiers are killed in attacks

October 27th

Two UN Burkina Faso soldiers are killed and several others injured when the UN base in Ber in the Timbuktu region is attacked from multiple directions with machine guns, rocket guns and other weapons. The same day, UN soldiers are also injured in an attack in Konna near Mopti in the middle of the country, the UN mission Minusma reports.

The choice is pushed forward

15 October

At the request of the National Assembly, the Constitutional Court extends the mandate of incumbent MPs by six months and postpones the election from November 25, 2018 to May 2019. The cause is stated to be “force majeure” (approximately unexpected or unpredictable events). No other details are published.


G5 Sahel headquarters moved

September 28

The regional security organization G5 Sahel’s headquarters in the city of Sevare in central Mali has been relocated to the capital Bamako. The decision came after two soldiers and one civilian were killed in a suicide attack in Sevare (see June 2018). Malian jihadist group Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, with ties to al-Qaeda, took on the deed. In July, the EU offered to pay for the construction of a new G5 Sahel headquarters. G5 Sahel was formed in 2014 by Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Mauritania. The organization established a regional force in 2017 (see Foreign Policy and Defense).

Parliamentary elections in November

September 13

The government announces that parliamentary elections will be held on November 25, with a second round on December 16 in case no candidate gets his own majority in the first round. Previously, the election had been announced until October, but the registration of candidates was delayed at the time so the government delayed the election for a month.

Prime Minister Maïga remains

September 4th

President Keïta begins his second term in office. In accordance with the constitution, Prime Minister Maïga resigns but resigns as head of government immediately.


Jihadist leader killed

August 27th

A leading figure in the Islamic State of Greater Sahara (ISGS) is killed in a French air strike in northeastern Mali, according to French military. In addition to the ISGS leader and his bodyguard, two other people were also killed at the scene.

The Constitutional Court finds no fraud

20th of August

The Constitutional Court, just as after the first round of elections, states that the election results reported stand. The Court notes that incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta has been re-elected and thus rejects opponent Soumaïla Cissé’s accusations of cheating. Cissé claims he got 52 percent of the vote and has urged the people to “rise” and not accept “dictatorship fraud.” However, the Court finds no support for his charges. Observers from the EU and AU have also stated that the election was conducted without major incidents.

President Keïta is re-elected

12th of August

President Keïta wins the second and decisive round of the presidential election with just over 67 percent of the vote. Challenger Cissé gets almost 33 percent. Despite security being strengthened before Election Day, at least one election worker is killed and around 500 polling stations may close, according to authorities, because of threats from militant Islamists. Keïta’s victory is partly due to Cissé’s failure to rally the opposition and several of the other candidates from the first round chose to support the president.

Charges of summary executions

9th of August

In a report to the UN Security Council, security forces are accused of summarily executing dozens of people in connection with Islamist militia efforts, since several mass graves were found between February and July. The UN report describes a “worrying pattern” in which civilians are exposed to human rights violations in connection with terrorist attacks. Three occasions are mentioned, including a strike in May against a livestock market in Mopti when twelve civilians were killed. The army first reported that it was “terrorists” who were killed in combat, but after protests from relatives, the government has admitted that the soldiers have been guilty of murder. In total, more than 80 cases of suspected summary executions have been discovered.

Court decides election results

August 8th

The Constitutional Court rejects formal complaints that have been received against the first election and thus the result is fixed. Both Cissé and the third and four elections, Diallo and Diarra, had appealed to the Constitutional Court, claiming that voting rights existed, as well as violations of the electoral law and other irregularities. Eighteen of the total 24 presidential candidates consider cheating to have occurred and have jointly demanded that a minister resign.


Nothing crucial in the first round of the presidential election

July 29

As expected, President Keïta and Soumaïla Cissé will be in first and second place in the first round of the presidential election and move on to the second, held on August 12. The election is being held even though the government later states that close to 900 polling stations could never be opened, due to unrest, and close to a quarter of a million people could therefore not vote. Violence is reported to occur in close to one fifth of the polling stations. According to EU observers, the choice of irregularities is characterized by, among other things, voting cards must have been distributed in a regular manner. African Unionfinds, however, the circumstances “acceptable” and AU calls on Mali’s politicians to approve the result. The final results presented after just over a week show that Keïta received just under 42 percent of the votes and Cissé 18 percent, while Diallo received just under 8 percent and Modibo Diarra just over 7 percent.

Bloody clash between people groups

July 25

At least 17 people are reported to have been killed in a new outbreak of violence in central Mali. Nomadizing fulani often end up in conflict with the resident dogas and bamboo area, as fulani animals graze on other peoples’ lands. Fulani is also accused of conspiring with Islamists. UNHCR reported earlier this month that at least 289 civilians have been killed in similar clashes since the start of the year. The majority of cases occur in the Mopti region, where state power has limited influence.

Several killed after jihadist attacks

23 July

Islamic terrorists kill one government soldier and injure another in an ambush in the Segou region. Subsequently, government troops are said to have responded by killing eleven jihadists, according to government sources. Violence has also occurred a few days earlier at the border with Niger. According to government-loyal Tuareg groups, “armed men” then murdered about 20 people in a village.

24 candidates may stand in the presidential election

July 4th

The Constitutional Court approves 24 candidates for the July 29 presidential election, while six candidates are rejected. Three politicians who have previously been announced may stand in line. This includes former Prime Minister Cheick Mohamed Abdoulaye Souad (usually called Modibo Diarra) and two former ministers. A religious leader, Harouna Sankara, is also accepted as a candidate. The favorites include besides incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta opposition Soumaïla Cissé.


Several dead in attacks in Mali

June 28

Three people are killed on June 28 in a suicide attack against the regional force G5 Sahel’s headquarters in the city of Sevare in the middle of the country. Two soldiers from the G5 Sahel force and one civilian are said to have been killed. A Malian group affiliated with al-Qaeda, Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, takes on the deed. The next day, four Malian soldiers perish as they drive on a landmine in the Mopti region in the middle part of the country. Another day later four civilians are killed and 20 people are injured, including four French soldiers, in an ambush near the city of Gao in northern Mali (information on the number of victims, however, varies between sources). Nusrat al-Islam wal The Muslims say they are behind this deed too. The attacks in Mali and one in Niger mean that security issues are high on the agenda at the AU summit in neighboring Mauritania. Mauritanian President Mohammed Ould Abdelaziz calls for more international support for the region and accuses the UN of having “closed the door”.

Violent during protests against the government

June 2

Clashes are taking place in connection with protests against the government, which is being carried out in several parts of the country, despite being banned. According to the opposition, some 30 people may be taken to hospitals since security forces opened fire on protesters in Bamako, but the government denies that information. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who visited Mali a few days earlier, calls for calm. Protest actions and demonstrations are banned because of the state of emergency that has largely prevailed since the attack on a hotel in Bamako in 2015.


President Keïta is up for re-election

May 28

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is running for election in July, according to a Twitter message from his office. The message from the 73-year-old head of state was expected. The election is to be held despite the situation being strained with violence, even in the middle parts of the country.

Jihadist attacks against civilians in the north

May 2

Extremist Islamists are accused of several massacres of civilians in the north, near the border with Mali. In the recent past, 17 people were killed, many of them elderly, who were burned to death in their homes. On April 26 and 27, a total of 43 people, including many women and children, were killed in two attacks. The perpetrators belong to the same terrorist group, the government-backed group Gatia and the Azawad Rescue Movement (MSA) stated in a joint statement. MSA consists of former members of MNLA, HCUA and MAA. The attacks are reported to be revenge campaigns for attacks against jihadists who have been behind Tuareg armed groups in recent weeks. According to Minusma, there are reports that at least 95 people have been summarily executed by Tuareg groups.


Presidential elections in July

April 28

The government confirms that presidential elections will be held on July 29, with a possible second round on August 12. Despite the planned regional elections, the decision will be postponed again, from April to the end of the year. President Keïta has not announced whether he will run for re-election, but a dozen others have said they are planning to run for office.

Attack on UN base

April 14

A UN soldier and around 15 attackers are killed in connection with an attack on one of Minusma’s bases in Timbuktu. The attackers, suspected Islamists, were partially dressed as peacekeepers, creating disarray. On the base are soldiers from a wide range of countries participating in the operation.

UN soldiers killed

April 6

A Nigerian UN soldier is shot dead in northern Mali, the day after two Chadian UN soldiers were killed in a raid on a base in the northeastern part of the country. Since the establishment of the UN force Minusma in Mali in 2013, 150 soldiers have been killed in attacks, making the operation one of the deadliest in UN history.

Bloody clash at the border

April 1st

Thirty Islamist rebels are killed in a battle with French and Malian soldiers near the Niger border, the French military said. Several Malian soldiers must also have been killed, but no French.


Suspected jihadist handed to ICC

March 31st

A malaria is handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which charged the man with war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with the destruction of Timbuktu 2012-2013. The man, Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud, is said to have been the police chief of the Islamist group Ansar al-Din. He is suspected of torture, rape, sexual slavery and forced marriage. This is the second time an extremist Islamist has been prosecuted by the ICC (see September 27, 2016).

Free Trade Agreement in Africa

21 March

Mali is one of 44 Member States of the African Union (AU) that signs an agreement to set up an African Free Trade Area, AFCFTA.


Soldiers killed in jihadist attack

January 27

Fourteen soldiers are said to have been killed and 18 injured in an attack on a military camp in Soumpi in the Timbuktu region. The attackers are said to be militant Islamists. The military regains control of the camp and two of the perpetrators are killed.

Many civilian victims in road explosion

January 25

At least 26 civilians, including several children, die when a vehicle drives on a land mine in Boni in central Mali. President Keïta cancels a planned trip to an AU summit in Ethiopia and moves to the site after the explosion.

Possible amnesty for rebels

January 1st

A “national consensus” law is to be adopted and can be used to grant amnesty to rebels who took part in the 2012 uprising, says President Keïta in a New Year’s speech. The law is to be based on the reconciliation treaty presented (see June 2017). The amnesty will apply to rebels who have not been guilty of violent crimes and give those who are included a chance to be reintegrated into society, it says.

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