Ivory Coast: the Hampâté Bâ foundation commemorates the 30th anniversary of the death of the "son of the century"

Audio 02:28

Portrait of the Malian writer Amadou Hampâté Bâ (1901-1991) taken in Paris, on April 12, 1975, during the presentation of the Black Africa Literary Prize, for his book “The Strange Destiny of Wangrin”.

He was Ambassador of Mali to Côte d'Ivoire from 1962 to 1966. © AFP

By: François Hume-Ferkatadji Follow

6 mins

30 years ago, on May 15, 1991, the famous Malian writer Amadou Hampâté Bâ, author of

Amkoullel, the Fulani child

, died in Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire.

The foundation that bears his name organizes on this occasion meetings and debates on the subject of his work and his memory.

She has also embarked on a vast project to digitize conference notes, correspondence and various writings by Amadou Hampâté Bâ.

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From our correspondent in Abidjan,

In the gardens of the Hampâté Bâ foundation, one of the daughters of the Fulani poet, Roukiatou Hampâté Bâ, still vibrates in front of the works of her father, extracts of which have been installed on large wooden panels.

"

 We can say that he was the pioneer in producing African history by an African, at least in French-speaking Africa

 ," she said.

He who defined himself as an ethnologist, sociologist, " 

graduate without parchment from the School of illiterate scholars

 ", mystical theorist or even traditionalist storyteller, was above all considered as the first defender of oral tradition, the writer of orality. 

► Also to listen: Amadou Hampâté Bâ: the standard bearer of tradition

" 

He says that when he writes, it is orality lying on paper,

 " explains Roukiatou Hampâté Bâ.

“ 

He reflexively started recording everything he could hear.

And then he realized that if he didn't do that, it would one day be missing in the pages of human history.

So he decided to devote his life to collecting.

Collect to transmit, for a better knowledge of these African values

 ”, continues her daughter. 

He was interested in all the disciplines of human knowledge 

"

Félix Houphouët Boigny's personal friend had built up a library of several hundred books, which he himself classified according to the rules of the profession.

Blaise Camara gave him a taste for this method, he is today the guardian of this collection.

“ 

It's in this library.

There are all disciplines.

As well in philosophy, as in mathematics, in geology, in astronomy.

He was interested in all the disciplines of human knowledge

 ”, remembers Blaise Camara.

Make all of Amadou Hampâté Bâ's writings available

Today, the foundation has set itself the objective of digitizing and making available all the writings of the master, who held various conferences on African cultures and peoples and transcribed a large number of initiatory tales from vernacular languages. into French.

More than 75 years of research on paper, on very fragile supports.

► Also to listen: The fabulous destiny of Amadou Hampaté Bâ

“ 

We have an important heritage which is nowhere recorded and it is a part of the history of Africa.

Hampâté Bâ collected them for us: ethnographic, literary, philosophical documents.

At the moment, approximately

3,000 documents have been

scanned,

corresponding to approximately 30,000 pages.

It is not the tenth of what has to be safeguarded as a heritage

 , ”describes Roukiatou Hampâté Bâ.

For the anniversary of his death, a webinar will be organized on May 15 with the participation of the greatest specialists in his work and emblematic figures from the world of culture and science: the Cameroonian philosopher Achille Mbembe, the Guinean writer Tierno Monénembo or the Malian astrophysicist Cheick Modibo Diarra.

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