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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Political History and Social Commentary in Malian Sogobo Theatre
Author:Arnoldi, Mary Jo
Periodical:Africa Today
Geographic term:Mali
folk drama
Politics and Government
History and Exploration
Architecture and the Arts
Abstract:'Sogob˛' masquerade theatre is a popular entertainment in Mali that had its origins in the Segou region during the precolonial era. This masquerade tradition flourished throughout the colonial period and, today, it remains a vital artistic form in many communities in Segou and beyond. These masquerades express and comment upon relations of power: between the State and its people, between elder and junior men; and between men and women. This paper examines the performance history of one community's masquerades - the Bamana of Kirango. Kirango Bamana first performed masquerades in 1896, a date which roughly coincides with the pacification of the area by the French. The author argues that one important reason why the Bamana in Kirango adopted this masquerade entertainment in the early colonial period was because it provided the community with a viable alternative to their 'keleko nyenanje' warrior dance, which was their primary form of entertainment during the heyday of the Segou State. The author's interpretation of the early masquerades is based on Bamana values and traditions that closely link the ethos of warriors with that of hunters. Over the past fifty years the repertoire has been expanded to include masquerades that speak to current political and social issues. Ref.