Amadou Hampâté Bâ

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Amadou Hampâté Bâ
Amadou Hampâté Bâ.jpg
Born 1900/1901
Died 1991

Amadou Hampâté Bâ (1900/1901 – 1991) was a Malian writer and ethnologist.

Biography[edit]

Amadou Hampâté Bâ was born to an aristocratic Fula family in Bandiagara, the largest city in Dogon territory and the capital of the precolonial Masina Empire. At the time of his birth, the area was known as French Sudan as part of colonial French West Africa, which was formally established a few years before his birth. After his father's death, he was adopted by his mother's second husband, Tidjani Amadou Ali Thiam of the Toucouleur ethnic group. He first attended the Qur'anic school run by Tierno Bokar, a dignitary of the Tijaniyyah brotherhood, then transferred to a French school at Bandiagara, then to one at Djenné. In 1915, he ran away from school and rejoined his mother at Kati, where he resumed his studies.

In 1921, he turned down entry into the école normale in Gorée. As a punishment, the governor appointed him to Ouagadougou with the role he later described as that of "an essentially precarious and revocable temporary writer". From 1922 to 1932, he held several posts in the colonial administration in Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso, and from 1932 to 1942 in Bamako. In 1933, he took six months' leave to visit Tierno Bokar, his spiritual leader. (See also:Sufi studies)

In 1942, he was appointed to the Institut Français d’Afrique Noire (IFAN — the French Institute of Black Africa) in Dakar, thanks to the benevolence of Théodore Monod, its director. At IFAN, he made ethnological surveys and collected traditions. For 15 years he devoted himself to research, which would later lead to the publication of his work L'Empire peul de Macina (The Fula Empire of Macina). In 1951, he obtained a UNESCO grant, enabling him to travel to Paris and meet with intellectuals from Africanist circles, notably Marcel Griaule.

With Mali's independence in 1960, Bâ founded the Institute of Human Sciences in Bamako, and represented his country at the UNESCO general conferences. In 1962, he was elected to UNESCO's executive council, and in 1966 he helped establish a unified system for the transcription of African languages.

His term in the executive council ended in 1970, and he devoted the remaining years of his life to research and writing. In 1971, he moved to the Marcory suburb of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire,[1] and worked on classifying the archives of West African oral tradition that he had accumulated throughout his lifetime, as well as writing his memoirs (Amkoullel l'enfant peul and Oui mon commandant!, both published posthumously). He died in Abidjan in 1991.

Bibliography[edit]

(translated into English and published as A Spirit of Tolerance: The Inspiring Life of Tierno Bokar, Bloomington, Indiana: World Wisdom, 2008)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hawkins, Peter. "Amadou Hampaté Ba". French Literature Companion. Answers.com. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.