Garan Fabou Kouyate
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|Garan Fabou Kouyaté|
April 25, 1925 |
|Other names||"Ba Garan" (Bambara term for father Garan)|
|Known for||Sports administration and fairness in Malian politics|
|Political party||AMUPI (Malian Association for Unity and the Progress of Islam)|
|Board member of||Ligue Régionale de Football de Ségou (Segou Regional Soccer League) 1950s and Fédération Malienne de Football (Malian Soccer Federation) 1960 - 1980|
Garan Fabou Kouyaté (born April 25, 1925 in Segou, Mali) is a notable and well-respected Malian civil and social figure. He was a member of Mali's Association for Unity and the Progress of Islam (AMUPI), Director of Mali's first Islamic radio La Voix du Coran, a member of the CENI (National Independent Electoral Commission) on behalf of the religious groups, the President of the Ligue Régionale de Football de Ségou, and the general secretary of the Fédération Malienne de Football (Malian Soccer Federation). He was commonly called "Ba Garan" (Bambara term for father Garan).
Garan Fabou Kouyaté is from the Griot or Djeli family (African traditional story tellers, singers, and mediators). He is the son of Fabou and Fatoumata Kouyaté and the cousin of the famous Tiemoko Garan Kouyaté (killed in 1942 for his political affiliation and anti-colonialism). Garan Fabou Kouyaté did his primary education in the 1930s in the city of Bamako during the French colonization in Mali (called French Sudan back then). He continued his studies until the mid-1940s when he graduated as a civil administrator. He served in Segou, Nioro, Bafoulabé, Sikasso, and Bamako in the 1950s and 1960s.
Kouyaté was mostly famous in sport, especially soccer although his first hobby was bicycling and the Tour de France. He was a soccer referee and then member of a soccer team, l’Association Sportive de Segou (ASS). In the mid-1950s, Kouyaté strongly promoted soccer in the Segou Region during the annual Coupe de l’AOF (soccer competition between teams from French West Africa). Although no team from the region made it to the final, Kouyaté was successful in challenging teams from the capital city Bamako and making Segou's soccer well respected.
After the independence of Mali in 1960, Mr. Kouyaté was President of the Ligue Régionale de Football de Ségou and entered the Fédération Malienne de Football (Malian Soccer Federation), where he served in the general secretariat and the referee commission. He was one of the delegates of the Malian soccer team during the African Games of 1965 in Brazzaville, Congo, in which the team obtained the silver medal. He was invited to the Soviet Union, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, East Germany, and the People's Republic of China with the Mali soccer team in the mid-1960s. He was also among the delegation of the Malian soccer team in the 1972 African Nations Cup in Yaounde, Cameroon.
Kouyaté had a brief political career from the 1950s to early 1960. He and his older brother hosted in their family house in Segou several informal RDA meetings from its creation in 1946 to the late 1950s before independence, and he had since befriended with Guinea's future President Ahmed Sékou Touré. As a former student of Modibo Keita, he was very active in the promotion of US-RDA in Segou. He played an important role in US-RDA's 1957 decisive victory over Fily Dabo Sissoko's PSP. Later, there were some disagreements between him and the Segou's US-RDA representatives due to his "No" position in the French constitutional referendum, 1958 in French West Africa. Further disagreements about the candidacies of delegates for party sections in Segou made him retired from politics.
After retiring for civil and sport activities, Mr. Kouyaté and some other senior retirees founded the AMUPI (Malian Association for Unity and the Progress of Islam) in 1980. In 1994, he was appointed director of the radio station of AMUPI (Radio Islamique). In 1997, He was selected as representative of the Mali Muslims community to the CENI (Commission Nationale Electorale Independante) despite a brief health issues (leg surgery). In 2001, he was again selected to the CENI as representative of all religious groups. Kouyaté was married to three wives and had six children. He was a very respected and well-known man in Mali. He served as consultant for writers, historians, and biographers on Mali and West Africa's historical and cultural past. He was regularly consulted for advice in formal issues and in local mediation. He retired from activities in the late-2000s and died on his bed on April 1, 2016 in his house in Bamako, Mali. He was buried in his beloved hometown Segou and received an official funeral service presided by the Governor of Segou.
In January 2009, he was awarded the grade of grand officer of the national order of Mali.