RFI Mandenkan runs an interview with tùbabú from FIDH

This morning I was pleasantly jolted when I realized while half-listening to RFI Mandenkan's daily news broadcast that one of their interviewees was in fact a tùbabú.

I wasn't quite paying attention, but his accent caught my ear so I went back to confirm and indeed, it was the voice of someone "Antoine Rebecq" from FIDH (Fédération internationale des droits de l'homme) who was speaking of his and other groups' opposition to the recent announcement that Simone Gbagbo, the wife of former Ivoirian President, Laurent Gbagbo, would not be charged with crimes against humanity.

I wasn't able to identify Antoine online but I did receive confirmation from FIDH's Africa team on Twitter that it was indeed one of their representatives. Interestingly, while to my ear he had clearly learned Manding in Mali (he used many prototypically Bamanan forms), they happily announced that indeed, their team speaks "malinke". I could likely write a whole post (if not dissertation) ruminating about the socio-political side of this choice over "Jula", but I'll resist that temptation for now.

twitter malinke

The point is that it is great news! Hoping that RFI can continue to serve as a venue for African languages like Manding to be not only languages of home, but also of international news and debate -- languages that foreigners must also invest in learning to be taken seriously as commentators about happenings on the continent.

Curious how you stake up? Have a listen below!