For the past week and a half I have been living in a state of severe and toe-curling irritation. Of course the London Olympics came with the usual nationalistic sentiments, and with the customary hypocrisy with regards to the winners (of course no one begrudges those Chinese or US sportsmen and women winning all those medals). And I didn't even mind the hosts gloating excessively about their achievements.
What really got me was "Team GB" (pronounced "Geebee").
It's like nails on a blackboard. "Team GB". They should shoot the idiot who started this.
I realise the British have been 'matey' with the US for some decades now. The embarrassing encounters between Thatcher and Reagan immediately spring to mind. And I am aware of the uncomfortable and slightly bizarre relationship of Tony and George W (just thinking about this dynamic duo I get shivers running down my spine....).
But "Team GB": it seems like a turning point in history. Finally the British have given up their own culture in favour of that rich culture that gave us...
Well you tell me.
When it comes to cultural integrity, I am not as worried about Mali as I am about the UK. The country has survived colonialism with its culture intact. The islam in Mali is not the islam of Arabian Peninsula or the islam of the expatriates in Europe. What I have experienced of Malian islam suggests that the balance between islam and traditional culture is still in favour of the latter. So I am not convinced Mali will be an African Afghanistan.
And evidence for this can be found in the music. There is so much authenticity in this music and such strength of culture.
Listen , for example, to this cassette by Molobali Keita.
This is volume 5, - and there are more (besides the ones I have already posted - Vol.4, Vol.3, Vol.2).
Samassa S 4457
No hint of "Team GB" there, don't you agree?
And as an extra, this fantastic video by the same artist, from Ngoni's superior YouTube offerings: