Struggles for the Promised Land: Letters from West African Sisters

I am a firm believer in the power of stories and personal experiences so thank you to Pambazuka News for giving us the opportunity to share in these…

The following letters are part of a moving and insightful exchange between two women who have been respected leaders of citizen movements in West Africa for decades. These two friends are known for their wisdom, courage, creativity and unfailing commitment to justice, peace and the well-being of their respective countries, Guinea Bissau and Mali. This week, Pambazuka is pleased to share some of their personal correspondence following the coups d’état first in Mali in March and then in Guinea Bissau in April. The letters have been translated from French and are signed with pen names due to concerns for the safety of the women, their comrades and families during these very difficult times.”


We would like to share our personal correspondence not because we find our story original or special. No, it is rather because we know that it is in fact commonplace – but it is taking place in the shadows. We would like to make visible these simple exchanges between two citizens of Africa who share their dreams, their pain, their hope and civic action to ensure that our continent becomes our promised land, the land where our children and our children’s children can live in peace and justice, solidarity and prosperity. And we want to encourage more exchanges and more demonstrations of solidarity among citizens of Africa, so the warmth and the embrace of friendship and fraternity among us are stronger and more perceptible, as those of other people throughout the world who already show us their sympathy and solidarity. 

If the heads of African states are meeting in summits of ECOWAS and the African Union to seek solutions for our countries to the coups that have come back with force to our continent, bringing all kinds of violence and dirty business, and above all the deprivation of the civil and political rights of our peoples, then intellectuals and ordinary citizens of Africa should, in turn, find visible and tangible ways to demonstrate our own solidarity and commitment to take the lead and speak with one voice. To say loud and clear that NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT ON ANY GROUNDS, UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ANY IDEOLOGY, OR OF ANY RELIGION, TO TAKE THEIR PEOPLE HOSTAGE OR TO MAKE THEM A SCAPEGOAT!”

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