Picture: Bama Saba 1998
Some of you know I'm engaged in Africa for a long time, exactly since 1993 when I set foot here, at the time as an employee of a Swiss firm to install some computers and teach people on IT in Bamako, Mali.
So, in time, I learned to love Africans, because they showed me their unconditioned tolerance the same way I was encountering them - with curiosity and wonder about their life, their way of living, their cuisine, whatever.
I was the only white guy around, but I did NOT NOTICE it. Nobody made me feel I was different, ok, the occasional question of "can you help me out a bit", but it was never in a way I thought because I am white, but because I could afford a can of coke and the guy next to me couldn't...and so what ?
In 1999, I was broke. Because I broke my left wrist which I needed as a lead guitarist in our band Bama Saba. Means job lost. Man, I was the attraction of the band. A white guy playing all the clubs in Bamako, even Salif Keita came around to see me. Gigs for 6 days a week, 200 $ a month, which was GOOD pay back then.
And then....fuck. No work, no pay rent, massa broke, Insh'allah, next month. I had 300 $ debt with the Mauritanian store owner on our street who sold us rice and spices, and he said: No problem, Lassana. We know you.
Imagine a "rich white guy" in a country where people are poor and they tell you, ok, no problem. That will work.
People always tell me: When you're a white foreigner and you end up poor in a society that's poor, they will fuck you.
I was poor in one of the poorest societies in Africa. And they supported ME. They did not look at my skin color or my country or past. They saw me as a human being. And, regarding back, they saved my life...somehow. Because when I came back to Switzerland I was close to a depression......and what kept me from it was that I knew I could always go back and feel at home.
What more is there to say ? Maybe you understand my love for Africa now. If not, forget it and be happy that our "rich" countries bomb around the planet bringing hope and justice to the "underpriviledged", poor, innocent retards which need to be "civilized".
Thanks for reading.