Malian music icon Oumou Sangaré was elevated to the rank of Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic a few days ago in this Women’s Month (March 2024) as reported by several Malian media outlets since March 22, 2024. This distinction, which was awarded to her by the Chargé d’Affaires Permanentes of the French Embassy in Mali, is in addition to the Knight of Arts and Letters she received in 1998. It is a resounding recognition of her exceptional talent and her unwavering commitment to promoting African culture in general and Malian culture in particular.

Nicknamed the “Diva of Wassoulou,” Oumou Sangaré has made her mark on the African and international music scene. Her powerful and vibrant voice, her captivating melodies, and her committed lyrics have won the hearts of millions of fans around the world. An accomplished artist, in the pantheon of the most awarded African artists, she has been able to evolve her style over the years, while remaining faithful to her roots and her convictions.

A tireless ambassador of Malian culture, Oumou Sangaré uses her fame to defend causes that are close to her heart, such as girls’ education, respect for women’s rights, and the fight against poverty. A businesswoman, she is also the founder of the Wassoulou International Festival (FIWA), which highlights the richness and diversity of African cultures.

By awarding her this distinction, France recognizes Oumou Sangaré’s immense contribution to the world of culture. This exceptional artist is a source of inspiration for current and future generations and a true symbol of the strength and beauty of Africa.

In her speech after receiving her badge, she made a point of making a big nod to her “dear daughter” who honors her and for whom she is a role model, Aya Nakamura, the most listened to artist in the world who is at the heart of a wave of racism against her participation in the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The FAO ambassador is grateful to be recognized by the authorities of her country as well as internationally.

L’Africaine joins the entire Malian people in congratulating Oumou Sangaré on this well-deserved distinction. Bravo, Ambassador of Africa!
This distinction is a further testament to Oumou Sangaré’s immense talent and her lasting impact on the world of music.

By Pélagie Blewussi

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