anm document

Concours d'admission à la section Railway (1931)
in ANM 234 fonds recents

© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.

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In 1931, five people took the test to enter "la Section Professionnelle du Chemin de Fer" at École Primaire Supérieure et d'Apprentissage de Bamako on June 12, 1931.

Name Birthplace Parents' residence
Kaba Diallo Bafoulabé Bamako
Mamdou Dembele Kayes Kayes
Dioukamadi Sissoko Bafoulabé Oussoubidiana (Bafoulabé)
Manson Kanoté Medine Kayes
Djiriba Taraoré Koulikoro Mahina

The question on the French composition exercise was: "Vous ecrivez à un amie et vous lui decrivez la ville de Bamako" (Pretend you are writing to a friend, and describe the town of Bamako).

All of the candidates mentioned several of the same details including the physical limits of the town (Koulouba and Pointe G to the north, the radio transmission (TSF) station to the east, the Niger River to the south and the airport to the west), tree-lined avenues, the cathedral and its bell tower (one writer thought it was 100 meters high - it's really about 30 meters high), factories that produced heavy smoke, the European section with its stone buildings, the crowded grand market, the African neighborhoods, the Parc Zoologique (just west of the modern Place de la Liberté, formerly the Place André Maginot.

Several writers mentioned the railroad station, the railroad workshops and the École Primaire Supérieur in what appear to be attempts to gain favor with the authorities. For example, Kaba Diallo referred to "... les locomotives, dont la découverte a fait avancer la civilisation" (locomotives, whose invention helped to advance civilization).

There are other details in the essays. There was a small gasoline-powered ferry that was big enough to carry automobiles across the Niger. The railroad locomotive whistle was impressive. Africans were beginning to build stone buildings in their neighborhoods. The sacred forest of the Niaré was still in existence. There were nine city quartiers: Niaréla, Bozola, Bagadaji, Medina-Coura, Darsalam, Oulofobougou, Daram?uèbela (maybe Dravéla), Bamako- Coura and Bolibana.