The Threat of Global Culture on Djenne

It is not the first time in history that Djenne has faced a crisis situation

The Great Mosque of DjennéInstruments for Africa

In 2012 when the Jihadists were on the march south and invasion appeared inevitable many civil servants who worked in the hospital or the schools, including the Prefect, the highest state official in Djenne, fled the city. 

Plastering the Great Mosque of DjenneInstruments for Africa

But Imam Yelpha, when asked what he would do if the Jihadists took Djenne, (would he flee?) laughed heartily and said "the Djenne people have seen empires rise and fall and survived sieges and battles since the beginning of time. We are not frightened - and in any case, all the marabouts of Djenne have had a special meeting and arranged it all: they will never come...”  

But Djenne is changing now and the challenges to the fabric of the city are not only from the ever present threat of famine or war, but also from the inroads of global culture and social media.  

Plastering the Great Mosque of DjenneInstruments for Africa

Young people are no longer so interested in the ancient, traditional world Yelpha inhabits. Even the most humble shepherd normally owns a smartphone and has a Facebook account. 

Plastering the Great Mosque of DjenneInstruments for Africa

This acts as a window onto an apparently enchanted world, and the effect is to deepen a feeling of isolation and highlighting the lack of opportunity that faces them in Djenne, where there are no industries or economic development.

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