Please stop stalking me, Wandering Savage

I've been trying to find, so far with little success, the great Malian singer Salif Keita, who has a club, Moffou, on the outskirts of Bamako. It's been said, and I still believe, that with a little luck one can just show up and hang out with Salif. But time and again such luck has eluded me.

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I recall once, somewhere in southeast Asia earlier this year, getting a text message from my friend Kyle, an expat in Yemen who was doing some shady business in Mali at that time. He asked if I knew the name of Salif Keita's club. Since I was near a web connection, I texted him back that it's called Moffou, and I might have even specified that it's in the Kalaban-Coura district.

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In any case, hours later he wrote back that he'd jumped in a taxi and found Salif there, as though waiting for him, and hung out with him for a bit.

You too can try this next time you're in Bamako. All you have to do is grab a taxi and say, “Kalaban-Coura, Moffou!” You'll end up at a place that looks like this:

The first time I did it, last Sunday afternoon, we reached the Moffou compound and found a man in a suit jacket in the courtyard. The sharply dressed man explained (in French) that yes, Salif was indeed in town, but in

the studio at the moment; if we were to show up at 6pm, he'll be here.

Unfortunately we couldn't find the motivation to make the trip again that same day.

The second time, I went (alone), aiming for 6pm, only to find the place empty, with a guard outside explaining that Salif had some important business to attend to in a house on the river (that's the extent of my French) but that I would certainly meet him if I came back at 8pm that evening — or if not, then at 2pm the following day. But come back at 8, the man repeated; he'll be here.

I returned at 8:30pm, to be told Salif had already left. But I would certainly catch him if I came around at 2pm exactly the following day.


following day was today.

I took a taxi out to Moffou at 2pm, my fourth visit. I finally met somebody there who speaks some English, a radio broadcast journalist named Coulibaly, who told me that while Salif was not there at the moment, if I waited or came back at 4pm, I could definitely meet him.

Sadly, I have to get on a bus to Mopti, on the road to Timbuktu, at 4pm. But Coulibaly gave me his phone number so I could arrange things next time I'm in Bamako.

Yes, this will be continued. Right now I'm off to Timbuktu.


One thought on “Please stop stalking me, Wandering Savage”

  1. Hey, my business was on the up and up! Scott did indeed give me the name, Moufou, which has an interesting ring to it. I found out where the bar was. I arrived at night after a half hour taxi ride out over the river and onto endless, rutted, dirt roads which kept me bouncing in the old taxi like a ping pong ball at a keno party. Anyway, I was just about crazy from the ride when the taxi driver pulled the vehicle over and said solemnly in perfect English – “We have arrived.” I paid and got out. I watched the one red taillight of the taxi bouncing away under the cover of a million African stars and had a moment where I really wanted to run back and stop the taxi. —- more later if anyone is interested!

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