L'Essor Quotidien (1949, 1960 & 1963)
in Archives Nationales du Mali
|Notes © 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.|
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The author applauded the new train schedule that offered thrice-weekly express trains between Bamako and Dakar in three classes with sleeping and restaurant cars. Trains left on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. However, during a recent radio broadcast on Radio-Dakar, Governor Louveau said that the Chemin de Fer Dakar-Niger had the highest railroad tariffs in the world. Since "les usageurs de réseau ne sont pas le plus riches du monde," the author hoped that new rates would be introduced along with the new equipment.
This article contains a mock conversation with "Madame de la Compagnie du Niger-Francais" (Unilever) who sold cooking oil to whites for 47 francs per liter and the same oil to Africans for 89.50 francs per liter.
The Union des Syndicats de Dakar demanded a rise in the minimum wage from 17 to 21.80 francs per hour due to the constant increase in the cost of living ever since February 1949. This article also discussed the profits of commercial houses like Maurel et Prom, Delmas, Vezia, Société Commerciale Ouest-Africain and others. However, the Chemin de Fer Dakar-Niger was not on the list of profiteers.
This is one of several articles questioning the role and profits of the big European commercial houses in West Africa.
The author of this article demanded that the administration fulfill promises made to workers ever since 1946, and threatens action to obtain satisfaction. "L'exemple de notre succès de 1945-46 à propos de l'indemnité de zône, celui de la grève historique des cheminots en 1947-48, ceux de nos camarades fonctionnaires et ouvriers qui, en France, comme en Afrique remportant des succès grandissants par la lutte revendicative, nous montrent la voie à suivre." At the end. there was a list of USRDA representatives. For the cheminots, there were N'Gom and Sarr. For the Soudan, Houhoun Cissé, Lamine Sow and Abdoul Singaré.
The Fédération de Mali had 39 airports (aerodromes). Ten offered commercial flights; the rest were military or for small private craft. The airport at Dakar could handle DC-8s and Boeing 707s. The airport at Bamako could handle DC-7s. The other commercial airports could receive DC-4s.
Dakar had two landing strips of 2,000 and 2,400 meters for planes up to 65-70 tons and a new 2,950 meter strip for planes to 135 tons.
Bamako had a 2,135 meter strip and could handle DC-7s or Superconstellations. The air force was in charge of "controle fiscale." There were lights for night landings and radio- navigation aids were being installed. A building housed the restaurant and other commercial enterprises.
The other commercial airports were located at St. Louis, Ziguinchor, Segou, Mopti, Goundam, Gao, Matam, Nioro and Tessalit.
M. Randriamanantera, a 25-year old Malagache man (from Madagascar), built his own bicycle and rode it from Madagascar to Europe via Kenya, Uganda, Belgium Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Niger, Upper Volta, and Mali. He left Madagascar in November 1959 and reached Bamako on Saturday January 30, 1960. Next Wednesday, he intends to continue to Senegal, Morocco, Spain and France. He had had 36 flat tires up to this point.
This is a list showing the types and amounts of traffic that used the ferry boat across the Niger River at Bamako from July 18 to December 1, 1959:
This is a quotation from part of a very long article about a speech given by President Modibo Keita in Ségou.
"Le parti s'est dévelopé. Petit à petit, les adversaires ont fini par s'y intégrer. Nous en sommes assivés au Parti Unique. Nous savons que c'est un expression qui inquiète nos amis occidentaux, qui inquiéte nos amis métropolitains, qui se disant `mais avec la parti unique, il n'y a plus de liberté; mais avec la parti unique, l'individu n'a plus sa personnalité; mais c'est la dictature!'"
Roughly translated, this means "The party has developed. Little by little, its opponents have become intergrated into the party, and now we have a single party. We know that this worries our friends in the West, our friends in the metropole (France), who say that a one-party state allows no freedom, suppresses individualism, and creates a dictatorship.)
On March 12, 1960 at noon, the Pont de Bamako (Niger River bridge at Bamako) was finally opened to the public.
This article gives the rates for airfare for the pilgrimmage to Mecca. A roundtrip flight from Bamako to Jeddah by DC-6 cost 133,000 CFA. A roundtrip flight from Gao to Jeddah by Douglas Skymaster cost 123,000 CFA. A roundtrip flight between Jeddah and Medina cost 12,500 CFA. The Saudi Arabian govenrment imposed an additional tax of 7,000 CFA. Sea travel prices via Dakar would be announced as soon as they became available.
One accident involved a truck "de la Transafricaine" #0671-8-A that overturned between Gao and Tessalit on April 20, 1960. Three people were seriously injured.
Malian independence came on June 20, 1960. Among the telegrams of congratulations, the cheminots sent the following message from the Fédération National des Cheminots du Mali: "Soudan, Koulouba. Occasion Indépendence Mali vous adresse au nom Cheminots vives félicitations et vous assure soutien camarades dans action engagé pour reconstruction nationale. Dhiarra."
Until the end of June 1960, the format of L'Essor was four stapled letter-size (about 8.5"x11") mimeographed (ronéotype) pages. In July, they switched to a larger format of four pages, about 12"x20" in size, folded. The new format included black/white half-tone photos.
Modibo Keita traveled by express train on August 13, 1960 to the Conference Inter-états du Mali, which opened in Dakar on August 20.
The front page of this issue shows a photograph of President Modibo Keita waving from the train.
Following a tour of the Soudan, Keita expressed pleasure at the success of the campaign by the government and the party to increase agricultural production. Villages organized collective farms and office workers spent Saturday afternoons working small plots of land. (NOTE: Railroad workers viewed this program in a very different way. See the testimony by Cheick Diombana of the Retired Railway Worker's Association.)
This issue contains the text of letters and telegrams from various people supporting Keita's break with Senghor on August 20, 1960.
The Fédération National des Cheminots du Mali sent the following message: "Le comité exécutif élargi des délégués du presonnel du Soudan de la FNCM, réunie en assemblée générale, ce jour 22 Aout 1960 sous la presidence du secretaire responsable du Soudan, ... invite (en consequence) tous les travailleurs du rail à se mobiliser pour soutenir l'action du gouvernement légal du Mali . . ."
Yesterday, the Conseil des Ministres de la République du Sénégal, led by President Mamadou Dia, took over the port of Dakar and the Régie des Chemins de Fer.
This is the same train schedule described in issue n°3482 (see below). Since the new schedule started on September 1, 1960, it probably appeared in earlier issues as well. However, it did not appear in the September 1st issue.
A state of siege was declared in Mali on September 12, 1960. A state of emergency had already been declared on August 30, 1960.
|Train No.||Passenger classes||Leaving from||Time & day||Destination||Arrival time|
|1||1+2+3||Bamako||1200 Saturday||Kayes||2125 Saturday|
|80||2+3||Bamako||0945 Monday & Wednesday||Kayes||2128 Monday & Wednesday|
|1||1+2+3||Kayes||1112 Monday||Bamako||2100 Monday|
|83||2+3||Kayes||1100 Tuesday & Thursday||Bamako||2244 Tuesday & Thursday|
|n||3||Kayes||0600 daily||Galoumbo||0808 daily|
|n||3||Galoumbo||1300 daily||Kayes||1514 daily|
|82||2+3||Bamako||1632 daily||Kita||1955 daily|
|81||2+3||Kita||0620 daily||Bamako||0940 daily|
|350||3||Bamako||0730 daily||Négala||0950 daily|
|351||3||Négala||1445 daily||Bamako||1730 daily|
|91||2+3||Bamako||0955 daily||Koulikoro||1140 daily|
|93||2+3||Bamako||1800 daily||Koulikoro||2000 daily|
|90||2+3||Koulikoro||0600 daily||Bamako||0745 daily|
|92||2+3||Koulikoro||1400 daily||Bamako||1545 daily|
This long article describes plans for cooperation between Mali and Czechosolvakia. It mentions transportation improvements to improve communications with Guinea and the south - specifically bridges at Toukoto, Bafoulabé and Douna (over the Bani River), and railroad branch lines from Kayes to Nioro and Kita to Kourousso. They also mention receiving Czech automobiles, but there is no mention of any deliveries of trucks from Czechoslovakia.
The railroad union congress met on September 25-26, 1960, in the Salle du Centre Culturel in Kayes. 47 representatives from the different sections of the railroad approved the government's economic blockade of Senegal. (Note: the president of the Soudanese union was Diallo Samballa and the Rapporteur was Diabité Oumar.)
This spells out the resolution passed by the Cheminots du Soudan in response to a letter written on September 20, 1960 by the "soit-disant Syndicat des Cheminots en Residence au Senegal" (the so-called Union of Railroad Workers Living in Senegal). After stating the desire of all cheminots for peace, the Cheminots du Soudan said that the preservation of the Federation was not worth the sacrifice of dignity. They added that Radio Sénégal lied when it broadcast a report that the spontaneous suspension of railroad operations was do to a Soudanese plot, and urged calm in order to resist those who wanted to expel the Soudanese cheminots from Senegal in order to confiscate their belongings. They also resolved that cheminots should neither demand nor refuse to serve their government, and they totally condemned the letter and its three authors.
In the meeting of October 10, 1960, the Syndicat National des Douanes, the Syndicat National des Cheminots du Mali and the Syndicat National des Médécins, Pharmaciens, Vétérinaires et Sages-femmes diplomées de l'État all joined the Union Syndical des Travailleurs du Mali. This article also mentions the unjust expulsion of Malians from Senegal.
In this issue, there are three photos related to the expulsion of the cheminots from Senegal, including one from a mass meeting of support in Bamako on October 23, 1960.
The front page carries a photo of a baby born during the expulsion from Senegal. The caption reads "ce fils de cheminot est né durant le parcours Dakar-Bamako, effectué par sa mère, expulsée du Sénégal comme tous les familles de cheminots Maliens" (this son of a railroad worker was born during the trip from Dakar to Bamako by his mother, who was expelled from Senegal like all of the Malian railroad workers' families).
This is a poem about the cheminots.
Translation by Jim Jones
Tu es l'égal de tout les cheminots du monde.
Tu as pour devise: travail, discipline, patrie
Tu as reçu en '38 à Thiès les premiers coups
De '40 à la fin des hostilités,
De Dakar à
Cotonou en passant par Conakry,
Tu demontais en '47 la preuve
Tu sortais victorieux de ce conflit unique
L'étendu de les sacrifices est incomperable.
... parce que tu es un cheminot du Mali.
You are the equal of railroad workers all over the world.
Your slogan is work, discipline and country
You suffered the first blows in '38 at Thiès
From '40 to the end of the war,
From Dakar to Cotonou via Conakry,
In '47 you proved your maturity
You emerged victorious from this conflict
The extent of your sacrifices is beyond comparison.
... because you are a railroad worker from Mali.
This article contains an eyewitness account by Mme. Keita, one of the Soudanese expelled from Senegal. She said that the refugees were assisted by the "Mouvement de la Paix du Mali" who provided the text of this article.
They left Thiès, Senegal on October 12, 1960 at about 4am. Many Senegalese friends came to say good bye, so she was sure that the expulsion was the result of a few criminals in the government and not the will of the Senegalese people.
They were put in unlighted, uncomfortable railcars and taken directly to the border at Kidira, with only one stop at Guinguineo around 6am. During the trip, they received no water and the faucets at Kidira were locked. There was also no food available, even at Kidira. As a result, many of the children got sick.
The bridge at Kidira was only one-meter wide and since everyone was weakened by the trip, she didn't think they would have made it across without help from the volunteers who came from Kayes. As they reached the different stations in Mali, they were greeted by large crowds of people.
On page 4 of this issue, there are eight photos of the border at Kidira and the crowd at the bridge. The bridge has a one- meter boardwalk next to the rails. The photo shows people walking across on the boards and on the rails.
Air Mali, the national airline, was created on October 27, 1960 by Ordennance #31.
This anonymous article refutes a Senegalese statement that "des cheminots Maliens expulsés seraient revenus en vague au Sénégal, soliciter au gouvernement leur reprise de service" (the expelled Malian railroad workers returned to Senegal to ask the government to allow them to return to work). After denouncing Senegalese lies, the article asserted that no Malian asked for his job back ... "ceux qui y sont rétournés sont été simplement effectuer la récolte de leurs champs de culture et regler leurs affaires familiales" (... those who returned to Senegal did so to collect their belongings).
This issue contains an article about the agreement between the Union National des Syndicats du Mali and the Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs de Guinée. The article mentions a few of the important people in the Union Nationale des Travailleurs Maliens (UNTM), including Secrétaire-Général Sissoko Mamadou Famady, Secrétaire Keita Nama, and the following members of the Commission Administrative: Kanté Mamadou and Soumaré Samba.
this issue also reports that the Régie des Chemins de Fer du Mali announced a new stop at kilometer 1246.385 for the "Campement de Droit" located between Moribabougou and Tiénfala. Third class passenger tickets cost 50 francs from Bamako, 15 francs from Tiénfala and 85 francs from Koulikoro. (NOTE: This must have been about 16 kilometers east of Bamako at the western edge of the Forêt de Tienfala. It may have been a resettlement camp for expelled cheminots -- see Lakroum, page 629.)
This issue has the story about Kassoum Touré, commerçant à Bagadadji, who was arrested and charged with hoarding CFA after the Franc Malien was created. Other Lebanese and Malien merchants were arrested and their CFA confiscated following disturbances that included an attack on the 1st Arrondisement police station and a demonstration in front of the French Embassy.
This issue contains the announcement of the arrests of Fily Dabo Sissoko and Hammadoun Dicko on July 23, 1962.
This issue reports the verdict of the Tribunal Populaire in the cases that resulted from the "Complot Anti-national." Three men--Fily Dabo Sissoko, Hammadoun Dicko and Kasoum Touré--were sentenced to death. Fourteen of the defendants were sentenced to 20 years at hard labor; another eight got 15 years; seven got 10 years (one had an additional five years of exile), twenty-six got 5 years (one got five more years of exile) and twenty-one got a year in prison. Fifteen of the defendants were acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence.
An agreement was reached on June 7, 1963 between the two countries concerning matters of commerce, customs duties, debt repayments, railroad operations and access to Senegalese ports. The document was signed on June 8, 1963 by Alioune Badara M'Bengué, Senegalese Ministre des Travaux et Transports, and Mamadou Aw, Malian Ministre des Travaux Publics, Telecommunications, Mines, des Resources Énergétiques et de l'Habitat.
This issue also contains an advertisement for Air Mali that describes an air connection from Bamako to Paris via Rabat (Morocco) "avec les fameux Ilyouchine 18" and shows a picture of a four-engined prop plane. There are two flights in each direction per week. They leave Bamako on Tuesday and Friday, and return on Wednesday and Saturday.
An advertisement for Air Mali on page 4 mentions that they use DC-3s and Ilyouchine 14's for their flights to Niger, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire and Guinée, as well as internal flights to Nara, Nioro, Tombouctou and Gao.
Malian President Modibo Keita met with Senegalese President Léoplod Senghor on the border at Kidira to reopen relations between their two countries.