Last Mali/Samake-focused post for the day… But I thought this was pretty cool: Slate.com featured an article on Yeah and used a bunch of the photos that I took while I was in Mali. This one above is one of my favorites because I believe it says so much about him.
Unlike some of the other politicians that we met while we were there, Yeah did not grow up in the privileged class, attending boarding schools in Paris during his formative years. He grew up poor and hungry in a small village and sacrificed a great deal to obtain his humble education. Because of this, Yeah intimately understands the reality of life for the huge majority of Malians that he’s hoping to represent as their president. And yet, while that is his upbringing, he’s grown to become a polished and dedicated leader, a charismatic orator, and a sincere public servant. I feel that a little bit of all that is captured in this photo. This is not Mitt Romney or Barack Obama in a button-up shirt tucked into jeans holding the token shovel of a service project photo-op. This is the reality of Yeah Samake.
Check out this great quote from the Slate.com article:
Yeah Samaké is not the average Malian. The great African-American scholar and political activist W.E.B. Du Bois would describe him as a member of the “talented tenth”: The one man out of 10 who, through pluck, education, and direct engagement in social change, can rise out of abject poverty and become an international leader of his race.