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Aoua Kéita was born in 1912 in Bamako and she was the daughter of a serviceman from Kouroussa (Guinea). In 1923 she was admitted into Bamako's first girls' school. She continued her studies in Dakar's School of Medicine, where she was awarded a diploma. In 1931 she was posted to Gao. In 1935 she married M. Diawara, a doctor, from whom she was later separated. She came first in the "Principalat" in 1943 and did a training course in Dakar. Next she was posted to Tougan, then to the Niger Office. From 1946 she was militant in the ranks of the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (RDA) [the African Democratic Assembly] which was influential in all of the French colonies in Africa. Transferred to Gao in 1950, she renounced her French citizenship the following year and took an active part in organising the elections of 1951. On the eve of the elections. Aoua Kéita managed to escape the purge which transferred all the civil servants from the Gao region who were militant in the RDA, and played a major role in the success achieved by the RDA in the elections. This resulted in her transfer for disciplinary reasons. She was sent successively to Bignona (Casamance) in Senegal, to Nara, then to the materinity hospital in Keti, near Bamako, where she founded a Collective Female Trade Union Movement. She represented this organisation in 1957 at the Constitutional Congress of the General Union of Workers of Black Africa. In 1958 she was elected to the political office of the Sudanese Union of the RDA, where she was the only woman. The same year, after the referendum of the 28th September, she was named a member of the Constitutional Committee of the Sudanese Republic. In 1959 she was elected a Member of Parliament in the legislative elections and played a major political role until Modibo Kéita's downfall. Aoua Kéita has been honoured with several distinctions: the Malian Independence Gold Medal, Order of the "Perfection de la R.A.U.", and the National Order of Merit of the Red Cross of the Ethiopian Empire. Moreover, she was elevated to the rank of Great Officer of the National Order of Senegal, the Great Commander of the Order of the African Star of Liberia and Officer of the Dahomey National Order. She died 7th May 1980 in Bamako. Source: Culture Française [French Culture] (winter 1980).


Femme d'Afrique. La vie d'Aoua Kéita racontée par elle-même [An African Woman. The Autobiography of Aoua Kéita told in her own words. Paris: Présence Africaine, 1975. (397p.). ISBN 2 7087 0320 X. Novel. (Review February 2009).


  1. Childhood in Bamako (1920's).
  2. Departure for Gao and marriage to M. Diawara (1930's).
  3. Militantism in the heart of RDA and separation from her husband (1940's).
  4. Transfer to Gao, political success of RDA and expulsion from this town (early 1950's).
  5. Posting to Bignogna.
  6. Return to Sudan. Posting to Nara. Work as midwife. Trade union and political activity (mid-1950's).
  7. Increase in the number of trade union responsabilities (1957).
  8. Important political responsabilities. Elected MP (end of 1950's).


JeanMarie Volet



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