Pouni Mask Festival Launches in Sanguié with High-Level Support

SANGUIÉ – The Pouni Mask Festival, an annual cultural event that draws participants and audiences from across Burkina Faso and beyond, officially commenced its 17th edition in Sanguié, in the Center-West region of Burkina Faso. The festival, known as FESTIMAQ, began on March 30, 2024, emphasizing the role of traditional masks in promoting peace and social cohesion within the nation.

According to Burkina Information Agency, this year’s festival theme, “Mask, peace, and social cohesion in Burkina Faso,” resonates deeply with the current socio-political landscape of the country. The Minister of State, Minister of Civil Service, Labor and Social Protection, Bassolma Bazié, attended the event, endorsing it as a platform for unity and cultural celebration amidst Burkina Faso’s ongoing security concerns.

The festival’s opening ceremony featured a variety of speeches and artistic performances, including a significant mask procession. Key government officials, including the Minister of State, Minister of Communication, Culture, Arts and Tourism, Jean Emmanuel Ouédraogo, and the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Me Edasso Rodrigue Bayala, participated in the event, highlighting the government’s support for cultural initiatives.

Minister Bazié’s address underscored the festival’s importance as a symbol of resilience and solidarity, encouraging the community to leverage cultural heritage as a strength against adversities, including terrorism. The AMA president, Hervé Gué, outlined the festival’s diverse activities structured around four main pillars: performance of masks, sports activities, promotion of traditional products, and community health and social initiatives.

FESTIMAQ 2024 also aims to extend its reach, inviting mask societies from other regions and countries, thus fostering a broader cultural exchange. The event not only celebrates the artistic and cultural heritage of Burkina Faso but also contributes to the national strategy for cultural and tourist development initiated since the festival’s inception in 1990.

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