Between Us and Nature – A Reading Club #44 – They Came to make a Garden - The Chili Peppers Strike and Other Stories From the Agricultural Cooperative of Somankidi Coura

Event finishedWednesday, May 10, 2023 at 6:30 PM Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at 8:30 PM

Look, they are getting out of the pirogue

They went through difficult moments

Look carefully, look carefully

They came here to make the gardens 

They named them Somankidi Coura

That's how they came to make the gardens 

Look, they are getting out of the pirogue

All the village is here and see 

That's how they came from France 

They came only to work in the gardens

Look, they are going up

Look at these workers who came from France 1

At the beginning of the year we reconnected with the teachings of plants and the diversity of knowledges. At the celebration of Earth Day, Vandana Shiva spoke about the oneness of seeds:

“A Seed holds all its potential of its future. ​​ […]

Seed is self organised. Symbiosis is the way nature works.“2

Another seed brought to us in a conversation with a friend, was the Agricultural Cooperative of Somankidi Coura. While we were researching gleaning, she mentioned this initiative in Mali from the end of the 1970s, that has not been on our horizon yet. Starting to read about immigration, struggles and “The chili peppers strike” in “Sowing Somankidi Coura - A Generative Archive”, we would like to learn more together with you about this territory and the people establishing a self organised agricultural community, named the ACTAF initiative.

“The Somankidi Coura cooperative was established in a region, on a territory, that was the scene of multiple historical episodes, from the colonial period characterized by predatory exploitation of workers and land, to the attempt by Mali's first independent president Modibo Keita to develop agricultural communities and lead his country's return to the land. However, in contrast to the forced migrations of the colonial period or the managed migrations implemented by Modibo Keita after the country gained independence, the ACTAF initiative revolved around another type of mobility: a voluntary migration, an intentional "return to the land" from Europe, towards Africa, outside of any migration management policy.” 3

Between Us and Nature is an ongoing reading club that chooses texts related to natural sciences, art, anthropology, postcolonialism and the (post)anthropocene from a mostly female* perspective. Attendees read passages together out loud, and share experiences and thoughts about the nature they live in. Looking beyond disciplines, the group creates a space to learn from and with bacteria, algae, fungi, soil and multinaturalist narratives.

NOTE the TIME: We start at 18:30 CEST. We have 2 hours of reading together.

Come and join us with an open mind here:

What:​ The Reading Club is in English language

Where​: Zabriskie, Reichenberger Str. 150, 10999 Berlin

When:​ Wednesday 10th of May, 2023 18:30 CEST (sharp!)

Who:​ small group of lovely, people who would like reading collectively (personal rsvp is necessary:


Why:​ to read together, be inspired and meet people

Hosts:​ Eva-Fiore Kovacovsky, artist, and Sina Ribak, researcher for ecologies and the arts

In collaboration with Zabriskie Buchladen für Kultur und Natur.

References1 Moussa Sissoko, Amidou Traore and Gimba Sissoko, griots of Diakhandapé village and inhabitants singing and reenacting the arrival of the people of Somankidi Coura. Song excerpt from Cooperative, 2008, gathered by Raphaël Grisey, in: “Somankidi Coura - A Generative Archive, Archive Books”.2 Citation from the talk by Vandana Shiva at the Opening of the Spore Initiative in Berlin-Neukölln, 22.04.2023.3 Raphaël Grisey & Bouba Touré (eds.): Somankidi Coura - A Generative Archive, Archive Books, 2017

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