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Mali's hidden history of fortune-telling

Mali's hidden history of fortune-telling


Siby is a small Malian town located at the foot of the mountains and which hosts every year a unique event in Africa – a festival of divination arts.

West African psychics, astrologers and natural therapists meet here at every edition of Fescauri, a contraction between festival and cowrie shells, which are found all over Africa.

The place also was not chosen at random, it is highly symbolic in the history of the Mandingo empire, linked for centuries to the art of clairvoyance.

Siby was chosen because it was the place of Kamanjan Kamara who was the warlord of Soundiata Keita and was also the first emperor of Mali.

Elderly women are found of being seers in fortune-telling, a duty that has made them very popular and successful.

The act involves the use of cowrie shell being picked at random to foretell where your luck lies.

In Mali, as in other West African countries, visionaries are often consulted by families.

The charter of Fescauri requires total discretion in the manner of medical secrecy.

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