Contemporary Issues

One of the results of colonialism and globalization of the Bambara region was that of the spreading of the Bambara language. Ironically, colonialism promoted the spread of the Bambara language, but only in efforts by the French to facilitate French administration. The presence and domination of the Bambara language is an indication of the Bambara’s presence and influence in the Niger region, lending itself to Bambara’s distributing, if not globalizing, abilities (Djata).

Since the Bambara are essentially agriculturalists, they have no cities of their own. Bamako and other cities alike are all the result of White establishment created for commerce, administration, industry, banking and education (Present Evolution). Westernization came about through French inhabiting Bamako, instilling western cultural values. Western, capitalists’ infrastructure also characterized Bamako. Bamako became an urban center after colonization. Such physical changes to the city effected traditional Bambara social structure (‪Falola 225). Bamako increasingly sees populations of de-tribal Bambara, who find themselves adapting to European economic organization. “Industrialization is just beginning in the Bambara country, but the European form of economic organization has spread widely even where native work methods exist, leading, as a result, to economic individualism” (Present Evolution).


Production methods of the Bambara people have evolved over time as a result of the globalizing forces. For example, the standard extended family household agricultural system is deteriorating under modernizing techniques. Technology in collaboration with trends towards cash crops is effecting the agricultural methods of the Bambara. Since around 1950 the commodity prices of cash crops have weakened the familial farm. It was also the intent of the first independent Malian government to reconstruct agricultural goals. “An intensive monoculture of money crops has developed with peanuts, rice, cotton, etc.” (Present Evolution). All of this cash crop production has become possible because of modern techniques in “agricultural exploitation” including scientific research, experiments, technology, and scientific management of land (Present Evolution).


Transportation methods are also becoming promiment, such as modern roads and bridges to assist shipping foods, ports and wharfs, and a railroad system, all of which stimulate economic progress. Progress is also being made in the fields of health, education, and urbanization. The Bambara people are therefore becoming involved in the international economy, which was made possible by a Chamber of Commerce (Present Evolution).

This technical evolution has major effects of the native ways of life, which is largely seen in family dynamics—family splits are common even in areas where traditional agricultural practices are still used. This is representative of “desire of the individual to separate himself from the large family and to escape the control of the farming chief in order to realize personal benefits for himself, not subject to family inspection” (Present Evolution). Ultimately, individualism is resulting from the deterioration of the family farm.