The Pow Pow Malian Boubou

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Second from the left.

My wife snapped this one with her phone, at my desperate command, as we were navigating the rigors of Canal Street in a medium-sized red vehicle of modern make manufactured by the robots of Honda Soichiro, one that was thankfully in possession of an automatic transmission, as the constant slow stop-and-go nature of Friday afternoon Manhattan would have worn out my right arm and my left foot long before we made it out of the city, had I been forced to drive the standard left back in Maine.

Why did I command this photo to be taken? To New Yorkers it is not remarkable—both of my parents said they’ve seen this sort of thing numerous times—but this provincial had only seen on youtube the beautiful flowing robes of West Africa worn by Ali Farka Toure, Toumani Diabate, or Bassekou Kouyate, three favored musicians hailing from the recently-sundered nation of Mali. According to what I’ve learned from wikipedia, these clothes, called boubou, are usually worn on ceremonial occasions, among them Friday prayers, which is probably the reason this guy was wearing them. If I were in possession of black skin I would wear them every day, but alas, due to my honkiness, I can only look on from afar and admire.

That is, I believe it is a boubou.


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