Sotigui Kouyaté

Sotigui Kouyaté (19 July 1936 – 17 April 2010) was one of the first Burkinabé actors. He was the father of film director Dani Kouyaté and was a member of the Mandinka ethnic group. Kouyatés have served as griots for the Keita clan since the 13th century. The Kouyatés guard customs, and their knowledge is authoritative amongst Mandinkas. Keitas have to provide amenities to Kouyatés, who in turn should not hesitate to ask for Keita help. The word Kouyaté translates as "there is a secret between you and me". Sotigui Kouyaté was born in Mali to Guinean parents and is Burkinabé by adoption. When he was a child, he enjoyed koteba performances. He once played on the Burkina Faso national football team. Kouyaté began his theatre career in 1966, when he appeared as adviser to the king in a historical play produced by his friend Boubacar Dicko. That year, he founded a theatre company in 1966 with 25 people and soon wrote his first play, The Crocodile’s Lament. Kouyaté has worked with Peter Brook on his theater and film projects since they became associated with one another while working on Brook's adaptation of the Indian epic, The Mahabharata, in 1983.


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