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Obituary for Dr Salabary Doumbia (23.04.1952 – 17.12.2020)

Our dear colleague and friend, Salabary Doumbia, passed away in Bamako on December 17, 2020 after a short illness. He is survived by his wife Fanta, their children and grandchildren.

Salabary Doumbia is an alumnus of the University of Bayreuth, where he received his doctorate in 1987 from the Chair of African Studies I (Faculty of Linguistics and Literature). The thesis was concerned with an "Investigation of the Phonological Structure of Two Manding Variants (Bambara of Bamako and Wasolonkan)." Doumbia came to Bayreuth after having studied German language and literature at the ENSup College of Education in Bamako, Mali, and at Saarland University in Saarbrücken. Following his doctorate, he was a short-term lecturer of Bambara (Bamanankan). After returning to Mali, he taught at the German Department of ENSup and the Faculty of Linguistics and Literature of the Université de Bamako for over ten years before joining the Friedrich Ebert Foundation as a research associate in 1999.

Salabary felt closely connected to the University as well as to the city of Bayreuth. He also supported activities related to the teaching of Bambara. In February/March 2019, he organized a language course at the University of Bamako for advanced students of Bambara from Bayreuth, Berlin, and Mainz. In March 2020, Doumbia came to Bayreuth at the invitation of the IAS. During his stay, he worked on a paper about Wasolonkakan, a little-known Manding variety spoken in southwestern Mali. Another aim of his stay was to participate in a joint project on updating the teaching materials of Bambara (Bamanankan). These have since been used in language courses at the UBT Language Center. However, this was only a beginning. We regret that we will no longer be able to realize the many plans to create further teaching materials with Salabary.

Salabary was fascinated about language, and every discussion about expressions in German or Bambara turned out to be a pleasure. We regret that he is no longer with us and remember fondly his uncomplicated, friendly manner, his openness and helpfulness.

Text: Klaudia Dombrowsky-Hahn
NAB No. XIX/2020 (slightly changed)

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