Veteran Mamadou Diamanka retired on Sunday, May 2, 2021 in Rambouillet, the Parisian region in department 78. following a stroke. The body was lifted on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Rambouillet Hospital. He was buried on Saturday, May 8 at Pikine Cemetery in Senegal. He was 89 years old.
Veteran Mamadou Diamanka retired on Sunday, May 2, 2021 in Rambouillet, the Parisian region in department 78. after a stroke. Born on 31 December 1931 in Saré Diatta Kaolack, he was originally from the Kolda region in Casamance, in the south of Senegal. Son of Domel Diamanka and Tacko Diao, he began his military career in the French Army in 1952 and ended it in the Senegalese Army before joining the transport company of the time, Sotrac.
It was at the age of 21 that he joined the French Army in 1952 in the ranks of the Regiment of Soldiers of Africa. He left Senegal for France, transited to Indochina , Algeria and then Malagasy as a Senegalese Tirailleur. He participated in these two French wars like most of his blood brothers in the name of France.
Mamadou Diamanka fought for France as the entire battalion of Senegalese Tirailleurs from other African countries, from Burkina Faso to Côte d’Ivoire and Mali. Many of them participated in the French wars from the first to the second, but also in the colonial wars on behalf of France.
As a reminder, the first regiment of the Senegalese Tirailleurs was created in 1857 in Senegal by King Napoleon III. Approximately 170,000 of them were mobilized during the First World War. In total, the French colonial empire supplied 607,000 soldiers to the Allies, 450,000 of whom came to fight in Europe, particularly during the battles of the Marne, Verdun and the Somme. More than 70,000 of these African hairs from elsewhere died for France, including 36,000 from North Africa and 30,000 from Black Africa.
For the Second World War, between 1939 and June 1940 the Senegalese Tirailleurs, strong and armed arm of France, were 178,000 Africans in the French army. There are eight “Senegalese Tirailleurs” regiments, about 40,000 men taking part in the Battle of France. Nearly 17,000 were killed, disappeared or wounded in action in 1940, earning less than their French comrades.
At the end of his career in the French Army, which marked the effective end of independence on the African continent concerning the French territories, Mamadou Diamanka joined the Senegalese National Army. He finished his military service there before working for a few years at the then Senegalese transport company “Sotrac”.
He retired there in 1986 before joining France in 1996 for the regularization of his situation as a Senegalese Tirailleur in the image of so many other African Tirailleurs, the forgotten of the French wars. With the advent of independence, their low wages were crystallized, their pension suspended. He spent more than 20 years in France to assert what was right.
Mamadou Diamanka or Maly-Tacko as he affectionately called his relatives, was a pillar of the community of Fouladou, a sage who knew how to federate the families, of Saré Diatta, the native village of his father, in Kolda, the region where the majority of his family lives, in Dakar then in Pikine where he had built his house. The majority of her children were born in this city: six were born in Pikine, including French-Senegalese journalist and writer Aïssatou Diamanka Besland and four in Dakar.
A good man, generous, human, just, truthful, visionary ahead of his generation. For him, education was a pillar for becoming a good person, especially for his daughters. He never knew how to distinguish between his own children, those of his brothers and sisters, and those of other strangers whom he barely knew.
In his house in Pikine, everyone would come and go. Either to study or to finish. Either to go to Europe or to come back. His house was the focal point of an entire community. Everyone was in the same boat: child or not.
By his greatness and dedication, he knew how to leave his mark in every life, every being who crossed his path. He showed with love and prowess that only the human counts.
Today, his children, his cousins, his nephews and nieces, his friends … all mourn the absence of a loved one. Baba Diamanka, as the close family calls it, thus closes the line of a first generation of DIAMANKA-SORIANG.
The tireless fighter has fallen! His absence will weigh heavy in the hearts of those who loved him deeply. he will leave a visceral void.
Ze-Africanews offers his sincere condolences to the entire grieving family.