Salif Traore, known as A'Salfo, the leader of star Ivory Coast music combo Magic System, has been made a goodwill ambassador by UNESCO in recognition of his work for peace, he said Monday.
"Your songs and your commitment, known and appreciated by a wide public, deliver a strong message in favour of peace and justice," Irina Bokova, the director general of the UN cultural organisation, wrote him in a letter shown to AFP.
"It is with real pleasure that I have the honour of inviting you to become a UNESCO goodwill ambassador, for a period of two years," Bokova said, adding that this mission would enable A'Salfo to "continue to spread messages of peace, of tolerance and of dialogue."
"I am most honoured and very encouraged in my career as an artist and singer," said A'Salfo, whose hit "Premier Gaou" brought the Magic System to broad public notice in 1999.
A'Salfo made numerous calls for reconciliation in the wake of the Ivory Coast's post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011, when outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo refused to admit defeat at the polls and was ousted by supporters of current President Alassane Ouattara, at the cost of about 3,000 lives.
With Magic System, A'Salfo in July 2011 launched a campaign to bring home artists who had gone into exile under the rule of Gbagbo, who is now being held by the International Criminal Court in the Hague, accused of crimes against humanity.© ANP/AFP