MALAGA’S nativity will have a black Balthazar for the first time.
Brahima Traore, a nationalised Spaniard who escaped the conflict of his native Ivory Coast, has spoken to one publication about being chosen to represent one of the Magi at this year’s festivities.
Chosen by the city’s Mayor, Francisco de la Torre, Traore will play Balthazar following pressure from group Malaga Ahora who pointed out the Magi is a black man and should therefore be represented by one. The group further pointed out previous representations using a white man in makeup were racist.
Brahima came to Spain via France in 2002 after fleeing political unrest in his home country. Married to a Malaga local, Inmaculada Perez Sanchez, he says, “I am not a Catholic, my family in Côte d’Ivoire is Muslim, but I am not a practitioner, and I am happy to play a Magi to make children happy.”
The social activist who, alongside his wife, campaigns for immigration, now has an eight-year-old son, Cristobal, who he hopes will accompany him on the procession.