Keita, Modibo , 1915–77, African political leader in the Republic of Mali. He studied in France and taught in the French Sudan (later the Republic of Mali) before becoming active in nationalist politics in 1946. He represented the French Sudan in the French national assembly from 1956 to 1958. A strong supporter of African unity, Keita promoted the Mali Federation, formed in 1959, and after the federation was dissolved (1960) he was elected the first president of the Republic of Mali. He ruled until 1968, when he was ousted by an army coup.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2003, Columbia University Press.