Building the Alanouwaly Salifou Sylla Centre

Original House

Salif had started a very ambitious guesthouse in Guinea to house music projects on the outskirts of Boke. The original plan was a two storey building with roof terrace and balcony (the land is situated on a hill overlooking the area). He had involved about 30 local builder friends and expertise. The traditional prayer and sacrifice before starting the building was attended by quite a crowd.

See film of start of Centre


The project came to an abrupt halt with Salifou’s death, so the question was what to do with this. As many of his friends wanted to do something to help the people of Guinea the idea of a Centre to house various projects to find solutions to people’s problems was born. The vision was to create a Centre of excellency.

Very deep and solid foundations had been laid, but after Salif’s death one of our members, a very experienced builder and engineer assessed the plans and we have, together with the Guinean builders, come to the conclusion that we have to downsize the building to a simpler ground-level structure to have any realistic chance of raising funds for it. We also agreed to build with the possibility of expanding later if our fortunes, prices or situation changes.


In the UK we held the first Salif Fest to honour his life to raise funds for this Centre. We spent about half of what we raised on building a small African caretaker house which had nearly been completed very effectively when our chair and vice chair visited Guinea in January. Corners of wall were built to mark the corners of the whole site.


Our chair and vice-chair, who is also a builder/engineer, have kept meticulous records of all the costs involved and were therefore able to make a more precise forecast of the money involved to complete the project.


In Africa, due to the volatile nature of life and conditions, people tend to not plan very far ahead, so we feel it’s another positive aspect of our work, to try to achieve as much forward planing as possible. It means, of course, we have to be prepared that our plans can be thrown upside down at any time and we have agreed the need to manage our expectations with that in mind.


In 2010 – the caretaker house was finished with a beautiful ceiling and some decoration on outside. 25 trees and some groundnut cash-crop were nurtured, protected and eaten throughout the year. Local people have shown a lot of pride and love in the building, which our chair and vice-chair again witnessed on their visit in January 2010. The work has also satisfied our objectives of creating some work opportunities. Traditional fences were built around land.


2011 – Caretaker House was tiled and bathroom built onto it. The structure of big house was built up and 3 rooms were built up to roof level with the plan to finish and use them.

BigHouse2  BigHouse1

In 2012 Caretaker House was painted & guttering added to roof. Main house was built up ready for roof to be added.

Caretakerhouse White  BigHouse3


2013 – Main House: 3 rooms were finished with antivol and good quality hardwood doors & windows ready to house projects. Traditional shelter was rebuilt.

Big House  meetingHouseCorridor  Stage3:2

Plastering on inside & outside of the main house with ‘antivol’ put in. Stage 3 of main house built to roof level with columns on future veranda.

3Rooms  Stage3


2014 – Stage 3 roof and veranda built

stage2roof    veranda

floor of big house made even

FloorEvened   BigRoom

Boundary Wall built

alanouwaly august 2014 209  alanouwaly august 2014 095

2015 April – stage 3: windows, doors of hall; plastering & ceiling of hall & veranda, cellar walls & floors

Hall April 2015:2  metal doors 2015

Bamboo front gate made and annexe to caretaker house started

bamboo gate  Annexe 15

2015 September: stage 3 – Funded the decorative artistic ceiling of the hall in the main building

plafon1 Plafon2

2015 annexe to caretaker house further extended with 2 more rooms and 2 verandas


annexe2 annexe decos

decorative edges created under roof (above right); roof structure built

annexe toit

annexe toit3 annexe toit4

anti termite paint application and good quality corrugated iron roof attached


finished front of “small” house



Big house stage 4: reinforcement and 3 basic rooms to use

Stage 4 2016


plastering & decorations


Plaster Guesthouse  Plastering

plumbing of 3 bathrooms

Plumbing IMG_20160803_082334

finishing ceilings

ceiling veranda ceiling room guesthouse



veranda railings & stairs

balustrade guesthouse IMG_20170416_155431

wallpainting and widow-grids and -hoods

IMG_20170417_141942 IMG_20160725_143530

Guesthouse March 17