Holy cow Mame, this is a tuff one for une “entrée”…mamasita!!!Hummmmmmmmm. Lets just say that I like to think of myself as a strongly rooted African Woman (proud of the colour of my skin, proud of my origins, …) who had the opportunity to learn better though exposure to some positive aspects of the western culture (Education, Freedom of speech, liberalization of ARTS and Culture)
2/What prompted you to move back to Senegal?
I was getting’ fed up of Montreal with all the drama I was going through (I was finishing my MA degree and no companies seemed to be interested by my career profile). Dakar was showing some opportunities and mainly because of that (and because my younger sister was about to leave for college with no one to stay at home with folks getting’ older) I thought it was time for me to move back home and try my way hard to make some happen
3/What were you aprehensive about?
At that time (ie two years ago) I really had no apprehension. That was the way things were suppose to be goin’ and I had enough stamina to move up those Falaises of Bandiagara into the city… Today it's a different story.
4/What was your entourage reaction to your decision?
Oh gosh they were sooooooooooo happy, I mean mom, dad and lil’ sis were just delighted. My peeps in Mtl were more reluctant… but I am the hard headed type and I think that something need to be done I just become totally deaf to criticism…
5/Your last day before you left how did you feel?
I felt a bit sorry ‘cause I had to give a lot away (clothes, furniture….) and for a shopalcoholic this was just a failure (!!!!) But in the meantime, a “new” life was beginning and like your first day at work (or in class)…after a long break… I was picturing so many things (the hubby, the children…family gatherings…) that the only thing I could think of you “GOIN’”
6/I know you've been working for a microfinance structure in Senegal, can you tell me more of the company for which you work?
It was a strong experience (I no longer work there today) through which I had the amazing chance to travel all through the country and visit such beautiful places I never thought would have existed in Senegal. It was just like the perfect start for me. I was quickly adopted by my co-workers and my boss was just a sweetheart. The only thing that was missing was the salary (for local workers, it was certainly a chance but when you are filled with “western” ambitions… 300.000 isn’t much). Moreover and because no one before me had done what I was doing (not much in fact) they were seeing my as the Little Bouddha……… when all I wanted was someone to offer me the chance to learn more about the job (ie through Continuous Education and E-Learning programs for instance). I left in March 06 and since then, I’ve been working as a Junior Consultant for an Advertising firm.
7/How do u feel about the pressure it's put on African women to be married at a certain age?Act a certain way?
To be dead honest Yaye… this is just the way thing should be. Even though I happen to be a modern and idealist young woman, to me, at a certain age, something got to be done in order for women with successful career and not much time to settle down and get help from the community in the search of a decent man. Where the problem lies today is that you will easily find people to blame you for being single but no soul will come to your rescue and provoke that kind of twist in your Love life… So here is my question, what is the point to condemn when you just don’t know how to solve the damn issue?
8/ How do u feel we could help our country be at the level it should be?
Fightin’ ignorance, fightin’ lazyness, fightin’ poor mentalities… will help us implement better regulatory policies, make people gain more awareness on social issues and give them enough power decision to state on global and integrated models of development.
9/ Do u feel that the new African woman the one that's been abroad and came back is well represented in the African media?
I guess she is but it all depend on what she says when given the chance to interact with them and how the audience reacts to that content she serves… A woman that have done god-knows-wat- while abroad and now - that she is home - pretend to be a role model…. in the Fashion Industry is more likely to attract media focus (en tt cas au galsen) than the one with a PHD in Sociology that advocates for small responses from Government and the Civil Society toward local youth forced and dangerous immigration trials…
10/What African magazines do you read?
Reussir, le magazine du bizness and Jeune Afrique…that’s about it.
11/What African products(it could be beauty, stores ) do u use faithfully?
Shea butter (for my hair and skin) and natural soaps made from honey and coconut… They can all be found at “La maison du karate” au marché Tilène.
12/What African stores do u go to ...or do u feel that u have to buy most of your stuff outside of senegal?
Moroccan cosmetics store; I just love what they do.
13/What would u like to change in your country?(specific things if possible)
A court terme, the political climate !
14/What are your ambitons?
Make my parents proud of the woman I tend to be
Become a loving mother and a faithful (dans le sens de constante) Muslim woman
Buy my own house in a couple of years (let say 5)
15/Do u feel fulfilled as a woman?
Define fulfilled Ma’aam… I am quite happy with my woman condition BUUUUT guys def’ have more chance then WE do… if it’s what you wanted to hear?!!!(lol)
16/If it was to do it again, would you have moved home earlier or not?
I like to think dat Allah knows better… HE is the ONLY one who decides wat and when is best … for each of us… So even though sometimes I do regret a lot, I am quite sure that this was just meant to be… and the rest is up to HIM.
17/How do u see the future of the Senegal?
Not a merry view… I’ll save you the horror details.
18/Who are your African role models, or women you admire?
My motha… my younger sista…for sooo many different reasons.
19/What challenges u face after having lived in the west for years?
Staying at my parents spot.
20/What do u miss?
My social life (friends, Chinese restaurants, Thursdayz at theatres…)
21/What are the hottest places in dkr?
Don’t know… I don’t go out really often and def’ not for clubbin’!!
22/Define ur style?
Tomboyish yet with a feminine and glamorous afrocentrik touch.
23/ what do u think of that western perception that we as african should know each other (meaning people from #parts of africa) they always assume that we know ethiopioan, or South Africa..etc...how do u feel about that?
Ignorance can be found anywhere. It is something that can be understandable when it comes to us (African folks) associating Japanese , Koreans an Chinese all in one… many people –no matter where they are from - always assume what sounds easy .
24/ Do u feel that African women are starting to appreciate more our African fabrics (wax..etc)?
Yes… but when you know that many GREAT designers have made million dollars sellin’ collection on it… let’s just hope that African wo gettin’ to wear more local fabrics will not be another trendy habits we have gain from abroad
25/Why is it that there's that perception that senegalese women are voleuses de maris ect?
I just can’t tell… ‘Voleuses de maris’ to me can leave everywhere… not only in Senegal!!
26/If someone was to come visit u in Senegal apart from the tourist areas, where would u take them to have a good time?
Ngor (not Goree) Island… no place like it!
27/Do u feel that a lot of people back at home get married for the show?
Possibly…too bad for them
28/Last but not least, what do you know for sure in life?Your parents are the ONLY ONES who will really love and support you through bad times