Entrepreneurs, Woman of the Month

Ladybrille Woman of the Month, Senegal’s Yaye Marie Ba!

yayeGone are the days when mainstream media ignored blogs. Blogs and their authors are highly influential, wielding much power even in purchase decisions of their audience. The number of those who read blogs at least once a month has grown 300% in the past four years, and what they read strongly influences their purchase decisions, playing a key role in ushering them to the point of actual purchase, according to a BuzzLogic-sponsored study.” Read article “Blog Influence on Consumer Purchase Surpass Social Networks.”

In the African fashion blog world, there are less than a handful of blogs that wield such influence. One such blog is “Cos We are African” authored and published by Senegal’s Yaye Marie Ba. “Cos We Are African” is well researched, fun, thoughtful and always full of goodies on Africans across the continent and in the diaspora. Yaye does an excellent job highlighting African fashion and lifestyles, both for English and French speaking Africa. With such excellence and commitment to her work, we are delighted she is our Ladybrille Woman of the Month! Enjoy our interview with her.

LADYBRILLE.com: Hi Yaye. I am excited you are our Ladybrille Woman of the Month! Tell us a bit about you?
Yaye: Thank you for this. I am very humbled. My name is Yaye Marie Ba. I am from lovely Senegal, a beautiful country on the West Side of AFRIKA. I am half Malian and Senegalese and feel 100 percent African. Meeting so many beautiful people from Mama Afrika has just opened my eyes to our beauty, our diversity. I believe in our continent and I make it a duty [t]o learn and share the little I know about us “Fabulafricana” people.

LADYBRIILLE.com:What do you do full time?
Yaye: I work for an audit firm in Dakar the capital of Senegal.

LADYBRILLE.com: Why did you start the blog “Cos We are African”? Yaye: Good question. Just like many other women out there, I’ve been a fan of the famous Bella Naija.In fact, reading her made me wonder how come there were no blogs on all of us African people that I could relate to? How come I didn’t know much about a woman from Madagascar, for example, or a man from Botswana, a lady from Egypt, Tunisia, Niger etc. The one thing I was sure of and still am, is that there are some positive hard working African people out there that need to be celebrated. I believe that we are at a stage were we are still building our “self-esteem” as a continent. We are ready to say ‘yes look at us’, or ‘we can do it too.’ This has truly turned into a big passion of mine and I still get excited when I [discover] someone who in my [view] is doing their “thang” in whatever field, [whether] as a culinary chef, in the architecture field etc. . . I’m in awe . . .

LADYBRILLE.com: How long have you had your blog?
Yaye: I’ve had my e-bebe for two [2] years now. [Smiles]

LADYBRILLE.com: Your blog is very indepth. How do you find the time to maintain such rich blog?
Yaye: Ouhhhlala a lot of work. Since I’m so passionate about it, I can work on it for hours, sometimes all night. [laughs] It depends but I try to find the time really whenever I can . . .

LADYBRILLE.com: One of the things we love about your blog is the francophone aspect to it. How do you stay so connected to the African French speaking woman?
Yaye:I’m a huge magazine fan and I’m very curious. So tv, net, friends, people on the blog who give me tips and ask me to do research about specific people.

LADYBRILLE.com: What direction would you like to take Cos We are African?
Yaye: I would like to continue with this internet packaging and at some point turn it into a print publication. Inch’Allah.

LADYBRILLE.com: Who is your favorite African fashion designer?
Yaye: Way way too many! I like Bongiwe Walaza from South Africa, Hagamainty from Madagascar, I really like what he does. Toolah (Senegal),Funduzi [South Africa], Sun Goddess [South Africa], Zenka etc. . . Shall I stop? [Smiles

LADYBRILLE.com: [We get it.] [Laughs] What about jewelry?
Yaye: Tamacali [Mali] Inkenn [Niger], Ekoba Design [Togo].

LADYBRILLE.com: Who is your favorite African musician?
Yaye: Another tough one but Angelique Kidjo is by far my favorite musician out there. Not only for her music, but for her character. Listening to her powerful voice gives me the strength to push on. Oumou Sangare and Rokia Traore are also two of my favorites-two amazing voices from Mali, but I listen to musicians from all over our continent from Carmen Suza from Cap Vert [A Pennisula in Senegal and the Western most part of Africa], Kaysha from Congo, Magic System from Ivory Coast, Loide from Guinea Bissau, Estelle from Senegal , Lokua Kanza [and more].

LADYBRILLE.com: What is your favorite homemade food?
Yaye: Of course “tieboudiene”-our official dish in Senegal which is fried fish over fried tomato rice, “soupa kandja” another Senegalese dish made with palm oil and okra, maffe a dish from Mali made of peanut butter with okra on top of white rice.

LADYBRILLE.com: [Sounds delish!] Where is your ideal place on the continent for vacation?
Yaye: I would love to go the Zanzibar. I haven’ t had the chance yet but blogging about it has definitely made an impact on me. Asmara in Eritrea is fascinating to me due to the fact that it kept the marks of the Italian colonization.

LADYBRILLE.com: Give us the scoop on the current state of fashion in Senegal?
When I moved back home [Yaye was living in the USA before her relocation to back home], I was surprised to see that in Senegal the biggest trend is “back to the roots.” What I mean by that is that years ago, Fridays were commonly the days when women dressed traditionally. Now, every day is Friday and the tailors are doing an amazing job being more inovative each day. Vivid colors are big, woven loincloth are huge, ganila bazin are huge trends, basically celebrating your African identity each day is the biggest trend. Wax fabric is also making a strong entrance as well: yellow, blue, green, pink. Senegalese women are very very feminine. . .

LADYBRILLE.com: Who are the hottest designers we should know about in Senegal?
Adama Paris who started Senegal Fashion week is doing an amazing job, Diouma Dieng who is one of the major pioneers of Senegalese fashion is still doing her thing,Cole Ardo Sow, Amayel, Toolah.

LADYBRILLE.com: What are the hottest street wear right now?
Yaye:Babydolls, shirts over jeans, long summer dresses accentuated with big belt, dressed up shirts over jeans etc.

LADYBRILLE.com: What’s your daily blog fix?
Whenever I get the chance I read:
www.theperfecttouch.canalblog.com, and of course

LADYBRILLE.com:Thank you so much Yaye. We HEART your blog.
Thank you! I’m turning thirty [30] this month so this interview has definitely made my month, and to you guys at Labybrille, you guys are doing an amazing job with your in depth interviews and portraits of the amazing people in the fashion world. [Smiles] Let’s keep doing it big for Africa. [Smiles]

Happy Birthday Yaye!

Ladybrille Woman

A running feature for 12 years on Ladybrille.com, The ‘Ladybrille Woman of the Month’ celebrates women in business and leadership, who empower themselves and others through their contributions and actions in their local and international communities. In 2014, the feature expanded to include a podcast show. If you would like to nominate a woman to be celebrated, please email [email protected].

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  1. Fanta says:

    This woman is an amazing person who I am proud to count among my friends!

    Well done, sister, you make us all proud!

  2. ewurabakuukua says:

    Yaye Marie,We miss you over here in the states but I am happy you are doing so well and having fun doing what you love.Congratulations on this one! It's huge!Bissous

  3. lamine says:

    Love your blog girl…..bizu from Atl

  4. Fafa says:

    She's a great blogger and I am happy to say I am an avid reader of her blog! She def keeps it interesting….Thanks for this great post.

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