Speak Up Afric’Art: “LINGEER”, yesterday, today and tomorrow, female leadership and the versatility of African women through art and creativity

Press Release • 18 May 2024

May 18, 2024, Dakar, Senegal – In Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa is partnering with Mohamed A. Cissé, an art curator, to celebrate and magnify the leadership of African women through art and creativity. Eight “Lingeer” (Sister or Wife of the King in Wolof) participated in this exhibition aimed at amplifying the voices and profiles of African LeadHERS, innovative and visionary women who contribute to transformational change on the continent.

Gender equality is a fundamental human right, vital for a prosperous world and Africa. However, currently it is estimated that it will take more than 120 years to close gender gaps in sub-Saharan Africa, and more than 135 years to achieve equity in pay and leadership. As an organization led by women, gender equality is in the DNA of Speak Up Africa, which has developed its own gender strategy to best integrate it into the different themes on which the organization works such as fight against malaria, neglected tropical diseases or research and development for global health.

Through the Lingeer exhibition, we wanted to highlight the women who make Senegal and Africa, a varied group of creatives, athletes, activists, artists and organizational leaders, who through their daily actions fight for the rights of all women. Art is a powerful platform for creating lasting change for gender equality. Together, through diverse voices and pathways, we can achieve an Africa where each and every woman can realize her full potential.

Yacine Djibo, Executive Director of Speak Up Africa

In 1995, the United Nations Conference on Women was held in Beijing. While this Conference marked a turning point in terms of commitment to gender equality, the Generation Equality Forum, co-chaired by France and Mexico, more than two decades later, showed that we were far away achieved our objectives in the field. This Forum was an opportunity for Speak Up Africa to launch its “African LeadHERs” campaign. Through this movement, Speak Up Africa collaborates with leaders from all sectors of society, including sport, fashion, culture and art, to work together creatively to build a stronger, more vibrant world. fair and more inclusive.

I had a great pleasure in leading the Artistic Direction of this project. I say project, because it is more than an exhibition. It is first of all the fruit of meetings between people from different horizons and backgrounds, who have found complementarity. It is then the achievement of a common vision, in the service of a cause: gender equality. All of this resulted in this exhibition which, we hope, will resonate widely.

Mohamed A. Cissé, Art Curator and co-creator of the Lingeer project

The Lingeer exhibition, designed and organized as part of the Dakar Biennale and ahead of Africa Day (May 25), highlights through the creative eye of the young and talented photographer Khalifa Hussein, the extraordinary women who are: Rajah Sy, Director, Special Olympics Senegal and key partner of Speak Up Africa, Ndeye Dossou Ndiaye, Coordinator of the women’s program at the NBA Academy Africa and mentee of the “BAL4HER meets African  LeadHERs” initiative, Awa Cissé, Marketing Manager, Basketball Africa League, Fatimata Sy, Executive Secretary of ASAFE, an organization based in Guediawaye which is part of the Voix EssentiELLES initiative in Senegal, Imaan Gaye, Ceramist and social entrepreneur, Khadija Aisha Ba, Founder of L’Artisane Shop, Audrey D’Erneville, Artist and painter and Samira Fall, Poet and slammer and writer.

In 2023, Speak Up Africa partnered with the African Basketball League to launch the “Teaming Up: BAL4HER Meets African LeadHERs” mentorship program, which uses sport as a key driver of gender equality and social and economic transformation in Africa by strengthening, through modules and collaboration with exceptional mentors, the employability of young women in the sports industry on the continent.

I am truly humbled to be part of this incredible project with Speak Up Africa. It fills my heart with love and gratitude. Together we are creating a powerful map of change and raising awareness of gender equality. I am honored to stand alongside this organization, and these extraordinary women, on this journey. Let’s continue to inspire and make a difference!

Ndeye Dossou Ndiaye, Coordinator of the women’s program at the NBA Academy Africa and mentee of the “BAL4HER meets African LeadHERs” program.

While health and sanitation are at the heart of Speak Up Africa’s strategic priorities, the engagement of women and youth is also a pillar of the organization, which works, through initiatives such as Voix EssentiELLES, in Burkina Faso, in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, to support women-led civil society organizations, in order to strengthen their capacity and participation in decision-making processes that affect their health.

In a society that confines women to limited roles, it is imperative that they break down barriers and assert themselves as autonomous agents of their own destiny. As a woman, I refuse to shrink myself to socio-cultural diktats that hinder my development and my freedom of expression. Art is a powerful tool that allows us to raise our voices, let’s use this platform to transform our society and thus end the injustices that overwhelm women and girls in Africa

Fatimata Sy, Executive Secretary of ASAFE and Voix EssentiELLES of Senegal

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