On ne revient pas indemne du Forum de Saint-Louis …

Déjà, la route vous invite vers cette ville où le temps semble s’être arrêté. En traversant Thiès, ça et là des charrettes tirées par des chevaux où des ânes  nous renvoient  des images  anachroniques. Les baobabs de la savane majestueux et certainement centenaires nous saluent au passage, de leurs statures imposantes. , les Pastèques géantes ornent les bas côtés de la route, les vanneries multicolores nous font des clins d’œil. Tivaouvane la Sainte, bastion de la Tidjaniyya au Sénégal nerveuse à l’approche imminente du Gamou du Maouloud ne nous laisse pas indifférentes. Puis Guéoul, qui m’émeut , réveille mes souvenirs et tiraille mes cicatrices. C’est la ville où mon père est enterré. La ville où je venais saluer ma Grand-mère paternelle et mes Badienes (tantes paternelles)  lors de mes séjours au Sunugal. Je récite quelques sourates censées garantir le Paradis à tous mes ancêtres qui sont au cimetière. Nous roulons au son de Wally Seck et Sidiki Diabaté … Quand enfin, Ndar s’ouvre à nous, agitée et vive, fiévreuse et séduisante. Le pont Faidherbe symbole d’hier et d’aujourd’hui nous accueille sur son lit de métal.

Direction Poste de Logistique, Hôtel Rognat, Place Faidherbe où la belle Aita, qui n’a pas ménagé d’efforts pour gérer les hébergements nous attribue une chambre Keur Dada.

Saint-Louis nous y sommes, le Forum tant attendu, tant annoncé, tant espéré est là à quelques mètres de nous. Prêt à nous happer par son énergie, sa diversité, sa richesse.

Les Dakarois timorés et curieux m’ont maintes fois interrogée sur le thème. A chaque interrogation, j’essaie de leur expliquer que ce Forum tel que Doudou Diaw l’a rêvé il défie la règle  » ce qui se conçoit clairement s’énonce clairement « . Quand on rencontre Doudou , on est à face à un rêveur, un visionnaire, un bâtisseur , un humaniste d’une extrême générosité. Il ne s’encombre pas de phrases. Ses rêves il les partage, et si on est prêt pour l’aventure on se met en condition pour vivre cette utopie avec lui. Le monde entier est au rendez vous autour du Bateau Bou El Mogdad. Ici et là je retrouve des familiers : cousins, cousines, amis d’enfance venus de Paris , Abidjan où Dakar . Je reconnais des célébrités du monde de l’art, de la musique où de la Presse. Je retrouve l’Afrique du Nord, l’Afrique Centrale, en bref le monde entier est là prêt à expérimenter la vision de Doudou. Sans hésitation,  nous sommes venus sûrs que des moments d’exception nous attendaient, des instants d’émotions que seuls un visionnaire peut créer et surtout transmettre. Les scientifiques, les financiers , les artistes , les écrivains , les stylistes , les bohèmes , les chefs cuisiniers , les mannequins , les musiciens , les entrepreneurs ,les blogueurs,  les fous , les rêveurs , les illuminés, les ambianceurs, les artistes… Nous sommes tous là, euphoriques, heureux, en même temps curieux et impatients. Notre groupe éclectique et atypique se fond à Saint-Louis la séduisante et l’authentique. Nous fusionnons avec la ville, spectateurs d’un défilé de mode bigarré et artistique mettant en scène la créativité de la mode sénégalaise. L’altière Princesse Esther Kamatari s’invite sur le podium pour inspirer quelques sourires aux mannequins. L’artiste mon ami et frère Franck Fanny en fait de même. La foule jubile, les fous rires et les applaudissements fusent. C’est ça le Forum ! De l’improvisation, du cœur, le don de soi , des rires et des sourires spontanés  . Les scripts ne sont pas figés, ils évoluent et s’inventent au cours du temps , en fonction des espaces, de l’énergie  .

« Et si nous allions en boîte ? »  Émet jovialement un ami grand juriste Dakarois  après le spectacle du soir. Nous sommes sortis retrouver  un grand banquier de la sous région á l’Iguane Café. L’esprit décomplexé et positif du Forum nous habite tous. Ceux qui sont habitués aux grands rendez-vous de ce monde ont ressentis la même chose : Saint-Louis a pris le lead d’une Afrique qui s’assume et s’impose, une Afrique qui met en avant ses talents, ses intelligences et ses émotions pour une transformation effective et profonde.

Le plus grand choc a certainement été l’ouverture du Forum avec la musique Mandingue d’Ablaye Cissokho et le talent théâtrale de Nathalie Vairac. La rupture s’est déclarée dès le début : Inhabituelle  et profonde. L’Afrique se montre telle qu’elle est sans fards dans sa multiplicité et sa richesse, poétique, artistique et talentueuse.

Au Forum il n’y a pas d’élitisme, pas de discrimination par l’âge où la fonction, il n’y a que la richesse de l’humain qui est mise en valeur. La ville nous fait la fête et défile pour souhaiter la bienvenue aux nouveaux Saint-Louisiens que nous sommes. L’énergie est débordante, le savoir est enrichissant. je reconnais ça et là Didier Acouetey, Jean-Louis Billon, Stan Zeze, Diane Audrey Ngako, Alain Nkontchou , Abdoulaye Coulibaly du Forum de Bamako, Fatou N’diaye de Black Beauty Bag, Ma copine Ouli Sarr, Mossadeck Bally, Franck Fanny, Sonia Rolland , Chef Coco , Chef Pierre Thiam, Fleur Pellerin ,Fatimata Ly … Le pari de Doudou est relevé haut la main, les panels sont riches, brillants et exceptionnels. L’expression est libre et libérée. je m’exalte, je m’abreuve, je m’interroge. Les idées reçues sont bousculées, les opinions s’entrechoquent, l’Afrique est repensé sans intellectualisme ni pédantisme mais avec générosité, humanité, authenticité et inclusion. Les panels sont passionnants et le format  interactif. Les panelistes sont en milieu de salle en symbiose avec l’audience. La ville nous enveloppe de son charme. La déco made in Sénégal de notre hôtel Keur Dada  nous émeut ma cousine Safiya et moi, bassang au sol, couvre- lit en basin, rideaux en thioup , andou thiouraye aux effluves de gowê et d’encens dès le matin ;Vue sur le fleuve au petit déjeuner et jus de fuis locaux faits maisons délicieux.  Les personnalités sont humaines, sans artifices, humbles et sympathiques. Le rêve de Doudou est devenu une belle réalité, émouvante et sincère. Au Quai des Arts, le concentré d’énergies créatrices et positives est énergisant. Les égos sont restés sur la route, PDG, ministre, Influenceurs et autres célébrités sont justes là abordables et disponibles, le regard curieux et enjoué….

Le Forum de Saint-Louis bouscule tous nos sens. En effet les grands chefs du continent sont présents : Je retrouve Pierre Thiam que j’avais rencontré à New-York en 2015 et revois Coco Reinharz mon cousin du Congo qui nous avait régalés lors d’une soirée de Gala mémorable au début du mois de Novembre l’Ile Maurice. Mamane, Gohou et Digbeu nous font rire aux éclats dès la première soirée.  Les rencontres sont belles, les conversations brillantes. Réunir tous ces talents divers qui font notre fierté c’est  un message d’espoir fort.

La magie du concert de clôture me donne encore des frissons de bonheur : Ray Lema et Manu Dibango ensemble pour l’apothéose du Forum. Le piano et le saxo pour des rumbas qui me rappellent ma ville d’adoption Kinshasa. Finalement Saint-Louis c’est l’Afrique, et quand Helmie, Benji, Ménélik, Ange Fandoh, Nancy Murillo , Ablaye Cissokho montent sur scène pour un bœuf final nous ne savons plus si nous devons rire où pleurer devant le trop plein d’émotions . L’histoire retiendra ces moments pour la postérité. Dernières soirées pour les derniers échanges qui jusqu’au bout furent généreux et édifiants. Il y a de la magie dans l’air au Cocktail chez Doudou .J’ai trouvé l’Afrique dont j’ai toujours rêvée dans la ville de mes aïeules, étrange coïncidence. Escales shopping d’abord chez la styliste Rama Diaw qui m’avait préparée 3 belles tenues chatoyantes et élégantes puis virée à l’Expo vente de mon amie d’enfance le joaillier Kareem Fadika. Une véritable caverne d’Ali Baba des bracelets en pierres semi précieuses à porter par 5 où plus , des bagues en pierres précieuses , des colliers aux couleurs chatoyantes où une équipe joyeuses de femmes de gouts se sont fait plaisir . Le Forum de Saint-Louis c’est aussi ça une plateforme d’expositions ouvertes aux créatifs.

Au retour sur Dakar avec mes aînés Maguette et Gaby Lopes, nous nous arrêtons au comptoir « Au fil du fleuve » pour un petit déjeuner pas ordinaire qui a réveillé tous nos souvenirs d’enfance au Sénégal. Bourakhe, Siddem, bouille, fonde, confitures exotiques de Papaye basilic et farandoles de goûts, une véritable expérience gastronomique matinale dans un cadre magnifique décoré avec des meubles dessinées par notre hôtesse. Marie-Caroline à elle seule est une légende Saint-Louisienne. J’y reviendrai un jour. La balade continue dans la ville. Nous nous arrêtons au musée de la photo qui lui aussi nous nourrit de ses belles surprises. Je me retrouve nez à nez avec moi même immortalisée par Joana Choumali dans sa série « Résilientes ». Un  vrai retour aux sources pour moi Domou Ndar Internationale. Encore moi,  debout à côté de Faty dans un cliché vintage Vintage de Malick Welli pris quelques mois auparavant à Saint-Louis. Je réalise que ce Forum est plus qu’une conférence pour moi, c’est un parcours initiatique, un voyage au bout de moi même, un retour aux sources plein d’émotions et de questions sans réponses. Merci Doudou pour ce rendez-vous magique et surréaliste. Je ne sais pas vous mais moi je suis une autre moi plus Saint-Louisienne et donc plus Africaine. A bientôt Ndar, Je reviendrai!

©Nabou FALL

A long walk to freedom: The legacy of Nelson Mandela

There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires. – Long Walk to Freedom

RIP Nelson Rohlilahla Mandela  18/07/1918-5/12/1013


My Tribute To Madiba 

“Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.” –  

Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished. – Nelson Mandela


A great man is gone, a legend is born. Africa has lost a freedom fighter & gained a valuable role model leaving us with an invaluable legacy. 

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination” Nelson Mandela

Besides the mourning, the tributes & the emotions the iconic man’s loss has aroused, I believe that Mandela is one of those immortal beings who transcend death & time through their heritage. 

« I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself. » Nelson Mandela on peace 

His life is a testimony impacting  the lives of the present generation & will  also touch the future ones. I reminisce Mandela & Deklerk walking side by side that day of February 1990. 

I always knew that someday I would once again feel the grass under my feet and walk in the sunshine as a free man. – Long Walk to Freedom. Mandela on hope

It was winter in Paris & tears started rolling down on my cheeks. I was strangled with emotions & mixed feelings. I was torn between hate for apartheid, relief & sadness for Mandela. He was free but he was old. But the future showed us that age is not a fatal issue when you are destined for greatness.

I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.  I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended. – Long Walk to Freedom- Nelson Mandela on empowerment

I was aware of witnessing a unique moment of history. The oppressor & the oppressed together as one got a Nobel Prize for peace, another moment in history I am not ready to forget. 

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies” Nelson Mandela

Just few years later, in 1996, as a young executive in telecommunications, based in Abidjan, I was given the opportunity to do an internship at MTN offices in South Africa. I was in my 20’s & visiting the country of Mandela had been on my bucket list from the day apartheid regime was dismantled. 

I am the product of Africa and her long-cherished view of rebirth that can now be realized so that all of her children may play in the sun. –Nelson Mandela  

However, in those days, even though black, white, Indians, colored etc. were supposed to live together as one, I could feel the stigmas of almost 50 years of racial discrimination within the South African Society. Clearly, the black population was still scarred &desperately was trying to integrate fully to the ideal of rainbow nation of Madiba. 

The time for the healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come. The time to build is upon us. Nelson Mandela on peace

On a Friday evening, at MTN offices, we had a get together with the staff & each community was sticking to its people. As a cosmopolitan person & an outsider to that society, I was going from one group to the other, a bit uncomfortable but trying to remind to myself that it was a new country, with new codes & that they needed time to understand each other’s. 

“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Mandela on freedom

Mandela dreamt of a united South Africa where all the citizens, regardless of their race or skin color would work as one. His aim was to build a discrimination free country where forgiveness, peace, tolerance & understanding would prevail. 

‘When I walked out of prison,that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Nelson Mandela on love

He showed a sense of integrity& respect towards what was South Africa: a multi racial nation. As a man he publicly admitted his weaknesses when him & Winnie agreed to divorce instead of just pretending it was ok like so many couples do. As a leader he left his Presidential office without being forced, teaching a great lesson of humility & democracy to many African head of States clinging on to power like their life depended on their positions. 

 am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying must step down while there are one or two people who admire me. The time is always right to do right. Nelson Mandela on humility

Madiba awakened hope in the heart of the hopeless, he showed the world that legendary leaders can emerge in the midst of chaos, shaping a new perspective for a youth in despair. 

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” Nelson Mandela on Afroptimism

From my first trip in South Africa, I came back with a book that would impact my perspective on life forever: “A long walk to freedom”. Mandela’s life is a story of endurance, courage, faith, persistence & generosity. 

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Mandela on endurance

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up” Mandela on persistence

“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Long Walk to Freedom. Mandela on courage

As an actor of our history, his memoirs taught me one simple thus beautiful lesson: As long as you have a long healthy life, a strong will & good heart, there is space & time for your dreams.

“A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens but its lowest ones.” Nelson Mandela on Respect & leadership

“It always seems impossible until it’s done. « 

Mandela on Faith

By holding on to his values & to his dreams, Mandela was given the blessing to become the first black president of South Africa at 76 years old. So don’t give up! As you long as you have faith, courage & persistence, your dreams may come true. 

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Nelson Mandela on generosity 


Naboulove©2013

The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement! Nelson Mandela

There is strenght in weakness… 

You dont have to be always Strong, there is strenght in weakness. 

Life is a cycle with ups & down, a war front where we face daily challenges & overcome struggles.  They can be the loss of a loved one, a break Up, a necessary change of lifestyle , the  fight for survival , a chronic disease…
 It Has been a cliché to praise strong women & men , to do the apology of emotionless super heroes and forget that after all, we are all so human, So vulnerable,  So sensitive & breakable.   I think the trend pushing us into pretending to be strong & unbreakable is the greatest disease of our Times . We refrain from crying, avoid showing our heartaches & ignore the healing process attached to any brutal event that May affect our lives. Emotionally we need to allow ourselves to go through the process that will lead us to acceptance. Instead of doing so, we shut our feelings, pretend to be fine,  fake happiness & move on , unaware that we are broken inside. And unknowingly, ONE Day we have symptoms of PTSD (post traumatric stress disorder) caused by the absence of grieving from a traumatizing experience. Myself ,I have often appeared as being the Strong woman , the leading sister in control, seemingly happy & smiling through hell . I was taught that a strong woman keeps her pain to herself. I was raised as a Fulani not to show off my emotions & feelings & never to expose my weaknesses.  But life has taught me a different lesson:  I have come to realize that being down & low is a strenght that will allow me to heal properly , to have thinner scars , to repair the broken parts of me. Skipping that stage is what contributes to Create nervous breakdown,  bitterness & a feeling of unhappiness that can’t be explained or defined . Go back to your abandonned heartaches, list them, face them, evaluate their level of healing, act upon them , grieve, hate , cry, then soothe, forgive & start healing by mending your open scars. All the wounds you left open inside you, that may affect Your emotional well Being , allow them to be closed & heal as needed . Talk to whoever you need to , forget about the African « What People would think » drama ,after all they are as human & vulnerable as you are, ignore the How  society would judge  you » & share your suffering . If It means talking to a shrink , do It. If It means crying in the arms of your mother or siblings, do it, however you need to let It Out, just do It. Dont Keep that poison inside you , let It flow, let It build you, let It strenghten you , then you will be ready to move on permanently. 
Beware,  I Never said you should mourn forever but give It a timeframe that will allow you to come out of it refreshed not broken into pieces. We are not super heroes of fiction with magic Powers that Will Help us heal in minutes , We are just humans regardless of our age, position or gender , We have feelings , We have weaknesses, We have empathy & we cannot shut our human side in the name of appearing strong for the sake of appearances. 

Be empowered by your weaknesses 
Naboulove 

To the hearts I have broken : please forgive me. 

​I spent so much time in pain dwelling  about heartbreaks & darkness in my soul. I cried out torn by an Insane love story in which I was the victim & the other was the eternal heartbreaker. Wait a minute!  Rewind…  How many hearts have I broken myself?  In the selfishness of my egotistical relationships drama do I ever think about those who may be the victims?  And you do you ever put yourself in the shoes of those you may have hurt.  Do you think about that guy who loved you that you tried loving and left just because you never fell in love with him? You remember his name?  Have you ever felt any compassion for his pain?  I didn’t. I just moved on carelessly & felt like I was right because I didn’t love him.  

What about that amazing guy who made a small mistake but you just couldn’t forgive him in the name of your misled & misplaced pride.  

You are not the only one worthy of forgiveness. 

So this it the other way round. They may call it Karma. I just call it life path.  That path is not easy to walk and we must not only be self centered & self conscious but we must also care about those who love us.  How many friends have we hurt knowingly or unknowingly?  Did we even try to understand the why & how? 

I tried to dig inside my selfish self & managed to remember the hearts I may have broken , torn or bruised:   Family members, friends or lovers?  It is not a very agreeable exercise but I realized it helps.  Hurting hurts & feeling uneasy about what we did confirms it wasn’t right. What doesn’t feel good and right is generally bad & wrong.  We are not just the result of our pains. We are also the product of our guilt trips.  To all the hearts I may have broken consciously or unconsciously FOrgive me as I am working towards self forgiveness. It is not about stating excuses or giving explanations but just about consciously acknowledging that I am not nicer than those who have hurt me.  I am also responsible for some pains & some people think about me as the person who killed their hopes at a given time in life.  I had to unlove them then for some reasons that seemed valid to me at that time.  Exactly the same way, those who hurt me had to do so to find their own peace of mind when it happened.  I replaced blame shifting ,  guilt tripping & remorses with responsibility. And here I am before the world finding peace in awareness & taking responsibility for hearts broken on my life path.  

Peace Love & Light.  It is never the end as long as you breathe. 

Be Empowered because you are powerful. 

Naboulove

HAPPY NEW YOU 2013!

We thank God , we survived wars, shootings, accidents, floods, Mayan predictions, our neighbours’ loud music, etc. It may sound funny but it is not for each minute of life we have is a blessing. We may be hurt, scorned, depressed, lonely, or none of the above, whatever counts is being ALIVE. So let’s make the most of this coming year by being OURSELVES as much as we can, move on & up as far as we allow ourselves to go & don’t withhold on who you are no matter what. Lire la suite HAPPY NEW YOU 2013!

African Love stories romance Relationtionships