You Should Know: Miriama Ba

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Name: Miriama Ba

Years: 1929-1981

Field: Literature

Country of Origin: Senegal

Perhaps best remembered for her novel, So Long A Letter (original: “Une Si Long Lettre”), Mariama brought attention to the plight of women in post-colonial Africa. Her works are undoubtedly always referred to in the discourse about Feminism in the African context.

So Long A Letter, a book written in letter form deals with the intersection of marriage and religion as it talks about issues like Polygamy and Women’s Rights. It won the first Noma Award for Literature in Africa in 1980, shortly before her death.

Her life teaches us that: it is possible to use one’s situation to advocate for others. Other than being a novelist, Mariama Ba was also an activist and teacher. Reflecting on her experiences as a woman, a wife, a single mother of 9 children, she often advocated for women’s rights by giving speeches and writing articles calling for more opportunities for women.

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