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Senegalese-Born Sibeth Ndiaye Named Government Spokeswoman In France

Her appointment has been called "a strong endorsement of diversity" by President Macron, but some are skeptical.

In a series of cabinet changes made by France's President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the European Parliament elections, Senegalese-born media advisor Sibeth Ndiaye has been given the prestigious title of government spokeswoman.

Born in Dakar, 39-year-old Ndiaye is the first person of African-descent to hold the position. She became a French citizen in 2016 when working as communications advisor for Macron's presidential campaign, Yahoo News reports. Ndiaye comes from a family of politicians, her mother was president of Senegal's Constitutional Council.

Ndiaye has been dedicated to the president since, reportedly telling a French newspaper that she'd be "perfectly comfortable lying to protect the president," according to BBC Africa. Though she later denied making the statement, incidents such as these have made her a target for criticism in opposition circles.

READ: Why Harassing Powerful Black Women Is Fair Game In France


"France has given me a lot. Today, it's my turn to give something back," she said during a handover ceremony in which she took over the role previously held by Benjamin Griveaux, who resigned last week to run for mayor of Paris.

She also praised her family for helping her and her sisters "break glass ceilings."

"Her nomination is a strong endorsement of diversity in a high-profile job, a promotion and a sign of the president's trust," said Philippe Grangeon, one of Macron's top advisers of Ndiaye's promotion.

Ndiaye is the second Senegalese-born woman to hold a prominent title in the French government. Senegalese-born politician Rama Yade, who held several positions in former right-wing president Nicolas Sarkozy's cabinet.

President Macron, who visited Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya on a three-day tour earlier this month, has drawn criticism for France's increasing military presence in West Africa. His true commitment to diversity has come into question before, and again following the appointment of Ndiaye.

Minorities, specifically black women in France continue to face difficulties rising to high political positions, and when they do they are often subject to harassment.

Nonetheless, many online are celebrating Ndiaye's new appointment.



Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images.

Thandiswa Mazwai to Host 'Play Your Part Africa' Virtual Concert

'King Tha' will commemorate Africa Day with a virtual concert set to take place on May 30th.

South African musician Thandiswa Mazwai or "King Tha" as she's affectionately known, is set to bring the Africa Month celebrations to an end with a virtual concert commemorating Africa Day this Saturday on May 30th. The "Play Your Part Africa" concert is a collaboration between Brand South Africa, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture as well as Constitution Hill which has hosted major cultural and historic events over the years.

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Photo courtesy of @sahraisha

#BlackOutEid​: Young Black Muslims Shine as They Celebrate Eid

Young Black Muslims have found creative ways to celebrate community and share their best Eid looks, even as they #StayAtHome.

Eid Mubarak to our Muslim fam! Today marks Eid al-Fitr, the official end of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Despite things being a little different this year (on account of the current pandemic, of course) this hasn't stopped many from finding creative ways to fast, pray and connect with their community during these times. It certainly hasn't stopped young Black Muslims from participating in the virtual tradition known as #BlackOutEid while they continue to #StayAtHome.

#BlackOutEid is an annual celebration which highlights the diversity within the Muslim world. It began in 2015, when Aamina Mohamed created the hashtag to combat the erasure of Black people within the community. Since then, the hashtag has been used across social media with Black Muslims using it to share their sharpest Eid looks.

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Rebuilding the Nigerian Fashion Industry After Coronavirus

While the style capital of Africa remains shuttered, Nigerian fashion insiders have an ambitious plan to forge an independent path in a post-COVID world.