#Okay100Women

SONA JOBARTEH

OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrates African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

Men have been traditionally associated with the kora instrument,  for the past seven centuries in West Africa. This ancient practice did not stop Sona Jobarteh from mastering the art, and mesmerizing her fans all over the world with her talent.


Jobarteh remains one of the continent’s most distinctive instrumentalists and performers, who is credited as a singer-songwriter. Some of Jobarteh vocals appeared in the Hollywood film, Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom and she composed music for the film score for Motherland: The Score.

Since the release of her 2011 acclaimed album, "Fasiya", the singer has focused on managing a school she co-founded, Amadu Bansang Jobarteh School of Music, which is named after her late grandfather who was a master griot and one of Gambia’s leading kora players.

Jobarteh has made history as a first female kora player, and continues to enrich the lives of those who hear her music, and look up to her as a teacher and community leader.

—JO

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

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On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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