Who is Ndéye Séne Mbaye ? 

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Hello, I am a young African woman in my late twenties, native of Dakar, Senegal. Senegal is a West African francophone country off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. I came to Montreal in 2004 to attend University and I have now settled in this beautiful city. I have studied and I now work in the financial markets in a local bank.

I am banker, but I am interest in several things. I love history, economy of development, African literature, religious studies, learning new languages, agriculture, gender issues, women empowerment, poverty eradication, entrepreneurship, volunteering, business, politics and international politics. I stay up-to-date and current on all these subjects. I try!

I have a lot of hobbies as well. But if I had too named only four, I would say reading, watching movies (mostly Indian African and Korean), writing (I blog and guestblog on 6 websites), traveling and learning (I have pile on several university degrees).

What is your passion in life? Why?

I have several passions actually.

First, my love of reading borders obsession. I read approximatively two books per week, which is a lot considering all my other commitments. The more I read, the more I want to read even more. What do I read? Anything, the only genre I don’t read in sci-fi. (Fiction, non-fiction, politics, economy, finance, fashion, biography, current affairs…you name it)

Second, my love for reading made me develop other interests (the one mentioned above)

 How did you discover it?

As long as I can remember, I have been reading. My mother is the one who made me develop this habit. In primary school, we used to go shopping for books all the time. I had my library very early on and since then it kept growing. Then in secondary school, I was totally obsessed with the school’s library, I used to sneak in the bathroom and read. (Imagine!) I even used to read instead of doing my homework. I never really stop reading even after I grow up and when to University. I do read with the same intensity than 15 years ago when it all started.

 I have other passions as well. I always say I am a woman of great passions. For example, I am obsessed with Africa, anything African. Notice that I say African and not Senegal. Not only about the development issues but about fashion, books, literature, hairstyle, movies, culture, ethnic groups…I am fascinated by the fact we are the same people but somehow we are different. There is so much more to learn about the African people. Whenever I think about it I am excited.

What do you like to talk about with your friends?

African renaissance and how to power it and be part of it. For us African Diaspora, it’s all about the development of the continent. How to use the skills we have acquired overseas, to move our countries forward? We also talk a lot about politics which is related to my previous point.

We also talk about music, movies, books, fashion and pop culture in general.

What would you regret not having tried? What is keeping you from doing it?

Honestly, there are not many things that I regret not doing. Simply because, the problem that I have is the other way around. I tried too many things; I want to try everything. You can understand how that is an issue. Whenever I have an idea, you can be sure that I will try out if not right away, then as soon as possible.

For example, I love shoes so I though why not start a business selling very unique shoes for the fashionista that is in you. I did, I launched my brand Only4Fashionistas (http://www.facebook.com/only4fashionistas) in November 2012. And it is doing very well in less than a year of existence.

I love reading and Africa, so I said to myself why not put the two together. I launched a blog (http://booksundertheneemtree.com) about African literature, where I discuss books about Africa or by African authors. I am especially exited about this project; it is doing so very well.

I adore learning new languages, so I have challenged myself to learn 8 new languages before I left the earth. Hopefully, I will be around for a while. I start learning Hindi two years ago (remember I love Indian movies). My next move is learning Swahili next December, that’s when I will be certified intermediary in Hindi.

This is just 3 projects that I have tried out. I have many more not so successful. I strongly believe in trying things, failing sometimes but still moving forward.

What makes you smile, makes you happy whenever you encounter it?

I like to see black people doing great. I also like to see women making it.Black or otherwise.

On another register, whenever I have a book written by an African, I am so very happy.  I like to read stories of my own people. It’s one of the reasons why I start blogging about African authors.

I am also happy to be living in 2013 where you can be whatever you want to be. You just have to decide!

Odds & Ends

I can be find on twitter most of the time, follow my personal account @ndeyesene , follow my blog @undertheneemtre for anything book and African, follow my business @o4fashionistas for all the news, sales and promotions of very unique shoes and finally follow @FashionNbrunch a very unique shopping experience for futures dates.

I also guestblog on several websites:

  1. Afrokanlife.com: I write mainly about books in this webzine, From time to time I might write about other topics too.
  2. ElleAfrique.com: I write about African women and their place in the struggle to put women in the forefront. I might be writing about fashion sometimes.
  3. Mots-delles.com: I write about women making it in the business world. I might dish in some books recommendation for the busy corporate executives.

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