Skip to content

Tag: Senegal

Six Bougies: Personal and Home Accessories Set to the Backdrop of West Africa

If you’re interested in textiles, a trip to Dakar will feel like you’ve hit the jackpot. You’ll find a dazzling array of fabrics from across the region at huge, never-ending markets such as HLM, high-end boutiques, roadside stalls, and even in your local corner shop.

The choice of fabrics and ease of being able to produce high-quality items by excellent tailors was one of the reasons which inspired Kim Rochette and Megan Carpenter to start Six Bougies, a Dakar based home décor and personal accessories range that fuses West African textiles and patterns with a Western aesthetic. Rebecca Hughes came onboard in 2015, after Megan left Dakar.

Inspired by the light and colours of West Africa, this brand has a fresh, global feel. A couple of their bogolan fabric pillows can easily add elegance and interest to a drab sofa, or a pop of their signature turquoise and coral in the form of a clutch bag livens-up a plain outfit. Their simple, clean, designs let the amazing fabrics speak for themselves.

Recently, I spoke to this lovely, talented and textile-crazy pair to find out more about their company, their design inspirations, and to get some insider tips on buying fabric in Dakar.

Where did the idea for Six Bougies come from?

K: When we first came to Dakar, we were captivated by the selection of fabrics and textiles from all over West Africa, and loved the ability to have clothing and accessories custom-made. We began contemplating the idea of a small business sourcing fabrics and commissioning clothes and accessories from local tailors and in 2013, Six Bougies was born!

What are some of your design inspirations?

R: We’re inspired by the vibrant colours and patterns we see in the city. We love how Senegalese men and women are bold and fearless with their colour choices and put intricate, elaborate detail into custom-made outfits for everyday wear. Six Bougies aims to translate this local inspiration into original, daring clothing, accessory and home décor designs that will appeal to Senegalese and international clients alike.

Man modelling a red Six Bougies wax print tie.

Six Bougies pink patterened duffel bag.
Wax print tie (top) and wax and bogolan duffel bag

K: I’ve lived in Senegal for six years and definitely agree with Becky on the colour and personal style so prominent in Dakar. I’m also very inspired by the use of colour and design in unexpected places like on car rapides, pirogues, and in mosques. The tropical climate also serves as inspiration as it lends itself to an indoor/outdoor, laidback style both for clothing and home décor.

What makes Six Bougies unique?

K: We aim for impeccable design and quality, ethically made and at a reasonable price. Our signature aesthetic features unexpected textile, pattern and colour combinations, while maintaining a classic, fresh style.

R: We’re especially committed to using locally made fabrics as often as possible such as indigo, bogolan, woven fabric and wax prints produced in Africa (woodin, uniwax etc.) and are devoted to supporting the local garment industry.

A selection of Six Bougies pillows on a sofa.

What is your all-time favourite Six Bougies product?

R: I love our pagne tissé clutch. I use mine all the time and it’s great for travelling as it fits my passport and other important documents while still looking stylish.

K: I love wearing a flowy blouse we make with Mauritanian voile fabric; it’s breezy and comfortable, perfect for a hot climate or layered under a cardigan. I’m also obsessed with pillows, and I love all our pillow designs – bogolan, indigo, pagne tissé, and wax alike!

Rebecca Hughes modelling a Mauritanian voile fabric Six Bougies top in blue.

Pink and blue Six Bougies Pagne Tisse clutch bag on wooden table.
Mauritanian voile fabric top (above) and pagne tissé clutch bag

What are the home décor trends you’re loving right now?

R: In the home décor world, mudcloth pillows are currently super popular. I like this trend because they’re neutral but still offer a “global” pop, and can easily be mixed with other colours.

K: Indigo is becoming increasingly popular as well. In general, I love white/neutral walls and bringing in colour and pattern through global, textured home décor accessories like pillows, throws, baskets and decorative items. I see this style a lot on home décor blogs, especially in Californian and Australian homes.

Six Bougies co-founders Rebecca Hughes and Kim Rochette with their favourite indigo supplier at Soumbedioune market in Dakar.
Rebecca and Kim with their indigo supplier at Soumbedioune market in Dakar

What are the most challenging aspects of running a business?

R: Since Kim and I both have other careers, it can be challenging to balance a second job on top of our other responsibilities.

And the most rewarding?

R: The most rewarding aspect is the design process as well as working with our team of artisans. I love imagining the colour combination possibilities.

K: I agree, building relationships with artisans has been very important. And, of course, seeing the fruit of that collaborative process feels pretty great – especially spotting a Six Bougies blouse on the streets of Dakar! Knowing that people share our design aesthetic, value ethical shopping, and are enjoying Six Bougies products – there’s nothing more rewarding to me.

A tailor sewing pillows with a Singer sewing machine

Two female tailors at work
(From top) Six Bougies Tailors Bouba, Penda and Adji

How does Six Bougies give back to the local community?

R: In a big-picture sense, we are a socially-responsible business providing employment to local tailors and supporting the local garment industry.

K: The name Six Bougies comes from an iconic Vlisco wax fabric representative of female empowerment. Giving back to the local community – particularly women and families – has been a key part of the Six Bougies ethos from day one. As the company grows, we hope to formalise this commitment and brainstorm specific community projects beyond employing local artisans at above-market price. For now, clients can rest assured that they are purchasing ethically-made products that are directly supporting the local workforce.

What’s next for Six Bougies and where do you see the brand going in the next five years?

R: We’re scaling up! With the launch of our new website very soon, we hope to increase our sales overseas as well as create more of an internet presence.

K: We’re also hoping to work with more international wholesale clients to sell at a larger scale, ultimately bringing more jobs to our Senegalese tailors and artisans and hopefully leading to some meaningful community projects. Our co-founder Megan is now based in Los Angeles, and is setting up our international marketing on the West coast of the United States.

A stack of pink pagne tisse fabric.
Pagne tissé

And lastly, I can’t let you go without giving Palm Tree Tea readers some insider tip on buying textiles in Dakar!

K: Of course! Sourcing textiles is one of my favourite parts of Six Bougies. Dakar has tons of great places for hunting unique and beautiful textiles; for wax, I recommend HLM, of course, but Sandaga actually has a diverse and great selection as well, particularly of wax from Benin. For indigo and bogolan, I recommend Soumbedioune market.

R: I love ACOMA, it’s a co-op of weavers who came together in the 1980s. They weave all their fabric on site, and have a boutique there as well. They do custom orders and we try to work with them as often as we can. They’re located in Point E, right near the Ali Baba restaurant on the Rue de Ouakam.

 

Six Bougies is available to buy in Dakar at Keur Marie Ganaar, the arts and crafts cooperative in Mermoz. International orders can be placed through their Etsy shop, and you can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.

1 Comment

A Dakar Apartment Tour

img_9079

After two years, our apartment is finally starting to come together. I feel like we’ve managed to create a simple, stylish, yet comfortable space on a budget, something which can be quite hard to do in an expensive city like Dakar.

I thought I’d share some hints and tips on how we achieved a chic, yet affordable look.

img_9048

We had almost all our furniture made by a great local carpenter. The rest, we were lucky enough to inherit from family who were leaving. We find having furniture made using strong and sturdy local wood lasts much longer than the more expensive items you find at big department stores.

img_9007
Colourful Ghanaian throw on the sofa.

As it’s a rental apartment and we can’t change the walls, we used colourful, mainly African-inspired accessories like pillows, throws, rugs and baskets to add pops of colours to the neutral background.

img_8927

In one corner we have a couple of rainbow-coloured storage baskets which not only look pretty but are extremely useful for tidying away bits and pieces. We use them to store books, magazines and blankets for those (rare) chilly nights.

img_8960
I love succulents as they’re so easy to look after and do well in this climate. I put these into glass and steel bowls and added some colourful stones around the cactus.
img_9043
Our coffee table is actually two benches from our dining table pushed together. We almost always use them in this way, unless we’re having people over for dinner.
img_8950
Fairy lights along the top of the living room door add some sparkle at night-time.

Our hallway is quite spacious so we decided to use it as a separate dining room. We had this chunky wooden table and benches made by our carpenter.

img_9096

img_9106

img_9073

These glasses were formerly pasta sauce jars. They don’t break as easily as normal glasses, look lovely, and of course come free with your next pasta meal!

I hope you enjoyed this little insight into our living space. Let me know if you have any money-saving décor tips in the comments, and also if you would like to see more posts like this in the future.

Décor Details

White candles from Casino supermarket, wooden table and benches made by carpenter, curtain rails made by carpenter, curtain fabric bought and curtains made at Decotex, cream coloured rug from Orca, plates from shop next to Ouakam Market (a bargain at only 1000 CFA each!), catci and storage baskets bought from roadside vendors.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Palm Tree Tea by adding your email address to the form on right!

Leave a Comment

10 Tips for Life in Dakar

1.Walk Downtown on a Sunday. On a Sunday, you can wander peacefully around downtown Dakar (Plateau) to your heart’s content, without having to dodge traffic. Discover old colonial architecture on the roads around Rue Jules Ferry and Marché Kermel, and explore the Corniche (coast road) for spectacular views of Gorée Island and the beach at Anse Bernard.     

anse-bernard-dakar-001

2.Get to Know Your BBBs. This stands for Brochettes de Lotte, Beach and Bissap (or Beer!). If you’re wondering how to spend a free afternoon, this simple formula always works: find a place with a sea view, order some tasty fish kebabs along with your refreshing beverage of choice and you’ll have a wonderfully restorative couple of hours. Try the seafood shacks at Pointe des Almadies, Africa’s westernmost point.

brochette-chips

3.Enjoy the Nightlife (during the day). Dakar is famous for its nightlife, but the best of the action doesn’t normally start before 1am. If you find it hard to stay up that late, doesn’t mean you have to miss out. Look on listings websites like Agendakar to see what’s on during the day. Places like Goethe Institute in Point E often have concerts and other cultural events in the afternoons or early evenings, and they’re usually free.

IMG_1683

4.Love Your Neighbour. Community is important here, and it’s worth taking the time to get to know your neighbours and people you see on a daily basis. These are the folks who will brighten your day by offering you a cup of Attaya (traditional tea) or who will bring you home-cooked food for absolutely no reason at all.

5.Find Your Secret Spot. Mine is Le Calao, next to the Ngor Dioarama. It’s a nondescript blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hotel which has a stunning surprise at the end of its long driveway; a beautiful natural rock pool which looks out to Ngor Island. Perfect for a quiet swims and peaceful sunsets. Never crowded.

IMG_8062
The Rock pool at Le Calao

6.Eat Communal. Something I’d never done before coming to Dakar but now counts as one of my favourite activities is to eat around a communal food bowl. It’s a fun and relaxed way of eating that never fails to bring people closer together.

IMG_1439

7.Get Culturally Orientated. Gather a group of work colleagues or friends together and spend half a day having a fun, but in-depth workshop on all aspects of Senegalese culture at the ACI Baobab Center, including the etiquette for sharing a communal food bowl and the proper way to do greetings and goodbyes. You will feel instantly more confident in settling in when you know some of the cultural subtleties that might otherwise take years to discover.

418095833_64605e1465_o
Photo by Angela Sevin

8.Try Something New. Sabar drumming, African dance, Batik dyeing, Kora lessons; there are plenty of unique activities on offer here that will challenge your body and mind, and keep you entertained. Take advantage of your surroundings and try something different!

DSC_0127

9.Find Your Hole in the Wall. For tasty and inexpensive home-cooked food, look for places that get packed out at lunchtimes and join the queue. Le Prestige in Ouakam does a great Yassa Poulet (find it at the top of the road that goes from the Monument to the Brioche Dorée) and I have it on good authority that Mme Fatou Mbengue’s roadside stand is the go-to place for some of the tastiest Thieboudienne in Mermoz at 700 CFA per plate.

Le Prestige
Le Prestige

10.Get out often! Dakar can sometimes feel overwhelming, so make sure to take a break when you can. Head up the coast to a lovely spot like this, or if you’re pressed for time Ngor and Goree Islands provide the perfect quick escapes. Rest, re-charge and come back with a new appreciation for what this fantastic city has to offer.

View of Dakar from Ngor Island
5 Comments

A Senegalese Surf Story

Surfing 5

Surfing seems to encompass many of life’s most important feelings and states; you can find yourself being thrashed around, not quite sure where you’ll end up, or on the crest of a wave, perfectly in-sync with the sea. Then there is the downtime of waiting, almost meditatively, for the next wave to come. A delicate balancing act in which you can feel elated or defeated from one fleeting moment to the next.

One of the most surprising things I found when I moved to Dakar was that there was an active local surfing community – local, foreign, male, female, young and old – regularly out riding the crashing waves of the Atlantic, which hugs the city on all sides.

Surfing 4

I have friends who’ve become devotees of the sport, coming back from their mornings or afternoons at the beach sandy, sun-kissed and thoroughly blissed-out at having spent a couple of hours being tossed around by the sea. This made me curious to discover more about this unlikely community, and how the sport has come to find a home in Senegal.

IMG_0641

Jesper Mouritzen has done much to put Senegal on the map as one of the world’s most unique surfing destinations. Jesper, originally from Denmark, first came here on a trip with some friends in 2006. He fell in love with the country, and the surfer’s ‘holy trinity’ of warm water, consistent waves and empty line-ups.

Seven years ago he came back and opened a surf camp on the tiny Island of Ngor, where he lives with his wife and young daughter. I spoke with him about what makes surfing in Senegal special, and about life on Ngor, which only has 25 full-time residents.

Jesper Mouritzen with his family

“I guess the biggest difference here is the local surfers” says Jesper. “They’re open, welcoming and very friendly to foreigners. This can be the dark side of surfing in most places; an aggressive local surf scene trying to scare tourists away so they can have the waves to themselves. The thing that’s most positive about surfing in Senegal are the amazing locals giving everyone a good experience. ”

Surfing 3

Surfing 1

Another distinctive feature about surfing here is that the waves come in from the North Atlantic swell in winter, and the South Atlantic swell in the summer, making Senegal one of the only year-round surfing destinations in the world.

Ngor Island, five minutes by Pirogue from Dakar’s mainland, is home to Senegal’s most famous wave, Ngor Right, which was featured in the classic 1960’s surf movie The Endless Summer.

www-gosurf-dk-ngor-island-air-go-pro-shot

There are no cars on the Island, just some beach restaurants, narrow cobbled streets, sandy pathways and, at almost every turn, stunning views back to the mainland.

The air is clean and pollution free, everything runs on solar power, and the waters are some of the cleanest you’ll find in Dakar. It’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, and the ideal place to unwind after a long day out in the surf.

ander-kouka-big-ngor-001

www-gosurf-dk-view-ngor-island-surf-camp

Despite the welcoming locals and consistent, high-quality waves, Senegal remains an up-and-coming surf destination, rather than an established one. This is due in large part, explains Jesper, to preconceptions and unfounded fears about travelling in Africa.

IMG_0056

But as evidenced by the high return visitor rate at Jesper’s surf camp, those who do make it here are quick to fall in love with the laidback lifestyle of Ngor Island, and the magic of a never-ending surf season in this off-the-beaten-track surfer’s paradise.

 

To find out more about Ngor Island Surf Camp see their website here.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Palm Tree Tea by adding your email address to the form on right!

1 Comment

Aissa Dione : The Grand Dame of the West African Textile Industry

Aissa Dione
Aissa Dione (photo provided by Aissa Dione Tissus)

Writing our first Palm Tree Tea and Afterblixen blogs collaboration on the eve of March 8th, International Women’s Day, it’s very fitting that our chosen subject is Aissa Dione, the grand dame of the West African textile industry.

Almost thirty years ago, Dione started her textile workshop with the last remaining master weavers of the Mandjaque peoples in Senegal. Since then, she has grown her business, Aissa Dione Tissus, into an internationally recognised luxury brand, provided over a hundred jobs, and preserved precious skills that were on the brink of being lost.

Her textiles have been used to produce home décor and fashion accessories by some of the finest design brands around the world such as Hermés, Fendi, Christian Lacroix and Peter Marino to name a few.

Dione, born to a Senegalese father and a French mother, spent the early part of her life in France, moving to Senegal in her twenties to pursue a career as an artist. After receiving commissions to decorate homes and offices around Dakar, news of her talents quickly spread and she grew a large local and international client base.

Textile weaving and dyeing in West Africa is an ancient tradition which dates back to the 15th Century. Dione used her background in fine art to create a product that respected this tradition, but was more commercially viable for the global market by adjusting the dimensions and colour palette of the textiles.

The results are rich and sumptuous, with her intricately woven designs providing an understated shimmer and luminosity to furniture upholstery, shoes, bags, wallets, pillowcases and an array of other elegant accessories.

A trip to her gallery and shop in Dakar is a feast for the eyes, and provides lots of home décor inspiration; all the furniture is designed and produced by Dione and the art on the walls is by local artists that she champions. Everything is available to purchase, or you can work with her directly for a customised design.

What we find truly appealing about Dione as an entrepreneur is not just her revival of the Senegalese woven textile industry, her job creation or beautiful products, but that her vision is one that encompasses the whole cotton supply chain; from production to processing through to manufacturing of the end product.

She believes that through targeted investments in the whole supply chain it’s possible to build an economically viable local cotton industry based on small production units, like the one she has successfully created. A vision where quality and local craftsmanship, rather than quantity are the essence, even if it means ‘swimming against the tide’ of how mainstream manufacturing and import/export models work in Africa.

Dione is discreet and unassuming in her manner, but her achievements speak volumes about her tenacity and vision, and celebrate the exceptional talent of Senegal’s traditional weavers, and its fine materials (the country’s cotton is among the world’s finest).

Her story is one of passion, dedication and determination. She has persevered, against the odds, to almost single-handedly keep the ancient art of Senegalese Mandjaque weaving alive, created luxury fabrics using home-grown cotton and successfully exported this unique cultural heritage to the rest of the world.

Dione should be an inspiration to a whole new generation of entrepreneurs to start turning the riches of this continent into tangible products that can be shared with the world. She proves it can be done, and that it can be done in style.

 

Watch a short interview with Aissa here, and see the master weavers at work here.

For more information including contact details for the gallery and shop, please see the Aissa Dione Tissus website or facebook page.

2 Comments

Dakar’s Islands : Île de Gorée

IMG_7890

Dakar is surrounded by three beautiful islands; to the west of the city is the Îles des Madeleines nature reserve, to the north lies Ngor, a go-to spot for surfers, and finally to the east is Gorée, a Unesco World Heritage Site which houses the Maison des Esclaves (House of Slaves), a museum and memorial to the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Gorée wasn’t one of the principal centres for the slave trade in West Africa, but the Maison des Esclaves has become the most famous symbol of this time.

IMG_7964

It’s a truly emotive experience to see the place where thousands of people torn from their communities and families waited – in unimaginable conditions – to face a perilous journey across the ocean into a life of servitude, and one which no trip to Dakar is complete without.

Portal_of_sorrow-senegal-01
The ‘Door of No Return’ which was the final exit point of slaves from Africa to the Americas. (Photo by The Wandering Angel)

But after this dark period in it’s history, Gorée has become a centre for architectural beauty, artistic endeavour and educational excellence.

`

IMG_7986

IMG_7910

Away from the main tourist area, you can wander Gorée’s streets in relative solitude, and discover hidden alleyways, striking colonial architecture, and bougainvillea-clad buildings.

IMG_7914

IMG_8024

Wide baobab-lined avenues are given over to impromptu art displays, and artisans produce beautiful objects in the numerous studios and workshops dotted around the island.

IMG_7895

A calm and sheltered bay provides an excellent swimming spot, or just a place to dip your toes in the water while you wait for the ferry back to the mainland.

IMG_8041

IMG_8027

IMG_7904

The Island is also home to the Maison d’Education Mariama Ba, a top boarding school for girls which was founded in the 1970’s by Leopold Senghor, the first president of Senegal.

Each year, it admits twenty-five girls from across the country on the basis of outstanding achievement in their national secondary school exams, and puts them on a path to a bright future – surely the best tribute to all those who were denied their freedoms in times gone by.

IMG_8023

Gorée is small, but each time I go there I discover something new – an artist’s studio, a secret courtyard, an intriguing doorway into an ancient mariner’s drinking spot. There’s always a new story waiting around every corner of this island’s cobbled streets; a whisper from the past, or a glimpse into a promising future.

2 Comments

Lou Bess? Dakar Farmers Market

 

Lou Bess? founders Raquel Wilson and Caamo Kane
Lou Bess? Dakar Farmers Market founders Raquel Wilson and Caamo Kane

There is no shortage of small, local producers doing amazing and innovative things with food, health and beauty products here in Senegal. But until recently it was hard to find out about the full range of artisanal goods on offer, and be able to purchase them easily and conveniently in one place. Step in Raquel Wilson and Caamo Kane, who came up with the inspired idea to bring all the producers together and create the Lou Bess? Dakar Farmers Market.

Lou Bess (2)

Wilson, a communications consultant and brand development specialist, and Kane, a doctor-in-training, share a strong personal interest in food, wellness and supporting local economies. Lou Bess? (meaning ‘What’s New?’ in Wolof) is their way of combining all these interests.

Nyara-02
Nyara, founded by Dr. Aisha Conte (centre) offers natural beauty products and food supplements including baobab oil, liquid black soap, powdered ginger and custom-blended teas.
Nyara-01
A selection of products from Nyara
Begue Coco-01-1
Virgin coconut oil from Bégué Coco
IMG_0035
Savonnerie Francisco’s luxurious organic soaps are made with shea butter, neem oil and olive oil and are gentle enough to use on babies due to their all-natural ingredients.

The market is a buzzing social event where people come not just to stock up on groceries, but to meet old friends and make new ones, eat tasty food, and talk to the independent farmers, bakers, chefs, and health and wellness entrepreneurs who are eager to share their knowledge and their passion.

Market Goers-03
Community spirit at Lou Bess?
Market Goers-02
Fun for all the family (Imagination Afrika provides a dedicated play area for kids)

The vendors at Lou Bess? benefit from Wilson’s background in branding and receive advice and help with their business development plans. They are encouraged to share and spread knowledge amongst each other to create new networks, and develop a mutually supportive environment.

Lou Bess

Yami-01

A selection of the products available include: fruits and vegetables, hot pepper sauces, smoked cheeses, chutneys, fresh juices, teas, spices, and an assortment of delicious baked goods. Everything is 100% made in Senegal and often has a distinctly local flavour. Bissap ice-cream anyone?

Yami-02

Organic produce from Taru Askan Farms
Taaru Askan Farms sell a variety of seasonal and organic  fruits and vegetables including produce not commonly grown in Senegal such as Fennel and Bok Choy, at competitive prices.

Lou Bess? Dakar Farmers Market is much more than simply a platform for selling; it’s an exciting new community that brings together local food-lovers, nurtures a diverse and growing collection of vendors and provides the chance to support local agricultural producers and entrepreneurs while having a fun day out. What’s not to love?

 

Lou Bess? Dakar Farmers Market takes place on the first Saturday of every month. The next market is on Saturday 6th February from 9 – 15h in front of the Ngor Restaurant on the Corniche des Almadies. See their website for more details.

Images courtesy of Lou Bess? Dakar Farmers Market.

1 Comment

Spirited Pursuit

Goree

A few weeks ago, I did an interview with Lee Litumbe for her wonderful travel and photography website, Spirited Pursuit.

I’m excited to say the feature has now been published! For some new insights into my life in Senegal and lots of previously unpublished photos, click here.

1 Comment

The Ultimate West African Comfort Food

IMG_8315

Fondé, a West African dish made from millet and yoghurt, is a lovely combination of textures and flavours; the sweetness and creaminess of the yoghurt combined with the grainy and nutty flavour of the millet make this simple, healthy and filling snack taste like a rich indulgence.

Un-cooked rolled millet
Un-cooked, pre-rolled millet

Millet has in the past dismissively been thought of as the ‘poor man’s grain’ but this humble and hardy crop – staple food to many across Africa and Asia – deserves to be considered an African superfood. Here’s why:

  • It’s gluten-free and one of the most easily digested grains around
  • It contains B vitamins, Iron, Magnesium and Calcium
  • It helps lower cholesterol
  • It’s a great source of protein
  • It has high levels of Tryptophan

Tryptophan is the ‘magic ingredient’ which makes Fondé the ideal comfort food and evening snack as it produces Serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone which calms your mood and helps you sleep. Here in Senegal, Fondé is usually eaten as a snack in place of dinner, most commonly on Sunday night before a long week of work begins.

Here’s how to make it:

Bring 3 cups of water to the boil

Add 1 cup of millet

Reduce the heat to medium and stir regularly

Turn off the heat once all the water has been absorbed into the millet (about 25 minutes cooking time)

Cooked millet alongside packet of 'Arraw' brand pre-rolled millet
Cooked millet next to a packet of ‘Arraw’ pre-rolled millet

Place a couple of tablespoons of the millet into a bowl

Add lait caillé, a special Senegalese yoghurt which is slightly curdled and runnier than normal (to make your own version of lait caillé use two cups of plain or vanilla yoghurt, one cup of sour cream)

IMG_8306

Add a tablespoon or two of condensed milk

Add 1-2 teaspoons of plain or vanilla sugar

IMG_8309

And there you have it, fabulous Fondé! An easy, nourishing snack that tastes like an extravagant treat. For an added nutritional punch, why not have your Fondé alongside a steaming cup of West African Kinkeliba Tea? See my post on how to make it here.

 

Fondé is made with millet flour rolled into cous-cous-like balls. While it’s possible to make this at home, most people buy it ready-made. If you’re outside West Africa, head to your nearest African shop or food market to find pre-rolled millet. Here is a directory of African supermarkets around the world.

2 Comments

Fally Sene Sow : a Unique View of Dakar’s Busiest Market

Fally Sene Sow
Fally Sene Sow

Artist Fally Sene Sow takes us soaring high above the city streets to give us a bird’s eye view of the action in Colobane, one of Dakar’s most popular markets. With his use of urban motifs and assortment of found objects, Sow’s intricate multimedia collages provide a modern take on the ancient Senegalese art of Sous-verre (‘under glass’ painting).

Mbaaru colobane
Mbaaru Colobane

Colobane – where Sow grew up and still lives – has become the city’s biggest flea market for clothing, books, electronics and a plethora of other new and second-hand items. The tonnes of used clothes from the West that find their way to Colobane each year have created a sector which employs over 24,000 people who work in the sorting, washing, repairing, trading and distribution of second hand garments and accessories.

Colobane Fëgg Jay Balba
Louma Colobane
Louma Colobane

There is a popular saying that “You can find anything in the world at Colobane Market” and just like the real market, anything and everything can be found in Sow’s collages: cut outs from photos and magazines, tin foil, pieces of string, scraps of fabric, chewing gum wrappers, and even tufts of sheep’s hair.

Tabaski Dakar 2015
Tabaski Dakar 2015

The elevated perspective takes us away from the traffic, smog and noise and shows us a beautiful, multi-coloured patchwork created by the market stall awnings and glittering zinc roofs. But everything looks fragile and delicate, reminding us of the physical frailty and impermanence of these ‘shops’ and the precarious livelihoods of the stall-holders themselves.

Nawétu colobane 2015
Nawétu Colobane 2015

Colobane, as with many other informal African markets, doesn’t have a legal basis for its existence; it could be forced to dismantle, move or close down at a moment’s notice. Sow’s portrayals of market life are not only visually striking but serve as documentation of an area, a community, and a way of life that although seemingly very rooted is, in reality, anything but.

 

If you’re in Senegal and interested in purchasing Sow’s work, email him at fally2009@live.fr

If you live in Europe contact Gallery 23 for information: galerie23@sbk.nl 

Watch a short video of Fally talking about his work here (in French).

Leave a Comment