Sister 2 Sister: Sister Fa Speaks Out

Sister Fa, a native-born Senegalese hip-hop artist made her debut on the rap scene at the age of 18. Her music took an evolutionary approach to create social awareness around topics such as gender equity, child marriage, and the fight to end genital mutilation. Now 36 years old and based in Berlin, Sister Fa has traveled the globe spreading awareness and encouraging activism.
In her song “Milyamba,” Sister Fa discusses how difficult life can be for a woman in the Senegalese countryside. In her first verse, she discusses how people from the city can often overlook the struggles that women face in the villages, having to endure such strenuous labor while others enjoy the luxuries of their hard work. She raps about the dangers of working in fields and the trauma that she and other women experience at the hands of men. Despite these devastating working conditions and violence, these realities are often ignored by the people who have the power to help.
Her music began as a conversation, sparking dialogue among her audience encouraging them to talk about the challenges that women face daily. It later transformed into concerts and seminars to educate communities about what happens to women in villages and takes a communal approach to engage in such dialogue. Sister Fa also discusses in an interview with The Thomas Reuters Foundation, that her music empowered her to feel comfortable being the messenger for problems so deeply rooted in her community, and in doing so she empowers others and potentially protects women from violence.
Sister Fa discusses the challenges that she faces because she now lives in Berlin. In many cases those who she tries to educate and persuade see her as a “colonizer“ because she no longer lives in the community. While she says that this is challenging to overcome, the authenticity of her music breaks those social barriers. Her ability to represent both her country and the diaspora is highlighted here. Living in a democracy she has the freedom to speak out about the violence and injustice and feel protected while still connecting with the women who are continuously affected by these inequities. Because of this, although she is no longer based in Senegal her music creates a message that addresses and empowers those communities. Now, young women in her village and power community figures have been using her music as a gateway into difficult conversations that have worked to create a network of allies.

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