Writer Review: Mariama Ba

Birth: Mariama Ba was born in Senegal (1929) and died in 1981. She grew up in a well-to-do, working class family. She experienced the difficulties encountered by women in her largely patriarchal Muslim community. Mariama Ba later married and after sometime divorced a prominent member of parliament in the Senegalese government, further adding to her challenges as a woman in the context of her community.

African Literature Authors - Mariama Ba

Mariama Ba


Education: Mariama Ba succeeded in obtaining formal education, mainly through overcoming the blocks put in place by her male chauvinistic community. With the assistance of her father, she was able to advance academic levels up to the attainment of higher education, something unusual in her community with respect to women. Most women at her time never got the opportunity to proceed past the primary school level of education. She excelled in Law studies, which paved her way into career and activism world. The place of women and the struggles they encounter are evident themes in Mariama’s literary work. She has been identified as a feminist, in addition to her reputation as an acclaimed African Literature author, mainly writing in French.

Honors and Awards: Mariama Ba is widely regarded as one of the most influential activists with regards to advocating for women rights. She not only engaged activism through discussion, but also through her writings. Awards and honors awarded to her include:

    >Noma Award for Publishing in Africa (1981)

Published Works: So Long a Letter (1981); Scarlet Song (1986); The Political Function of African Written Literatures (1981)

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