Marieme Sall, Senegal’s first black First Lady
If Marieme Faye Sall chose not to read the newspapers before her husband’s victory, it was because she knew that the pro-Abdoulaye Wade propaganda machinery was spinning the mill to present her as a cloned Simone Gbagbo, wife of the former president of Côte d’Ivoire.
According them, Macky Sall’s wife was power drunk, pious and instigating her husband to radicalise. On the other hand, comparison between outgoing president Abdoulaye Wade’s wife and newly elected Côte d’Ivoire’s President Alassane Ouattarra’s wife abounded. Both of them are white, blonde and French.
In fact, all Senegalese first ladies, with the exception of former President Diouf’s wife, who was Senegalese of Lebanese descent, have been European. But contrary to what the rumour mill has produced, the forty something year old mother of three, is far from being the political animal that Simone Gbagbo was.
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“Marieme is neither a hermit nor intrudes in her husband’s political career, but she is a committed housewife,” says a close friend. But her present attitude was beaten into shape as a result of old experiences. Once bitten twice shy, Marieme Faye Sall has done her level best to steer clear of some of the unsavoury memories she left behind during her husband’s 2004-2007 term as Prime Minister. Marieme is said to have done and undone the careers of many. The bitter after taste of that intrusion has been a lesson learnt. Today, she steers clear of the political scene.
Again, unlike Simone, Marieme, who has been described as a down to earth person by people who have been near her in recent times, is never seen in meetings organised by Alliance pour la République (APR), her husband’s political party, created in 2008. And while she stayed close to her husband during the political campaign, she was not implicated in the party’s decision.
Marieme Faye Sall was in high school when she met her future husband, Macky Sall, in 1992. Three years later she became pregnant and left her studies to take care of her family. Today, she becomes Senegal’s first black first lady to have a single nationality. Segnhor’s wife was French, Diouf’s wife had a Senegalese mother and a Lebanese father and Wade’s wife is French.
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Country profile: SENEGAL