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Serigne “Mara” Diakhate is a world traveler, entrepreneur, US citizen, and Sénégalese-born native with deep business and trade ties to the African continent, as well as North America, Europe, and Asia. A pan-Africanist at heart, Mara is the Founder/CEO of Da’African Village, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves as a “bridge of togetherness” between Africa and the world. His mission is to share the rich culture and tradition of West Africa with the rest of the world.
He believes, ‘If a person doesn’t know where he came from, then he doesn’t know where he is going’. This is why educating others by equipping them with the knowledge of the history, culture, and language of West Africa has become a part of his life’s work.
For the past several years, Mara has operated an African import/export business under the trade name “Mara Imports & Traders” out of Los Angeles, CA. Through this venture, he has been able to import beautifully handcrafted instruments, exquisite handwoven baskets, colorful handbags and opened an African gifts and décor store in Las Vegas, NV called Africa Love.
Well known in the travel and tourism industry, Mara has guided celebrities such as Serena Williams, Jessie Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Ky-Mani Marley, Jimmy Cliff and many others. It was during this time that Mara realized the need to create a comprehensive book entitled Talking Wolof with Da’African Village that helps those traveling abroad to communicate more effectively with the people of West Africa.
It is clear that multi-national corporations invigorate macro-level economic development. Such development, however, does not always reach the grassroots level. Da’African Village’s focus therefore, is on the micro-level. Wherever possible, linkages are developed to promote job creation and sustainable micro-enterprise. Da’African Village was conceived as a catalyst for locally-based economic development, organic, “bottom-up” processes are central to the application of Da’African Village’s philosophy.