A connected country

In the organization that helps Ndei to find a job, and other immigrants regardless of their origin, they have told her to adjust her curriculum to that of a domestic worker, who is the only job she could get if she is lucky.


Because even in that sector black Muslim women have handicaps. “In Spanish homes – says Ndei – they prefer Latin America women.” The person in charge of job offers in that organization agrees: “it is best to look like a woman with little education, few resources and gentle, someone who will not bring trouble.” Ndei adds that this is not all: “If you want to stay in the house and say that you do not eat ham, they look at you with a weird face and do not call back.”

So Ndei erased from her curriculum her university studies and professional experience as the secretary of a minister in Senegal. She left out the various languages she speaks and her knowledge of accountancy, and wrote: “Primary school. Trained in care for the elderly in the Red Cross.”

Perhaps this has contributed in Spain to consider immigrants as people who come from an almost pre-modern context, where “people live in the jungle and go around the paths in loincloths,” where there are no cars, no telephones, no roads, much less computers.


Senegalese telecommunications infrastructure is one of the best in Sub-Saharan Africa. The leading national company Sonatel was privatized in 1997 and now participates with France Telecom and Orange in the digitization of telecommunications services in the country.

A third of Senegalese population has a mobile phone, especially in cities where it is rare to see someone whithout one. The industry has exploded in recent years, and today foreign companies such as Orange (French, with two thirds of the mobile market), Tigo / Sentel (headquartered in Luxembourg and quickly overcoming its distance with Orange) and Sudatel ( Sudanese), are competing in this market.

Although only 1% of the population uses the Internet, the number of ADSL subscribers is growing rapidly and young population in urban areas use computers on a daily basis. Most of the time, these young people use the services of an internet cafe to access Skype, chat, listen to music and using online social networks. Many of these contacts have to do with the desire to emigrate of Senegalese youth or the need to keep in touch with friends and relatives living abroad.

For those who are living abroad, however, the Internet is a way to keep in touch with what is going on in the country today through digital media and to actively participate in the political life of Senegal.

During the exhibition Women and Borders we showed the picture of article to nearly 200 Spanish children under 14 years. When asked, “Where was this picture taken, in Senegal or in Spain?” Everyone answered in Spain because this woman was in front of a computer. However, Mame Keita has never left Senegal. In the image she is in the headquarters of the NGO Enfance et Paix, in Kolda, where she works as a secretary.

Javier Acebal

About the author: Javier Acebal

I'm a photographer based in Dakar (West Africa). I love to document cultures and people! (but also working for tourism industry).

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