Discussion with Seyda Rokhaya Ibrahima Niass
Cheikha Rokhaya Ibrahima Niass is part of leadership of the Tijaniyya Sufi Order, a prominent woman leader who has advocated for women’s equality throughout her life. Invited to participate in the Carter Center Human Rights Forum in Atlanta in February 2015, she met with Katherine Marshall, along with three of her sons and a daughter-in-law. Cheikha Niass followed the conversation closely and interjected remarks at various occasions, but in general her sons, Babacar Niang and two others, and her daughter-in-law carried most of the conversation. The discussion was in French. This account of the discussion focuses on her education and current activities. The views of the Niassene branch on family planning were a central element of the exchange. The international organization of the order was a further topic.
As a female religious leader you play a special role in Senegal. Can you describe your background, work, and current role?
She is the aunt of the current khalifa of the Niassenes. She is a grande dame, an intellectual, and an educator, who has written books in Arabic, and is the supporter and educator of many girls and boys. She has many people under her authority (contrôle). She provides moral support to her disciples, but she also provides much direct financial support, from her own pocket…