Ina Makosi and her duty to photograph Senegalese athletes to inspire young girls in her country

“Confidence is something we women need and can learn on the pitch to make ourselves who we want to be in life.”

Ina Makosi is a photographer and videographer who is successful thanks to sporting values. She was a basketball player before entering university, although Makosi no longer wears the jersey of Thiaré – her former club in a Dakar suburb – she still relies on what she learned on the court to succeed in life to be.

Makosi drew a lot of strength from her years as a basketball player. Back then, exercise was a way to meet people, get out of the house, and feel empowered after sexual abuse. Today sport is one of her fields of expression.

Capturing sporting events in photos and videos is a focus, while presenting urban cultures, daily life and women’s surroundings have been her other specialties since training as an audiovisual artist with the Africulturban Association, a non-profit organization promoting Senegalese urban culture. are.

Whatever the subject, Makosi’s goal is always the same: to document life to better inspire the next generation, especially when it comes to sport, her greatest passion.

Ina Makosi and the role models she didn’t have

A lack of female role models when a young Makosi was playing basketball prompted her on her mission.

“When I was young and wanted to play sports, my family told me ‘no, you’re a woman’… and the fact that I didn’t have a role model to show my older brothers that it was possible was a problem for me . So today it is my duty to show Senegalese women who have chosen sport – basketball, football, rugby – that they have succeeded and have not changed, because that is the concern of parents.

“It’s my duty to show that so young girls don’t face the same problems I did,” Makosi explained during an interview during the Dakar En Jeux Festival, four years before 4th Summer Youth Olympic Games which will take place in the capital of Senegal.

Self-taught, having traveled extensively, he knows how sport can be a showcase for personal development and success.

In Kenya, for example, she met a taxi driver who saw success as a footballer sadio mane made Senegal famous. For them, the Bayern Munich player is one of the greatest Senegalese role models in sport alongside the NBA star Gorgui Dieng.

But before exhibiting her art in Senegal, Morocco, Sweden and Norway, Makosi had to work hard to establish herself as a photographer in a male-dominated industry. She draws strength from her success and hopes her journey can inspire as well.

“As a photographer at the Marius Ndiaye Stadium (in Dakar), there were times when people thought I wasn’t Senegalese because I was the only female Senegalese photographer in the stadium. They spoke about me in Wolof (the national language of Senegal) and thought I didn’t understand them. And it often happens that they tell themselves that it’s not possible for me to be Senegalese. For me it’s a challenge.

“It’s positive because it forces me to take very good pictures, to be there, to be respected for my work, and to let other women see that it’s possible to empower them to do this job.”

READ: Football is a religion in Senegal

Makosi sports through her lens

Despite all the difficulties, Makosi never loses sight of her goal. It’s even the opposite. She wants to do more to pass on as much as possible to future generations.

She believes important educational work needs to be done with the archives to help the Senegalese build a collective awareness of their achievements. The Dakar-American knows it will take time but wants to contribute to the task and can always rely on the values ​​she has learned through basketball.

“Basketball taught me a lot when I was young because there is one important job that coaches do off the court and that is to delegate responsibility. As a point guard, the same skills are required for me as a point guard that you also need in everyday life: a sense of responsibility, togetherness, looking at the environment – all of that was important to me. It made me what I am today.”

In front of or behind the camera, Ina Makosi wants to help young Senegalese follow their dreams without facing the same difficulties as them, by showing them that it is possible – either through their own journey or through those she photographs.

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