The Art of Life(the painter) by Rahima Vandy Kargbo🖼🎨🏜

Mr Painter paints a life, a baby innocent and free of the world’s troubles, shameless adult, the body shame the chubbiness of thighs and arms. Can you please airbrush this baby, he is not cute, they called out behind them. Oh, in the presence of outsiders they smile and make funny faces, and say oh what a cutie cute baby, how hypocritical? Let their childhood produce the effect of fine lines and a wide sweep. Forcing kisses on their cheeks soak in saliva and a mixture and remnants of whatever they last ate. Life shows itself to us but funny how we cannot make sense of any of it.

Sierra Leonean painting

Mr painter paints a life, a teenager whose life’s line is not straight. deep voice, big bones, broad chest clearer features. Ooh yeah, breast round like calabash, don’t be in awe the gods approved. please highlight the shapes, waist with a curve that will get you dizzy quickly like new and pure palm wine. Rebellion at its best; what makes you think you’ve grown? Just add texture and the don’ts become dos, dos become don’ts. it’s all hormones uncontrollable a phase and this too shall pass. The taboos, the rush, you think you are all that, right? Yes, you are all that but you are even more just allow the process of time, as everything has a place in time, ask history.

Painting By Gibril Bangura

Mr Painter paints a life, as an adult faces a life of hardships and torment, haunted by the past, complicated relationships. Yes! Heard it’s a status now in the virtual world. Does it even exist? A utopia of what life really used to be.hmmm more time for the less important and less time for more important. Just how karma has shown us our parents’ love and sacrifice. Society had planned a path that which if not taken, your journey is truly not successful. Unnecessary pressures our shoulders to bear. How life can be nice and mean at the same time and showed up when we least expect. They call it the Wakanda generation nothing seems real but we hold it in high esteem because it creates a false spirit of unison.

Painting By Gibril Bangura

Mr. Painter paints a life, as an old fella! Life has snatched the youths away, the strength, oh how frail and weak. Oil paint all the what-ifs, doubts, and regrets. You hear them say; I could have love harder, run faster, eat slower, exercise more, buy that dress, buy that car, build that house, married the woman or man of my dreams, spent more time with the children, the family. We have all the time or where did it go? An illusion of what seems to be time. How materialistic and vain the human mind can be. Paint how truly short this life could be, what’s borrowed can be taken when we least expect. Please paint my life, give them colors, make it vibrant as a rainbow. Don’t let them know how miserable it was, ain’t we all putting up a front? Give it the life I did not have. Make it a masterpiece not fit for the museum and the gallery, its too priceless. Paint me

©By Rahima Vandy-Kargbo known as dasalonetiti Rahima

ZaraLiz Kaftan Making Waves in the Fashion Industry✂

Style and confidence requires knowing yourself and wearing what you feel best in
Ariel Kaye

Today we are hitting the streets with an ambitious young woman who is currently making waves in the fashion industry. She is into everything plus size and her hope is to create something out of her imagination for them and to help build their confidence. Facebook@zaralizkaftan, Instagram@zaralizkaftan or call her on +23278646080

Models in Zaralizkaftan

Dasalonetiti: Give readers a brief background of yourself.

Zara: I am Elizabeth Zara Sesay, who was born and raised in Wilberforce, Freetown. Coming from a nuclear family, my mom pass away when I was just fourteen and those were the worst days in my life. I was able to grieve and move past the pain of losing her, though it wasn’t easy. I decided to use my time and energy wisely afterwards.

Zaraliz in her own designs

Dasalonetiti: Why Fashion designing for you?

Zara: I chose fashion because of my passion for it. We had a sewing machine at home from which I have learned the basics of doing stitches and patchwork. One day I sat down thinking of what next to do as the business I was into did not work well for me. Let me talk about that a bit. I was into travelling out of the country and buying clothing and accessories which I would bring home and sell on cash and credit basis, but as we all know some of the issues with that sort of business, most of my capital was in the hands of people, which was very challenging to recover and I lost most of my money. Now back to why I choose fashion designing. I was thinking about what next to do with my life after my business went bad. I knew I wanted to be a designer, I have always loved designing but wanted to go get some basic education in some vocational institute or someplace else. I told my friends about it and they laugh me off; saying I should get prepared to be an errand girl for the bosses or masters. The thought of me going for the skill training was too amusing for them. One day a sister of mine, that is living abroad sends me a photo of something she wants me to get for her. I was too embarrassed to let her know I was broke and could not afford to send her that piece. I was able to raise some money so I went to town and bought the fabric, I went home but was too scared to spoil her fabric so I decided to try it on something I owned. I get on to YouTube and downloaded how to cut a piece of fabric for a kaftan design and the rest is the history they say.

Smiling clients posing for picture

Dasalonetiti: How did the name come about?

Zara: Well my brand name is basically me, as it is a combination of my middle and first names. Liz is short for Elizabeth, the kaftan, for me is a reminder of where I started, Kaftan was the first thing I ever design that why I added that to my brand name ZARALIZ KAFTAN.

Trendy kaftan
All smiles in Zaralizkaftan

Dasalonetiti: What are some of the things your brand is known for?

Zara: I am into designing kaftans, kimonos, palazzo pants, blazers and suits for women.

Happy client posing
A client sitting pretty in Zaraliz

Dasalonetiti: what is your favourite part of being a designer?

Zara: shopping for great fabrics, blending vibrant colours and seeing the finished product on happy clients are my favourite parts of my job.

Dasalonetiti: what are some of your lows?

Zara: Some of the downside of this business from my experience had been some people putting orders with you for a week, sometimes as long as a month and not paying anything. Another one for me is that people do send you a picture or idea of what they want and after designing it, they will return and complain that it is not what they ask for. But I know it comes with the territory and if there is one virtue I have been amazingly doing well at is patience. I thank God for my clients though, they had been good and keeping me busy.

Hot pink and black kimono

Dasalonetiti: where do you see your business in the near future?

Zara: In the next few years, I see myself growing and enlarging my customer base. Opening a designing school is a long term dream of mine, teaching young people the skills and art of making kaftan is the ultimate plan.

Mother and daughter in zaraliz

Dasalonetiti: Give us a few names of the designers you admire both locally and internationally.

Zara: Locally I will say Jenneh Amara Bangalie, Sai Sankoh, Abdel Mumini and Kadiatu Kamara. Internationally I admire Marc Jacobs, Elizabeth Arden, and Kate Spady.

Dasalonetiti: Tell readers one pet peeve of yours.

Zara: I hate when someone chews gum loudly especially in public.

A satisfied client

Dasalonetiti: What’s your advice to young Sierra Leoneans?

Zara: My advice to young people especially those who want to enter the fashion industry is to stay calm and be ready to put the hard work. They should try to look for what they are better at in the industry and focus on that particular stuff and create a niche as the fashion industry is a huge one.

Kaftans for your casual outings

I hope we all are inspired by her story. She started with just one sewing machine now she has four and had created employment for two others. The youth of Sierra Leone just be committed to whatever you are doing now, with hard work and dedication it will pay off in due time. ✌peace


©By Rahima Vandy-Kargbo known as dasalonetiti Rahima

Leone’s Culture-Bringing Sierra Leone to the USA.

It is important we take Sierra Leone with us, where ever we may find ourselves. Let allow Sierra Leone to shine through us. Let it be the glow that lights our path as we find our way in the universe. @dasalonetitiquote

This week we are looking at a young woman in the United States making strides in building the image of Sierra Leone through clothing, fashion, and other accessories from sierra leone and other parts of Africa. We had an interview with her and we are excited to share it with you. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. You can reach her on her website and all social media handles Facebook/Instagram/Twitter@LeoneCulture

Owner and Founder of LEONE CULTURE

Dasalonetiti- Tell readers about yourself.

Fatime: My name is Isata Fatime Gbakamara, I was born and raised in Sierra Leone West Africa. I travel to the United States at age sixteen. Went to high school and graduated in 2012. Enroll in a two years community college right after high school for an associate degree in health science. I started my career in healthcare with a big company in Virginia that provides internship training for new graduates. I had the opportunity to brush up my skills and was offered a job within the first week of my training. As a new employee I was excited because the company had so many opportunities for growth and scholarship programs for staff that want to continue their education.

African accessories

Dasalonetiti- Tell us about your life as a nurse?

Fatime; I enjoy working as a nurse. It’s giving me the chance to make a change in someone’s life and create wonderful relationships as well with patients, coworkers, and families of patients.

Dasalonetiti- what brings about the thought of entrepreneurship?

Fatime: Five years into my career as a nurse I met my husband Vincent Philip Ames. He is intelligent and career-oriented, always looking for ways we can improve our careers and lives. He had a collection of books about business especially ones that talked about becoming your own boss. I picked up my first book from his collection and I have never stopped reading. After three reads of different books, I grew interested in doing business. Some months into our courtship, he was willing to share his passion for business with me. It was an eye-opening experience because he has so many great ideas and he self-educated himself on many things. He was also part of an organization called the World Financial Group. He took me to one of their meetings, giving me the platform to meet with wonderful people, young entrepreneurs that are making millions of dollars not working a nine-to-five job. They own their businesses and schedules. At that point, my mindset changed.

Gara Tie Dye from Sierra Leone

Dasalonetiti – how did Leone Culture came about?

Fatime: On our way home from that meeting. We discuss what I learned from the sessions. But there was a change in life situation for us when we have to relocate to Florida. That process of moving stalled us a bit. Upon getting to Florida, we both attended our first business meeting in Miami Florida, 10x by Grant Cardone ” Powerful tool”. At the end of the conference, we got back on the road from Miami Florida to Pensacola Florida which was a nine-hour drive. We talked about different business options and business names, and that, eventually help me to figure out what type of business I would like to embark on. That’s how LEONE CULTURE was born. I wanted to give back to my country by helping our local artisans. After we locked down the business name that same week, my sister, who is also part of the business, Zainab Sandi introduces two business ideas to me. We ended up going with the first idea which we thought was great and bought our first product from Sierra Leone.

Neck piece handmade by her Sisters in Sierra Leone Bintu & Zainab

Dasalonetiti- How is Leone Culture doing sales wise?

Fatime: Well we can’t complain. Our first inventory from sierra leone sold out in a week. Mostly our buyers were family and friends. More orders keep coming in and we took the next step by opening an Esty Shop and get on all social media platforms. This venture was the scariest of them all for me. As there are so many ads about buying all sorts of things online. How would I survive? Was all I could think of, but I did not let it weigh me down. I started doing research about, who are my competitors. I realized each of them is fully established with a massive following, eye-catching products, perfect pictures, so many positive reviews in their comment sections. ‘I don’t stand a chance’ I said to my self. I started educating myself about advertisements and other details I needed if I should survive in this business. My husband decided to take photography courses, while my Sister in Sierra Leone Zainab Sandi was meeting artisans in Freetown and gathering more information about their products.

Fatime Isata Gba Kamara
Handmade Bags and Purse from Sierra Leone

Dasalonetiti- What are some of the Ups and down so far in the business?

Fatime: When we first made our social media appearance our sales initially went down and I kept wondering what was the problem because I was doing everything possible to get a kickstart on sales through social media. The thought of giving up came creeping in my mind. I decided to replace all these negative thoughts with positive proclamation over my business, by doing the self-talk like Leone Culture will rise to the top. I put my worries in prayers, follow a lot of business account on social media. Study their roadmap from their beginnings to where they are now. Within three months of being on social media, we receive our first sales. We started gaining more followers, messages started coming in about prices and shipping. We are on our way and will continue the hard work until Leone Culture is recognized the world over. That’s how big our dream is.

Ear pieces by Leone Culture

Dasalonetiti- What’s your advice for fellow Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora and at home?

Fatime: ”My advice to fellow Sierra Leoneans is to never give up on ourselves and our country. Let learn to work together and help support one another. Let not allow negativity to become the center of our lives, our story, and our journey to rebrand Sierra Leone. Negativity is what hurting our beloved nation’s performance and drive to go forward. If we as Sierra Leoneans make this commitment to work hard and become champions of helping one another, we would set something powerful in motion and Sierra Leone will rise again”.

Dasalonetiti- Share one of your guilty pleasure with readers.

Fatime: My guilty pleasure is me wanting to keep all the beautiful jewelry and neckpieces for myself (laugh)

Fellow Sierra Leoneans and readers, we have heard from the CEO of Leone Culture, who is flying the Sierra Leone flag in the USA. In the end, we have no excuse, you can be anywhere and lift the flag high. Change starts with ourselves. Please if you are in the United States and want items and accessories from Sierra Leone please contact her and get the total Salone experience. Buy from leoneculture on


©By Rahima Vandy-Kargbo known as dasalonetiti Rahima

Chelma’s Design Capturing the heart of Sierra Leoneans

Meet miss Mahawa Rachel Lahai. A graduate from Njala University with B.Sc Hons Business and information technology. She is an accountant in one of Sierra Leone’s leading accounting and audit firms. She is the CEO of chelma’s Design, a go-getter, and risk-taker.

Chelma’s design is made in Sierra Leone and an African inspired fashion brand that is into; kids’ clothing, bridal accessories, African accessories for both sexes and home decor. Chelma is a combination of two names; the last four letters of Rachel and the first two letters of Mahawa. The idea of Chelma started from her desire to participate in the AYV Annual Miss University Contest. Her friend was the reigning queen in 2012/2013 and she wanted her to enter the competition the following year 2013. So she went ahead and bought the form, filled it and returned it. After submitting her application form for the competition, she was discussing and sharing her excitement with her friend when her friend told her that beyond the catwalk, which she will coach her, she will need to prepare to display a particular talent as part of the competition. The statement baffled her and she replied, I don’t have a talent. Her friend then told her you better be looking out there for something you are good at and will display for the audience.

One day she was watching Ebony life TV on DSTV when a particular program came on and a young entrepreneur was teaching viewers how to make the button necklace DIY. She was so caught up into it and was inspired by it. She instantly called her friend and tell her that she had discovered her talent. The next day she used her lunch money to buy some of the items she needed to make the necklace to try out what she learned on TV. The finished product was great and she wore it to campus. She received so many compliments and reviews and got her friends and colleagues requesting she made the same for them. She started doing research, going to YouTube and making different types of neckpieces. For some personal reasons, she did not take part in the Miss University Pageantry as planned. But that process changed her life forever. She discovered she can work with her hands and that process has led her to where she is today.

She took a break from the craftwork in 2014, as she wanted to focus on her academics. Just after her final exams, then came the Ebola and she was at home doing nothing. She started her craftwork again producing for families, friends and the general public. She finally registered it as a business in March 2015, and immediately started expanding her accessory line, making different earrings. At that point, she made up her mind to add one new item to her collection every year. The need to move into bridal accessories came when she wanted to make some of the items for her aunts’ wedding. She was her first client. ‘Taking a look at the pictures now, I realize I have evolved and grow a lot’, she said. Since then she has done over twenty weddings so far.

She also has an eight to five job, fully employed with a leading accounting firm in town. Her craftwork is mostly done at night after her full-time job and mostly on weekends.

She has a training school for people within the Goderich community, where she trains young people the bulk of whom are women. Last year, she had a fundraising dinner which was organised for the sole purpose of raising funds to acquire a piece of land where she will erect a building that will serve as an Art and Craft training centre, where they will train deprived women in the community (especially those who are involved in the hard labour of breaking and selling granite as monies from this source goes right back into their hospital bills) so that they can be empowered to start their own business.

Chelma designs are into the following she said; kids’ clothing, teddy bears, hair broaches and accessories, Ankara peplum belts, earrings, and necklaces. Wedding accessories; bridal bouquet, bridesmaids bouquet, a bouquet for flower girls, clothing for flower girls and page boys, bow ties and neckties. Home decorations such as Ankara wall hangings and flower vases.

She was a recipient of a grant from UN women. These were monies given to startups and business enterprises owned by women. She was going through her Facebook one day when she saw this flier about the grant available for women, so she applied and was shortlisted. After rigorous selection processes which included a verification visit from the organization, she was approved for the grant. ‘I had to go through several weeks of training and coaching, where we were taught how to prepare a sustainable business plan and how to do our financials’ Ms Lahai proudly stated. She said she is extremely grateful to God and to the UN Women for the grant.

She used the grant to expand her business to get more sewing machines, had increased her number of trainees and have employed three staff. One that handles the Finance part of her business, one for public relations and the other for marketing and sales. ‘With the grant, we were also able to get more materials and tools to make our work easy and so far we have been doing well and we are grateful for the opportunity’, she stated.

Ms Lahai hopes in the next five years Chelma would be a known brand locally and internationally with branches in the neighbouring countries. She would want to be involved in exporting her brands. She had tried exporting before but was too expensive and not favourable for a young business like hers. She would also want to open her physical store downtown in the central business district area and an online store. ‘I would want to grow my team of designers, seamstresses and other skilled people needed, she stated.

Ms Lahai further stated that one of her greatest satisfaction and pleasure is to put smiles on the faces of her customers as a sign of appreciation and satisfaction for the services they receive from us. ‘Nothing beats that feeling’ she said.

Her advice is for young Sierra Leoneans to believe in themselves and their abilities. They should not allow anything to stand in their way in their pursuit of self-development and empowerment. Nobody is too young or too old to dream, to start their own business, or to be rich. So they should believe in themselves and know that failure is part of the process. If they fail the first time they should see it as a learning curve and basis to acquire experience; they should dust themselves and get back up and move on with it. They should be passionate about whatever they want to do as that is what will push them if they hit a wall along the way. Young people should be with likeminded friends that will push them and give them the support system they might need one way or the other. Finally, they should always ask themselves this question, what’s next?


©By Rahima Vandy-Kargbo known as dasalonetiti Rahima