Home Community People People to know – Sarah Ndiaye

People to know – Sarah Ndiaye


ABC picI was born in Melbourne and grew up in Bondi. I was pretty wild and fearless and took on any adventures that came my way. I loved theatre and movement and left school to work in community theatre and the performing arts. If I found a good teacher I travelled to work with them and I picked up cash doing acting and modelling or working in cafés. I did a yoga teacher training course (well before it was fashionable), helped my boyfriend make art and surfing videos but when we split up I came to Byron on a search to see Taj Mahal. I’d fallen in love with the Paris Texas CD and wanted to see him play live. I wound up at Bluesfest and ended up on stage with Taj Mahal in front of thousands. I fell in love with the place and made it home.

Since living in the Northern Rivers I’ve raised two gorgeous kids now 16 and 18, completed my Certificate IV in Dance at the Conservatorium in Lismore, completed a B.A. in Writing and Media Studies at Southern Cross, went to Sydney to do a Graduate Diploma in Radio Broadcasting and Diploma of Education. I volunteered for almost a decade at Bay FM, been involved in most festivals in some capacity and worked as a producer at the ABC in Lismore. I love this community, the place and the people who live in it.

KP – What is your claim to fame/day job/hobby/what are you known for?

Swimming and making radio

KP – Is it your passion or just something you do?

I’m in the ocean at some point every day and I spent a decade making radio, I’ve become a high school English and Drama teacher now but I still love a good story and helping other people create their own whatever the medium.

KP – Typical day?

They’re always different but generally involve an early wake-up, a bay swim or a walk and a dip, then bus chasing to get the kids off to school. I teach part time and I also work on media jobs wherever I can. It’s always a juggle.

KP – What is your greatest achievement?

My kids for sure, their dad died when they were two and four and it’s been a challenge on many levels but I adore who they’re becoming.
unnamed Early days in Byron

KP – You are running for local council, why?

I love this place and really don’t want to see it fall into the wrong hands. The pressure of development is relentless, people will always want to move here, but we can’t let that destroy the very reason most of us love it. The environment and the eclectic and creative mix of people that live in the Byron Shire are under threat and I want to be involved in how we address those and many other issues.


KP – What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being in the ocean – diving, swimming, surfing; the ocean is my happy place. Of course, there’s more to perfect happiness – love, family, friends, food and a sense of connection, but the ocean keeps me happy. A trip to one of the local waterfalls will usually cure most ills as well.

KP – What is your favourite Travel destination/why?

I went on exchange to Barcelona with my kids for 6 months during my B.A. I loved the culture and way people live there and if there’d been surf there I’d say it was close to perfect.

KP – Favourite inspirational quote?

It’s that overused one from Marianne Williamson that everyone attributes to Nelson Mandela, it struck a cord for me in those insecure teenage years.
“…Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
from the book ‘A Return To Love’ (1992) by Marianne Williamson

KP – Science or religion or both?

Science with a dusting of sprinkles.

KP – Who is your favourite superhero?

Well I guess I’d have to say Wonder Woman however, I have been bitten by a lot of spiders????

KP – Who are your heroes in real life?

Locally Mandy Nolan blows my mind. She’s articulate, creative, funny, has brought up a small tribe of offspring and still manages to paint. Bob Brown has an incredible integrity about him so he’d be up there too.

KP – What do you value most in your friends?

Honesty, warmth, laughter, my girlfriends mean the world to me. They cushion the sharp edges of life and when I don’t see them for a long time (which can be often because we are all very busy and located in different places) I miss them in my heart like crazy. It’s like touching base.

KP – If you could choose what to come back as what/who would it be?
A mermaid.

KP – Which words phrases do you overuse?

Can’t use them here or perhaps Awesome! I don’t know how or why it ended up in my vernacular but it did.

KP – Most incredible experience?

I worked for 3 months in a remote Indigenous community called Wingelina/Irrunytiju on Ngantijara land. I helped connect a radio network through the remote Western Desert and had the most incredible time learning more about out timeless history.

Kirra Pendergast is the editor of Common Ground Australia. An award winning photographer, Kirra first picked up a camera at 12yrs old. Her photography has been widely published in everything from international newspapers through to Rolling Stone Magazine (which was a major bucket list tick) Kirra is always out capturing photographs of things as varied as the immense power and beauty of the ocean, storms, and the breathtaking landscapes of Northern NSW. Kirra's photographic passion is music, portraiture and street photography. Born and raised in Byron Bay, Kirra's family has spent generations in the Northern Rivers hailing from Lismore, Tuntable Falls, Tregagle and Byron Bay. Kirra is passionate about supporting local music, creatives, the arts and local business using Common Ground as a platform to promote this place, its people and their passion.


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