Malaika Nabillah: Togolese Entrepreneur, Artist, & Fashion Enthusiast – ADJOAA
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Malaika Nabillah: Empowering Togolese Creativity and Artistic Expression | MUSE FEATURE

 “By Togolese for Togolese '' is Togo Yeye’s mantra, Co-founded by Malaika Nabillah whose passion to contribute to Lomé’s creative industry led her to start the platform with her business partner Delali Ayivi. If you ever wanted to know what ‘follow your passion’ would look like as a person, it may be Malaika.

This resilient woman studied medicine for four years, and later dropped out after discovering she could change the world and impact lives in a different way -through creativity and artistic expression- other than in the surgery room. Since making perhaps what could be the toughest decision for any African brought up in an African household, she has not only started Togo Yeye but has moved on to create Capzule, a sustainable textile company that produces handcrafted materials and Spicy TG, the ready-to-wear version of Capzule. Her impact in the Togo creative industry is now evident, take a look at her Instagram to see the impact she is making on the Togolese creative industry. She and Togo Yeye have been featured in Vogue and Ndaana promoting Togo to the World.

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We caught up with her to ask the ‘personal questions’ and get to know her better. Follow the conversation below:

Art and Fashion

What industry do you work in?

I work mainly in Arts and Fashion. I am part of a creative duo called “TogoYeye,” I am an aspiring curator currently training with the African Artist foundation in Lagos and I produce my own Batik fabrics and brand called “Capzules” which forms the basis for various ready to wear pieces under my second brand “Spicy”

Lomé, the capital of Togo

Tell our audience about your background?

I was born and raised in Lomé, the capital of Togo. After secondary school, I studied medicine for 4 years. It was during this time, I found my passion in the arts. Ever since, I have worked under Togo Yeye with my friend Delali Ayivi. Together we aim to create work that celebrates our creative community and Togolese youth and hope to contribute to the foundation of our economy. 

Did you go to University? If yes, what did you study and why? If not, why?

Yes, I went to university for 4 years to study medicine. But my life got interrupted drastically and it forced me to take a break.

How did the idea of starting Togo Yeye come about?

Togo Yeye was born after a long discussion with my friend Delali from our first meeting. We have a shared utopian dream for our country Togo and we have decided to get together to make this dream realistic. At first it was just a project where we were co-founders. But since last year we have represented ourselves as a creative duo of visual artists.

What does Togo Yeye stand for? 

Togoyeye means “new Togo'' in ewe, the most popular local language in Togo. We try to show the side of our country that is not present in Western media by showing  the dynamism and dream of Togolese youth. 

What was your biggest motivation for this career choice? 

Myself and my mental health. I had to choose what makes me happy; I found myself and a lot of contentment in the arts industry. It is not an easy industry, but I feel immensely fulfilled with every project I create and get to work on.


What advice would you give to your 16 year old self? 

Difficult situations are made for resilient people. I think I would advise myself to be more confident in what I know and what I have learned.

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Often, when you grow up in an African country without having been to the western world or studied abroad, you are made to feel inferior. I would tell myself to know my worth and that what others see as weaknesses are actually my biggest strengths.

What advice would you give to an aspiring designer/entrepreneur/artist? 

Do not give up! The big dreams that you have are never as far away as you may think. Stay organised and kind, but always know your worth and be proud of all you know, even if it may not seem as much.

Bruly Bouabre

Read more tips for an aspiring African creative from experienced Black designers

Who is an African creative you look up to and why? 

Bruly Bouabre, I am incredibly fascinated by his work. I believe he has done something no other artist has done before.

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Especially the Script for the Bete language. It inspired me to always push my own boundaries of creativity and thinking.

Dream collaboration, who would it be with and why? 

I am already in my dream collaboration with my friend Delali Ayivi and TogoYeye.

What do you do for fun? 

I go swimming at the beach and have long crazy discussions with my bestie.


African creatives are making waves globally. Discover more African visionaries to have on your radar.

How do you overcome self doubt?

I don’t have a choice but to overcome my doubts. Life has never been easy for me and I rarely have the luxury to doubt for a long time. I know well what I want in life and even if the path is not always clear, keeping focused on your goals helps to overcome any self doubts.

What is the biggest lesson to date in your career? 

Nothing is impossible. It only depends on how bad you want something. I learned the hard way that no career opportunity is ever worth giving up on your values or lowering your worth.

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What is your biggest strength? 

My faith and my resilience

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learnt from failure? 

That you can always get back up and restart and that those who are meant to be in your life will not abandon you even in the toughest of times.

Failure is a great opportunity to actually reevaluate what you truly want in life and to redirect your goals and influences.

If you could be anything besides being an artist/influencer what would you be? 

I don’t really have a Plan B, I am exactly where I want to be.

What books or movies and music are you currently listening to? Share with our community.

 Generally, I schedule to read 2 books concurrently. First, a book on weekdays; I take about  20 to 25 minutes to do quick reading some evenings to cultivate myself and second; another on Sundays at the beach for my personal and intimate well-being.

Currently, I am reading Maaya entrepreneurship, a book inspired by Mamou Daffe, an icon of the creative and cultural industry in West Africa who has been an inspiration to me.

My Sunday book is the sex lives of African women by Nana Darkoa Sekiamah

For the book worms: Discover how this African designer is changing the discourse on sustainable fashion through books.

We wrapped up with Ramadan recently. What does this auspicious month mean to you ? And your favourite things about the season and any tips for making the most of the fasting period.

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Ramadan is one the 5 pillars of Islam, which makes this month immensely important to me. For me, this is a time of togetherness, family and to refocus on my faith. My favourite thing is that I get to be  more focused on my religion (faith) and I take more time out of the day for my prayers. I eat avocado and Lebanese bread every morning and it helps me well through the day. 

Adds To Cart:

Malaika’ top picks of outfits and accessories for Ramadan that can also be worn anywhere or for any auspicious event.

Uforo Upcycled Denim Dress

Rohy Raffia Waist Belt

Woven CanoeManye Clutch - Blue-Black

Isabel Round Heel Slip on Sandal

Shop Malaika's top picks of versatile outfits and accessories for Ramadan and beyond! Click here to explore all the products she handpicked for you.

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