Dr. Zakariya Diouf was born on February 12 in Senegal, a country in West Africa. Dr. Diouf has taught at San Jose State University, Sonoma State University, the University of San Diego, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California at San Francisco, and California State Hayward, and he currently teaches West African music, dance, and history at Laney College in Oakland. He was in Illinois until 1972, when he received a scholarship to work toward his PhD in ethnomusicology from UC Berkeley. He received his PhD in 1977, fell in love with the Bay Area, and stayed.

Dr. Diouf was quoted as saying, “Though I danced in elementary school and in high school, what was most important was education. However, my auntie was a dancer, and I saw her as an ambassador of the culture. . . .At the age of 13, I was selected to go to the world festival in Vienna.” Although many may not know, Dr. Diouf started his career young and the experience that he gained led him to launch his professional career on the right path.

Dr. Zakariya Diouf (a.k.a., Papa Zak) is the founder and director of Diamano Coura West African Dance Company. He was the director of the Mali Ensemble, a multinational company representing the unity of the West African countries Mali, Senegal, and Guinea. He became the director of Les Ballets Africains in 1963. He has done extensive research into African music and dance along with choreographing some of the best dance and dramatic pieces for renowned companies, including the San Francisco Ballet.


  • This artist spends his time at Laney College (900 Fallon Street, Oakland, CA 94607). As also mentioned previously, Dr. Diouf currently teaches West African music, dance, and history at Laney College in Oakland. You will also find Dr. Diouf at the Oakland Coliseum (7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, CA 94621). Dr. Zakariya Diouf will be at the Oakland Coliseum to make sure that his fans around the Bay Area are supported.

~ by Nyisha Young ~

External Links:

Diouf, Zakariya, and Naomi Gedo Diouf. “Life’s Music in the Body: An Interview with Naomi Gedo Diouf and Zakariya Diouf.” Stance on Dance, 24 Oct. 2016, http://stanceondance.com/2016/10/24/lifes-music-in-the-body-an-interview-with-naomi-gedo-diouf-and-zakariya-diouf/.

Happy Birthday Dr.Zakarya Diouf

About Us- Diamano Coura West African Dance Company

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