News / Africa

Senegal Marks 50 Years Of Independence With Calls For African Unity

President Wade's pan-African dream symbolized by enormous bronze statue inaugurated Saturday

Anne Look

Senegal, which is celebrating 50 years of independence, has unveiled a monument to the African Renaissance amid calls for African unity.  The statue is proving controversial with its multi-million-dollar price tag in a country plagued by poverty.

"In my Dream" is the first single from an album called "Presidents of Africa" by Senegalese hip-hop artist Didier Awadi.  The singer traveled to 40 African countries over the past five years collaborating with local artists on the album, which incorporate speeches of great African leaders.

Awadi says the album is meant to be a wake-up call for African youth and a reminder of the pan-African dreams of those great leaders at the time of independence.

What is left of those dreams? Awadi says that is the question posed in this album. Is that dream still tolerated, he asks, and have its objectives been attained?

Ask Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade, and he will tell you the pan-African dream is alive and well and symbolized in the form of an enormous bronze statue inaugurated Saturday.

Hundreds of supporters cheered, and drums pounded at the foot of the Monument to the African Renaissance, located on a hill in Dakar overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

The statue, which is nearly 50 meters tall, depicts a muscled man emerging from a volcano, pulling a woman behind him and holding a baby aloft toward the West.

President Wade says the statue symbolizes Africa, reborn and reinvigorated, after five centuries of slavery and colonialism. Africa, he says, is upright and resolved to take its future in hand.

At the inauguration, standing before 22 African heads of state and numerous international guests, President Wade said the time for African unity is now.

Mr. Wade says only political unity will allow the African continent, rich in territory, manpower and natural resources, to take its true place in the world order.

Though many at the event praised President Wade as a visionary, the monument has sparked considerable controversy in Senegal.

Muslims have protested its depiction of the human form, particularly that of the scantily-clad female figure. Politicians and civic leaders have deplored the statue's $27 million price tag in a country plagued by poverty, constant power cuts and flooding.

Senegal's main opposition coalition, Bennoo Siggil Senegaal, demonstrated Saturday morning in Dakar to protest what it called the "monument to the president's megalomania."

Opposition leader Talla Sylla says the statue is not a priority in Senegal. He says "we need to get the population out of flooded areas in Dakar, to help Senegalese have a better life, to get housing, food, clothing, to help the numerous children of this country get education." The priorities of the country, he says, are health and security, not a statue.

President Wade also announced that Senegal will take back three French military bases that house some 1,200 troops, in what he called a final break with Senegal's former colonial ruler.

Mr. Wade said the anniversary not only marks 50 years of independence for Senegal, but also a chance to usher in a new era for the country and for a unified African continent.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid