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

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More