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 On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid