News / Africa

Senegal’s Youth Fed Up and Frustrated

A member of the activist hip-hop group Y'en a marre performs during a community concert in the Dalifort neighborhood of Senegal's capital Dakar.  Using a mix of concerts, demonstrations and stomping the streets in black T-shirts emblazoned with their name
A member of the activist hip-hop group Y'en a marre performs during a community concert in the Dalifort neighborhood of Senegal's capital Dakar. Using a mix of concerts, demonstrations and stomping the streets in black T-shirts emblazoned with their name
Amanda Fortier

A group of young musicians and journalists in Senegal has been at the helm of anti-government protests over the last few weeks.

Senegalese youth - fed up

Fadel Barro's living room is buzzing, even though it is late at night and the electricity is out - yet again.

Young men and women gather at the home of the local journalist, cramped together on couches, chatting and listening to music, sprawled on the floor next to flickering candles checking their Facebook updates, smoking on the balcony, and making ‘ataya’, the local Senegalese tea.

Over the last few months, it has become a clubhouse for members of a generation who say they are fed up with their government and a deteriorating quality of life. Nearly half of Senegalese are unemployed. Food prices are high. Blackouts are rampant.

Then their 85-year-old President, Abdoulaye Wade, tried to amend the constitution to make it easier for him to win re-election in February. That is when this group of young people said: “We're fed up” or  “Y'en a marre” in French.

Raising youth awareness of government corruption, mismanagement

Alione Sane is a founding member of “Y'en a marre.”

Sane says it is a complicated time in Senegal. Y'en a marre was formed by young people who do not want what happened in Egypt or Tunisia to happen here. Sane says they do not want people setting themselves on fire and try to convince young people that when they burn the country it is not the government that suffers but its citizens.

Y’en a marre began organizing concerts, demonstrations, and public debates to encourage Senegalese to take a non-violent stand. But thousands of angry protesters took to the streets of Dakar June 23rd burning tires, ransacking government buildings, and fighting riot police outside the National Assembly.

It was the biggest unrest of President Wade's 10 years in power. His son Karim blamed political opponents for arming demonstrators. Fadel Barro is a pioneeer of the movement.

Barro says Senegalese authorities are trying to demonize their group, but Y'en a marre is non-violent. He says it is President Wade who is choosing violence. If Senegalese relate to Y'en a marre, Barros says it is because they want to change things through elections.

Encouraging youth to register to vote

Y’en a marre started the campaign “Das Fananal”, which means ‘My voting card, My weapon’ in the Wolof language. It is aimed at encouraging more than one million young, unregistered votes to sign up before October.

Former prime minister Macky Sall is a likely leading challenger to President Wade in next year's vote. Sall say he is encouraged by Y'en a marre's work.

Sall says Y’en a marre is now much bigger than the group itself. He says it has become a state of being to the people here - people who have had enough of the power cuts, the government, and its impunity. Sall says the initiative has a strong place in demanding that Senegal be governed with democracy, freedom, and peace.

The rapper known as Fou Malade, or “Crazy Fool” says Senegalese enjoy more freedoms of expression than Arab youth who sparked the uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East because, he says, their mouths were sewn shut.

Fou Malade says here in Senegal we have a type of freedom of expression. The moment people speak out, he says it is a way of freeing a type of violence that is building up inside and calming people down - liberating them, in a way. It allows them to turn what could be physical violence into a type of verbal outcry, just like the hip-hop movement in Senegal, which has a lot of power and is heard by just about everyone.

The group says there are now thousands of Y’en a marristes, as they have become known, both throughout Senegal and the diaspora.

Thiat is a Senegalese artists in the rap group Keur Gui. He has been jailed for speaking out against the government in the past, and says there is no going back now.

Thiat says he is ready - like everyone else in the room - to die because his people need it and it will help change things. They are not scared because it is not part of their vocabulary, he says. They are ‘Y’en a marristes ‘- a new type of Senegalese who are ready for change.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students 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.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid