African Renaissance statue in Dakar angers locals

Apparently, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has commissioned a 160-ft high bronze statue commemorating the “African Renaissance.”

The statue, “shows a muscular man in a heroic posture, outstretched arms wrapped around his wife and child, who is balanced on one of his biceps,” reports the Associated Press. Plus, the entire group is coming out of a volcano. (Last I checked there weren’t any volcanos anywhere close to Senegal.)

Senegalese media reports that the statue will be dedicated in a grandiose ceremony on December 12, 2009, with various African leaders and Brazilian President Lula Ignacio da Silva in attendance.

There’s also apparently a poetry contest, too, on the theme of “African Renaissance,” open to “all of Africa and its diaspora”.

Poems can be written in any of the continents three major languages: French, English or Arabic. The first three winners in each language will receive a prize of one, two and three million CFA, respectively. That’s about $2,200, $4,400 and $6,600.

You can compete by sending your entry to:

Ministère de la Culture et de la Francophonie
Building administratif, 3ème étage
BP : 4001 Dakar
Sénégal

Or email: renafricaine@gmail.com.

Deadline: Friday, October 23, 2009, 16h00 GMT

The AP adds that the statue costs $27 million to build (the President insists entirely through private donations).

If all of that wasn’t weird enough, here’s where it gets really weird:

- President Wade, according to the AP: “[maintains] he is entitled to 35 percent of any tourist revenues it generates because he owns “intellectual rights” for conceiving the idea, with the rest to go to the government.”

- AP adds: “Nearly 50 North Korean workers from the state-run Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang were brought in to build the statue because of their expertise with bronze art, and some Senegalese have complained of its communist-era design.”

Huh? WTF?

In other North Korea news, the DPRK soccer team, which qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1966, will be training and playing exhibition games in Nantes, France from Oct. 5-15.

AFP reports: “[North Korea] will take on second division side Nantes at La Roche-sur-Yon on October 9 and the Congo national team on October 13 at Le Mans.

The date for a third game, probably against a French footballer’s union side, is being arranged.”

And finally, China is getting deeper in Senegalese affairs: “We can say that China has done more for Senegal in four years than what the Western countries have for her in 10 or 20 years,” the Chinese ambassador to Senegal, Lu Shaye, said on Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.