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

Or email:

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.

11 Replies to “African Renaissance statue in Dakar angers locals”

  1. I think I may have seen the sculpture from the Dakar airport…
    misplaced priorities, laid to bare in just one picture… well, the soccer game is a nice addition to the celebrations

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  3. I was recently in Dakar. President Wade should be ashamed of himself for building such a monstrosity while city lacks basis public services like trash removal, sewage processing, electricity and potable water. I was there for only 3 days and there had to be over one dozen power outages. I saw a open channel in which there was what had to be raw sewage. There are no traffic lights in Dakar and driving is like every man for himself out there. Barkers come up to your car trying to sell everything from phone cards to t-shirts.

    The airport is horrible. Just as you come out you are accosted multiple times by men trying to sell you cab rides, currency exchange services, and phone cards. And I am sure someone went through my luggage and removed a few items. It is a fine ‘how do you do’ for an incoming tourist or business traveler.

    The streets are just plain filthy…and what covers up the filth is a lot of sand. I guess because it is an ocean coastal city Dakar is windswept. But it seems that no thought is given to sweeping up the sand that is everywhere on the streets, or erecting some kind of barriers so that sand from the beach does make it inland. And if it is the inland top soil that is sandy there is no smart land-use program to speak of.

    I managed to see the presidential motorcade while I was there. From the car that he has, a late model Mercedes stretch, I can tell that Wade likes nice things. He is well traveled to the West in his genuflecting for donors. So I know he knows how things could be better. But he just does not care…and as I look on the web and find pictures of him in the White House with President Bush, it seems like the West does not care either.

    As for my business there in Senegal. It is clear that nothing will happen unless there is some personal enrichment for Wade and his son, and probably every little minion below them. Pay the play was the call of the day.

    And the sad thing is, Wade and Senegal are probably the best example of African leader and national governance on the continent.

  4. Ozzie, im sorry you had a bad run in Senegal and yes there is a fair bit of corruption in Africa thats in your face where in other countries its less obvious.

    but …..

    “And the sad thing is, Wade and Senegal are probably the best example of African leader and national governance on the continent.”

    I dont know where you get this from. Its a very uninformed and reductionist. You obviously havent been to many countries in Africa or gone in with very blinkered eyes. There are some well run democracies in Africa – some albeit with challenges and deficiencies – and with good leaders.

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