The African Renaissance Monument in Dakar, Senegal



The African Renaissance Monument, Senegal, Africa. 


The African Renaissance Monument, also referred as Monument to the African Renaissance and
Monument De La Renaissance Africaine, is a bronze statue perched on a hill in Dakar, Senegal. The representation of a man, woman and child emerging from a volcano was inaugurated at a ceremony on April 3, 2010, featuring hundreds of drummers and dancers. The African Renaissance Monument stands erect against the West African skyline in Senegal at 164 feet high, taller than the Statue of Liberty in the U.S.A.
 
Marking 50 Years of an Independent Senegal

 
The unveiling marked Senegal's 50 years of independence. Senegalese President Aboulaye Wade has said he hopes the public monument will attract tourists to the West African country, and defended the public monument in writing, stating “[t]his African who emerges from the volcano, facing the West ... symbolizes that Africa which freed itself from several centuries of imprisonment in the abyssal depths of ignorance, intolerance and racism, to retrieve its place on this land, which belongs to all races, in light, air and freedom.”

“It's impossible to miss Senegal's new 160-foot (49 meters) African renaissance monument,” wrote NPR reporter Ofeibea Quist-Arcton. “Perched high on a hill, the mighty Soviet-style bronze statue of a man, woman and child overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and dominates the horizon of the capital, Dakar.”

Public Monument Creates Controversy

President Wade authorized the public works project in the capital of Dakar, described by some as an African Eiffel Tower and others as a work that should never have been commissioned. Its $27 million dollar (£17m) cost and style stirred complaints from many in the predominantly Muslim country.

Ndeye Fatou Toure, a member of the Senegalese Parliament, said the statue was an “economic monster and a financial scandal in the context of the current crisis,” noting that half of Senegal's population lives below the poverty line. Additionally, the choice of garb for the African family was seen as an affront to the Muslim sensibility of public discretion.

Ebrima Sillah, a Senegalese journalist, stated that many Senegalese fine artists took offense that Wade commissioned a crew of 50 North Koreans to construct the public sculpture. President Wade made a public statement that he chose the North Korean crew because they were known as experts in constructing large public monuments.

African Statue Draws Pan-African Delegates
 
Aerial Photo: Monument to the African Renaissance

Nineteen African heads of state attended the unveiling ceremony in Dakar. Notable public dignitaries included Bingu wa Mutharika, the Malawian and African Union president, as well as the African presidents of Benin, Cape Verde, Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania and Zimbabwe. Additionally, a delegation of 100 African-Americans attended the ceremony, including Reverend Jesse Jackson and Senegalese-American singer Akon.

“It brings to life our common destiny,” said President Wade at the unveiling ceremony, according to a Reuters report. “Africa has arrived in the 21st century standing tall and more ready than ever to take its destiny into its hands.”

After 40 years as president of Senegal, the 83 year old Wade announced that he will seek re-election in 2012. With close links to Washington D.C., the peanut and fish exporting former French colony has been cited for decades as an example of African democracy. In September 2009, Senegal was awarded a $540 million grant by the U.S. federal government to encourage its continued good governance.

References:
  • "Senegal unveils 'African Renaissance' statue," by Mark John and Richard Valdmanis, Reuters (4/3/10)
  • "For Many in Senegal, Statue Is a Monumental Failure," by Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR (1/5/2010)

6 comments:

  1. Exquisite! I think those who are offended should go back it their ancestral memory..pre-Islam pre Arab influence and look at through another set of eyes and filters. Sometimes things border on the ridiculous....that's why I disassociated myself with the teachings of the slave traders.

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  2. It's unfortunate and offensive to me (an afro-caribbean american descendant) that a team of Koreans were chosen over his own countrymen. If the Koreans are experts, the hire a small team and the rest of the workforce should have been senegalese or at least black africans. peace and love

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    Replies
    1. I see your point and knoe how you feel, however, it is done now and cannot be changed. Sometimes, we have to accept what is and move forward in an united front because there are still many mountains still to climb.

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