The African renaissance monument can be seen from miles around and must be particularly impressive if arriving from the sea. A colossus African man and his wife hold aloft a baby, gazing out to sea. A plaque is dedicated to the youth inveighs against those that might forget the sacrifices made for their liberation.
The monument stand on top of a hill, the top of which offers fine views across the city – quite possibly the largest expanse of half finished concrete buildings you’re likely to see.
It was built by North Koreans and, aside from facial features, mimics a Soviet statue. It is thought by most Senegalese to be a grand folly, costing $27 million of public money. The late Dakarois sculptor, Ousman Sow, described it as childish and Youssou N’Dour described it as a scar on his city and to the African renaissance. The $7 fee to travel up inside for a view out of it’s face in unaffordable to most and no one seems to know exactly where the profits go. Apparently the previous president Wade, who pocketed a third of all revenues and rang up the Statue of Liberty souvenir shop several times trying to find out how they make profits from a statue. His autocratic tendencies and loose handling of state funds turned the youth against him and following riots, he was replaced by Macky Sall in 2012.
Having said all of that, for me it’s so huge and bizarre, I rather like it.