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Saturday, 9 January 2010
It is situated on the most western tip of the continent and, it was hoped, would become Africa’s most instantly recognizable monument – a kind of Statue of Liberty for the new millennia (and a good size bigger). Unfortunately for the mastermind behind this colossal folly, Senegal’s octogenarian President Abdoulaye Wade the statue has offended a large part of the population of the country. For a start, if you pan away from the monument, this is what you see.
A little reminiscent of Soviet era statues (oddly enough, it was built by North Koreans) you may also think that those behind the statue are suffering from a large dose of good old fashioned megalomania. Not only that, a large proportion of Senegalese are Muslim – ninety four percent to be exact.
Although they are not hugely radical in religious terms the bare breasted, skimpily dressed female is not to the taste of many. At all. As for the aesthetics of the piece – don’t even go there.
It is thought that the female figure may well have to have her modesty returned to her before the statue is 'unveiled' shortly.
The price tag? Around twenty million British pounds – almost forty million US dollars.
It may not seem an awful lot, but to the cash strapped Senegalese that money could have solved quite a number of their ills.
The biggest irony is that a symbol of indepence and freedom from opression has been built by foreigners.
Perhaps in a decade, when the country has recovered and its people happier, the statue - and its worth to the nation and the world - can be judged properly.
Posted by RJ Evans at 16:56
Labels: Africa, folly, Renaissance, Senegal, Statue