African Renaissance Monument

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Standing atop a 100-meter high hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean outside Dakar, in Senegal, stands the gigantic Monument to the African Renaissance. At 49 meters, it’s the tallest statue in the whole of the African continent, even taller than the Statue of Liberty by several feet.

Meant to pay homage to the African people, the statue has instead drawn huge criticism for everything — its $27 million price tag, the Stalinist-style machismo, its un-Islamic depiction of women, and the utilization of foreign workers.

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Photo credit: Sbreitinger/Wikimedia

When it was completed in 2010, Wade faced criticism for spending too much money on the statue when the country was reeling under an economic crises. The financing itself was based on a controversial arrangement in which a private developer paid for the construction in exchange for a lucrative parcel of government land near the airport. To make matter worse, Wade began to claim intellectual property rights of the statue, and insisted that he be paid 35 percent of the profits raised as royalty.

Wade also came under fire for falsely claiming the statue’s Senegalese origin, when it was revealed that it was designed by a Romanian architect and built by a North Korean sculpting company famous for various projects and large statues throughout Africa. Few people understood why a statue celebrating African freedom and renaissance had to be build by foreign nationals.

Then, there was some who took offence at the scantily clad woman revealing part of her breasts and thighs, calling it a sacrilege against Muslim culture. Others pointed out that the facial features of the statues didn’t bear resemblance to African people. Some even rumored that its male face was crafted to resemble Mr. Wade. Most agree that Soviet-style statue is out of place, and represents the macho sexism of African authoritarian rulers than anything else.

The monument is one of the most visited in Dakar today, but the revenue generated from the handful of visitors is still not enough to cover the site’s operating cost.

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Photo credit: Jeff Attaway/Flickr

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Photo credit: Jeff Attaway/Flickr

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Photo credit: Evgeni Zotov/Flickr

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Photo credit: John Karwoski/Flickr

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Photo credit: John Karwoski/Flickr

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Photo credit: John Karwoski/Flickr

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Photo credit: Jeff Attaway/Flickr

Sources: Wikipedia / NPR / The Globe And Mail

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4 comments:

  1. Why does a statue have an operating cost? This is rather baffling.

    ReplyDelete
  2. African renaissance? Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's 160 feet (not meters) tall, it's 49 meters.

    ReplyDelete

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