Almanac Name of the inhabitants: Les Dakarois Population: 919,683 (town, 2002) 2,411,528 (region, 2002) Famous people: Birago Diop (poet and storyteller), Youssou N’Dour (singer), Ousmane Sow (sculptor) Industries: seaport, administrative center, oil refinery, food industries, tourism One in four Senegalese people live in the region of Dakar.
Geography Dakar is Senegal’s capital and largest city. It is located on the Cap Vert peninsula, at the westernmost point of continental Africa. The Atlantic Ocean surrounds the city on three sides and suburbs of the city lie to the east. Dakar has a deep, natural harbor protected by limestone cliffs and a system of breakwaters, making it one of the busiest ports in Africa. L’île de Gorée is located at the entrance to the harbor, about 2.5 miles off the coast.
History Île de Goréé Although the Portuguese had visited the island in 1444, the Dutch established the first permanent European settlement in 1617. They named the island Geode Reede, which means “good harbor.” This name was corrupted into Gorée. The French took possession of Gorée in 1677.
History Dakar Louis Faidherbe, governor of Senegal, founded Dakar on the site of a fishing village in 1857. Dakar became the government seat of French West Africa in 1903, then the capital of Senegal when the country gained independence in 1960.
L’île de Gorée L’île de Gorée is found in front of Dakar. In the past, it was the slave business center. Today, this residential & tourist neighborhood is known for its beauty and its calm.
La place de l’Indépendance Found in the old French neighborhood, le Plateau. It’s the heart of Dakar where there are a lot of hotels, restaurants, and businesses.
Le marché Kermel Here one can buy African & European food products, flowers, and handicrafts.
Bargaining Bargaining is an essential part of shopping in Dakar’s markets. It involves more than negotiating a reduction in the price. If a buyer expresses interest, he or she has committed to a lengthy interaction in which many other subjects, such as family and health, are discussed before a final price is reached. The relationship established between the merchant and buyer is often just as important as the sale.
La gare Built in 1883, the train station is one of the oldest monuments of the city.
Soumbédioune Every day, the Senegalese can buy fresh fish at the Soumbédioune market.
La Grande Mosquée Built in maghrebian (North African) style in 1964. Every Friday, Dakarois Muslims go there for “La Grande Prière”.
Religion Over 90% of the Senegalese people are Muslim. Those that live in Dakar worship at the Grand Mosquée and at smaller mosques in and around the city. Although the teachings and practices they follow are similar to those elsewhere, the Muslims of Senegal may also be followers of marabouts, leaders who are part priest, fortune teller, and mystic.
Religion They may also belong to a confrérie, or brotherhood that helps them both spiritually and in the material world. One of the largest brotherhoods is the Mourides. Many small merchants in Dakar belong to the Mourides, and receive protection from larger retailers who are also members of the brotherhood.
Religion Another important confrérie in the Dakar area is the Layènes. Members of this fraternity often add the name Laye to their family name and dress in white.
La porte du troisième millénaire Built in 2001, it represents a man who sounds the call of the 21 st century.
Le Palais présidentiel Since independence in 1960, the Presidents of Senegal have been living in this old residence of the colonial governor.
Pape Sambe (Papisto Boy) Painted several murals in Dakar. This one represents two people from Senegalese history: Lat Dior and General Faidherbe.
Pape Sambe Known as Papisto Boy, he paints murals as a way to express his devotion to a Sufi saint. He also paints because he wants to give courage to Dakar’s workers and teach them world history. Scenes from his murals include important figures and events in Senegal’s history, such as the defeat of Lat Dior, a Senegalese leader who opposed the French in the 19 th century.
They also include international historical figures, such as Nelson Mandela and Malcolm X, religious figures, and singers. Pape Sambe His largest and most famous mural covers 200 meters and is painted on the exterior of a factory yard in Belaire, the community where he lives.
Dak’Art The purpose is to promote current African creation. The Senegalese government sponsors this event every two years.
Ousmane Sow Ousmane Sow became a sculptor late in life. He creates large sculptures made of soil and recycled materials.
Collé Ardo Sow has been creating haute couture and prêt-a- porter (ready to wear) clothes in Dakar since 1983.
She began her career as a model in Paris and took up fashion design while there, graduating from the Institut de coupe et de haute couture de Paris. Collé Ardo Sow She moved back to Dakar and created her own label in 1984. Shortly after beginning her business, a friend asked her to create an outfit out of pagne, a traditional West African fabric.
The outfit she created received rave reviews at fashion shows, and she soon began selling her African influenced creations in stores worldwide. Collé Ardo Sow She became known as the ambassador of Senegalese design, particularly after the airline Air Afrique commissioned her to create their uniforms.
Les tissus d’Aïssa Dione Fabrics used in couture houses in Paris.
La Simod (Semaine internationale de la mode) La Simod, or International Fashion Week, is an event where all stylists from Africa show their collections.
Le Festival du film de quartier allows young directors from the whole world to present their first audiovisual work.
Le Festival international de danse Kaay Fecc presents traditional and contemporary dance shows.
The Festival Kaay Fecc, which means “come dance” in Wolof, was created to support the training of dancers and choreographers and give them a place to showcase their art. Dance companies from all over the world come to Dakar for this eight-day event. They offer and participate in dance workshops that are free and open to the general public. Le Festival international de danse Kaay Fecc
Africa Fête Reunites musicians from all of Africa to offer diverse concerts. This festival shows the universality of African cultures.
Griots Griots are part historian, storyteller, poet, and musician, passing on history and culture from generation to generation through oral voice. Some help preserve family memories. Others are associated with a particular clan or village. The griot’s role is usually passed on from father to son.
Moussa Sene Absa Film director and actor His films Tableau Ferraille et Madame Brouette received prizes in international festivals.
Ousmane Sembène Was a very famous African actor and director. In his films, he dealt with subjects such as corruption, poverty, and colonialism.
He is often considered the father of sub- Saharan African film. Ousmane Sembène He produced short and feature-length films that include dramas, documentaries, and satirical comedies. His film La noire de… was the first feature ever produced by a sub-Saharan African and was honored at the 1967 Cannes Film Festival. He has made several films in Wolof, Senegal’s primary native language, in an effort to reach a wider audience.