Rarely do I find anything on social media worth paying attention to these days, however, I was pleasantly surprised this morning while scrolling through my Facebook timeline to come across these pictures of the African Renaissance Monument.
The 492ft statue was designed by Senegalese architect Pierre Gouidiaby and is located on top of the twin hills known as Collines des Mamelles in Dakar, Senegal. The bronze statue is said to be the tallest in Africa and reportedly taller than the Statue of Liberty and Christ the Redeemer combined.
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the African Renaissance Monument was officially unveiled to the public on April 4, 2010, Senegal’s National Day, which commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the country’s independence from the tyranny of France.
According to former president Abdoulaye Wade, the statue, which depicts and African family: a man, woman and child, is meant as a “symbol for all African people and does not belong to Senegal, but rather African people wherever we are.”
The 27 million dollar project has not been without its critics, however, with some claiming the money could have been better spent (It was partially subsidized and built by North Korea). Others have criticized Wade, calling it his personal vanity project, while some have even gone so far as to call it offensive, because the woman isn’t fully covered.
No doubt, all the criticisms may be valid, to a agree. But for me, I see this statue as a beautiful symbol of our people, and I’m none too shocked few of us have been exposed to it in this country. Symbolism is powerful, and I think former president Wade knew that.
If these images of a badass African man with his woman and child don’t bring a proud smile to your face, then I don’t know what will.