Coronavirus in Senegal shatters Independence Day

Senegalese graffiti artists from the RBS group encourage the population to protect themselves from the epidemic threat, in Dakar, March 25, 2020. REUTERS / Zohra Bensemra

Text by: Charlotte Idrac Follow

The 60th anniversary of the country's independence, this April 4, is organized in the context of the fight against the coronavirus: the planned festivities have been canceled and the celebration will be reduced to the strict minimum.


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From our correspondent in Dakar,

No traditional military parade… This year, the national holiday will be reduced to a “taking up of arms”, scheduled for this Saturday morning, at 10 am, in the courtyard of the presidential palace in Dakar. It will be followed by the national anthem. Sober ceremony, in the presence of the Minister of the Armed Forces, and the military authorities.

The theme chosen for this year, before the start of the coronavirus crisis, was premonitory: " The role of the defense and security forces in the management of pandemics and other disasters ". The Head of State asked the Minister of Communication to ensure " the transmission in the media of the missions, actions and achievements " of the various army corps throughout this day.

From his speech of March 14, and the first measures against the Covid-19 (including the ban on rallies), Macky Sall had announced the cancellation of the festivities. Otherwise, the presidency called on Twitter the Senegalese to " film themselves ", and to send their "messages of good wishes to celebrate the national holiday".

It is the day when the nation meets and reflects on its existence, its solidarity, its sorrows and its joys. This independence day brings together all Senegalese people around the essentials and their hopes

How are the Senegalese going to live this special day? Lyrics of Dakarois

William de Lesseux

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RFI Savoirs, African independence: Senegal

Report : what about memory transmission in all this ?

How is this page of fundamental history transmitted to the younger generations today? What place does it have in secondary and high school teaching?

Alioune Ndiaye taught history-geography for 23 years, and he participated in the last revision of the programs in 2004. For him, the history of the march towards independence of Senegal is in good place in the lessons: " in the third, it is entitled "Senegal, political life from 1944 to 1962. This problem of colonization is very deep in the terminale class. The last revision of the programs really devoted a refocusing of the programs on the history of Senegal of origins of independence, so it's a clear, pedagogical and even political option, "he says.

A problem also addressed in civic education courses. Djiguatte Amédé Bassène is a high school history teacher. Are his students interested in it? " Yes," he replies, " for two reasons. The first is that these are courses that are given in the exam class. Second, because they want to understand the process that led their country to independence.

For Moustapha Sène, secretary general of the Senegalese association of history and geography teachers, figures from the colonial era deserve to be highlighted: “ The fight of some like Lamine Gueye, like Blaise Diagne, consisted to claim a certain number of political rights. They are pioneers of independence that we must not forget. "

For him in any case, the resources - texts, photos, speeches of the time - are available, especially in digital, to allow the young generations to know this page of history.

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  • Senegal
  • History
  • Coronavirus

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