In Senegal, the family of the famous sculptor Ousmane Sow in conflict with the "Routard"

African Renaissance statue in Dakar, Senegal.

Carine Frenk / RFI

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2 mins

In the pages of its edition devoted to Senegal, the most famous of French tourist guides attributes to Sow the paternity of the African Renaissance Monument.

Problem: Ousmane Sow is not the sculptor of this statue inaugurated in 2010 in Dakar.

And given the monument's controversial history, this mistake is symbolic.


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By associating the name of the

famous sculptor Ousmane Sow

with that of the monument erected on one of the "udders" of Dakar, the

Guide du Routard

revives the controversy surrounding the commissioning of this famous statue. 

In the early 2000s, Abdoulaye Wade was not yet president when he spoke to his friend Ousmane Sow about this ambitious project: that of erecting a monument on the highest point in Dakar.

Once president, he orders the monument to the sculptor: Ousmane Sow has carte blanche.

He draws an African couple with their child.

But as the project materializes, the controversies multiply: Abdoulaye Wade is demanding and goes so far as to ask for 35% copyright on the fruits of the building. 

Increasingly reluctant, Ousmane Sow was finally dismissed from the project in favor of another sculptor.

But it is his idea that is kept, since the African Renaissance Monument is in the effigy of a couple and their child. 

Reason why his daughter, Marina Sow, talks about plagiarism.

Hence his anger: citing the sculptor, who died in 2016, the

Guide du Routard

associates him with a monument that he very quickly disavowed.

In particular in the columns of

Jeune Afrique

, in which Ousmane Sow declared shortly before the inauguration in 2010: “ 

I apologize in advance to the Senegalese for what they are going to see. 


Senegalese sculptor Ousmane Sow, who died in 2016 at the age of 81.

AFP/Bertrand Guay


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  • Senegal