Majestic, grandeur, humungous, huge…. These are some of the comments that you hear from people those who have visited Le Monument de la Renaissance Africaine or African Renaissance Monument. I had something different in my mind when I saw this monument, it was “Ooh My God Woooooooooow”.
This destination was not in my must visit list during my stay in Senegal since this place was not within a tourist trail but one needs to visit this separately and I could not plan this during the trip. I had struck this off my list till I got a surprise opportunity. After the opening ceremony of the conference it was announced that the Government of Senegal had invited all the participants to a cultural evening followed by a cocktail dinner at the African Renaissance Monument. This particular event was called “Africa sunset at Monument of African Renaissance”.
We boarded the bus that was arranged to take us to the African Renaissance Monument from the hotel. It was already 6 PM and the Sun was on its way beyond the horizon. During this particular season the sun sets around 7 – 8 PM thus we had enough time to see the sun set beyond the famous monument. It was a short ride through the city and within 15 – 20 minutes we reached African Renaissance Monument.
This monument is located in one of a twin hill locally known as Collines des Mamelles in the Cape-Vert peninsula. These hills are volcanic in nature and was created roughly around most recent of the three periods of the Cenozoic Era. One of the hill has a light house and the other has the monument.
This monument was designed by Senegalese architect Pierre Goudiaby and it was promoted by then President of Senegal Abdoulaye Wade. Surprisingly this monument was constructed by North Korean construction firm Mansudae Overseas Projects. Made entirely of Bronze these are similar in construction style of the statue of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang – North Korea.
Construction started in 2006 and was finally completed in early 2010. This was inaugurated on 4th of April 2010 which is also Senegal’s National Day. This was attended by several dignitaries from various African countries. With this it became the tallest statue in Africa, it’s nearly 49 m (160ft) which is much taller than the Statue of Liberty.
The stage was set behind the monument and the evening mood was already high with beautiful Senegalese music. Equally wonderful were the starters, delicious and mouth-watering. This was slowly becoming an evening of fun, food and fabulous music. We were also in treat for some wonderful West African music and dance specially performed for all the visiting guests.
Video of the Entire Cultural Evening
We were lucky to get entertained by a wonderful group of energetic performers. Beautifully choreographed the audience were enthralled by the dedication of the young performers. We stayed there till around 10 PM and did not feel like returning to our hotel room. But had to leave since it was getting late and the busses were ready to take us back.