Arts + Culture

Senegal Opens Museum of Black Civilizations—One of the Largest of Its Kind In the World

The museum, dedicated to "decolonizing African knowledge," has been 52 years in the making.

What began as an idea proposed by Senegal's first president Léopold Sédar Senghor over 50 years ago, has now become a reality as Senegal has officially opened the Museum of Black Civilizations, one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Senegal's current president Macky Sall inaugurated the museum earlier today in Dakar. The design of the building, which contains 14,000 square meters of floor space and a capacity for 18,000 exhibits, was inspired by circular traditional homes native to Southern Senegal, BBC Africa reports. Its size is comparable to the National Museum of African American History in Washington, according to Al Jazeera.


The museum has been several years in the making, with leaders after Senghor putting investment into the arts on the back burner in the face of economic and political challenges. In 2011, President Abdoulaye Wade laid the foundation for the museum, but construction was halted due to a political transition, adds CGTN Africa News. The project was put into motion by Sall beginning in 2013, and has finally come to fruition through a $34 million investment from China—another indication of China's ubiquitous economic presence across Africa.

READ: Senegal Urges France to Return Looted Art

The museum, is dedicated to "decolonizing African knowledge" and hosts artifacts and exhibitions representative of both continental Africa, and its diaspora. The museum's first exhibitions showcase works from artists from Mali and Burkina Faso as well as from Cuba and Haiti. The diaspora in Brazil and the United States are also represented in the museum's collection.

As Al Jazeera reports, some of the works currently showing at the museum include "Memory in Motion" by Haitian artist Philippe Dodard, which depicts "the stages of enslavement from Africa to the slave ship to the Caribbean plantation with floating eyes," to quote the publication directly. As well as "Women of the Nation" which pays homage to impactful women of African decent.

In November, Senegal urged France to return 100 pieces of looted art, following the release of a report commissioned by France's President Emmanuel Macron, entitled The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage: Toward a New Relational Ethics. Macron had recently ordered 26 Benin artifacts to be returned to their country of origin.

J Hus. Photo: CROWNS & OWLS. Courtesy of Epic Records.

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Rema, J Hus, YoungstaCPT, Thutmose, N'veigh and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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Deaan Vivier/Foto24/Gallo Images via Getty Images

Miss South Africa Wants Men to Write Love Letters to Women to Fight Against Gender-Based Violence

Unfortunately, there's nothing stopping abusive men from writing these love letters too.

South Africa's newly crowned Miss SA Zozibini "Zozi" Tunzi has launched a "HeForShe" campaign which aims to tackle the alarming rates of femicide and gender-based violence in the country. The campaign, which is in partnership with the South African arm of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), wants South African men to step up and join the collective fight against abuse. However, the campaign has been criticized by many because of the way in which it wants men to step—by writing love letters to women. The campaign has divided South Africans, particularly those on social media.

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Romain Chanson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Gambian Beauty Queen Fatou Jallow's Movement Against Sexual Assault Gains Traction

After publicly accusing former President Yahya Jammeh of rape, young women under the #IamToufah banner are standing against sexual assault in the country.

A few months ago, former Gambian beauty queen Fatou 'Toufah' Jallow publicly accused former President Yahya Jammeh of rape. The 23-year-old alleged that Jammeh had raped her following her refusal of his marriage proposal during his time in office back in 2015. Under the leadership of current President Adama Barrow, The Gambian government established the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) which is now investigating human rights violations during Jammeh's tenure. Jallow, who is testifying at the commission, has spurred a movement where young women are taking a stand against sexual assault in the country under the #IamToufah banner.

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