The African Reniassance Monument is something you can't miss, even from the first moment your plane flies over the city. It is a gaudy, yet still impressive sight to behold, with the ludicrously well built man holding up his infant son in one arm, and dragging his wife around the waist behind him with the other. The little boy is pointing to the future and the proud parents seem to be following his gaze. One can’t help but notice the scantily clad wife so differently dressed from the conservative Muslim women she represents.
The statue was contracted by the last and allegedly corrupt President Abdoulaye Wade who paid 20 million to a North Korean sculptor. In a city that still doesn’t have a reliable drinking water system nor the ability to keep all of the streets from flooding, not to mention that 54% of the Senegalese population live below the poverty line, you think the president of the country could have thought about other ways to use the 20 million. Rumor has it that the profit from the tourism there goes straight into the ex-president's own pocket… so don't pay to go to the top of the statue.
Why visit then, you ask, if I hold such strong aversion to the statue? I believe the monument is a tangible and insightful glimpse into the corruption that plagues countries in Africa such as Senegal. By visiting,foreigners are encouraged to reflect and stand in solidarity with the citizens of Senegal who feel the consequence of such a grave misuse of national funds.