PRETORIA – Senegal has opened its museum of African civilisations that has put it at the head of continental efforts to decolonise knowledge.
It comes as France has announced its intention to return African works of art looted during the colonial era.
Senegal’s first President Leopold Senghor presented a post-colonial cultural vision of Africa 52 years ago.
Spending up to a quarter of the national budget on the arts, he hosted world festivals featuring the greatest international black artists and entertainers.
Economic realities pushed these into the background until a $34 million Chinese investment enabled President Macky Sall to build the museum in Dakar.
In a structure modelled on Great Zimbabwe, it’s said to compare with the National Museum of African American History in Washington.
First exhibits are from Mali, Burkina Faso, Cuba and Haiti.
On Dec 6, Senegal will open the Museum of Black Civilisations in Dakar. It's the LARGEST MUSEUM OF BLACK CIVILISATIONS anywhere. A year ago to the date, Senegal opened its long-delayed Blaise-Diagne International Airport. Seems Senegal is locking down the west African coast💪🏿💪🏿💪🏿 pic.twitter.com/ueKga0SU2v
— Charles Onyango-Obbo (@cobbo3) December 1, 2018
African #culture. The Museum of Black Civilisations opens this week in Dakar, Senegal. Modernist building's circular shape symbolises the Diaspora always returning to Africa. 14,000 square metres of floor space have capacity for 18,000 exhibits. pic.twitter.com/tbHaVbLIfo
— James Hall (@hallaboutafrica) December 7, 2018
Yesterday the new Musée des civilisations noires/ Museum of black civilization opened in Dakkar, Senegal.
Part funded by the Chinese it has capacity to hold 18,000 pieces & aims to exhibit richness of black civilizations and history + the work of black artists.
(Official images) pic.twitter.com/LehzgpxVp1
— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) December 7, 2018