Senegal renames local square with slave trade history

London, June 30, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The mayor of what was once a slaving post in Senegal says a local square has been renamed, as protesters around the world challenge symbols of imperialism and racism in public spaces.


Gorée Island’s place de l’Europe will now be called place de la Liberté, meaning Freedom square.

The islanders thus intend to be ‘the vanguard’ of the fight against racial violence which is the victim of African-Americans in particular and blacks in general, almost everywhere around the world”, explains Seneweb . 

The island of Gorée, symbol of the slave trade, renamed its main Senegal square on Saturday June 27, as more and more voices are raised in the country so that the traces of slavery and colonization disappear. (Image credit: Halil Sagirkaya/Anadolu/AFPThe decision was taken this Saturday, June 27 by the municipal council of this municipality of the Senegalese capital. Mayor Augustin Senghor explained the decision to RFI

It all started from the events we’ve seen in the United States, with the case of George Floyd.

Goree Island, where at least 90 percent of the streets are named after the colonists, took the first step on the subject.

The Municipal Council unanimously accepted the bill, which changed the name of the “European Square” on the island, making “Freedom and Human Honour Square

Barack and Michelle Obama visited Gorée Island and the square in 2013 (AFP/BBC Image)We thought that Gorée, given all that it represents, should play its part in this global movement that’s calling for a new order for peace, racial equality, and dignity.”

Millions of enslaved Africans were forcibly sent through this island and other similar trading posts en route to the plantations of the New World, including the US.

The names and sculptures of the French colonists are located in the important cities of Senegal, which has been the colony of France for at least 400 years.

The Senegians want the statue of the colonial governor Louis Faidherbe to be removed, especially in the city of Saint Louis, the capital of the colonial period

Meanwhile, Senegal has allowed students sitting for national exams back to school but under strict guidelines that include hand-washing, keeping social distance, temperature checks and wearing face masks.

It’s taken weeks of preparation for schools to reopen, including cleaning and disinfecting classrooms.

Learning days will last for six hours ending at 15:00 local time. School lunches have been cancelled and the sale of food in and around schools has been banned.

Parents and teachers are anxious to see the school year through. But safety is the priority as the number of Covid-19 cases in the country, especially community transmissions, is increasing.
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