We are back with our lists about African countries. Let’s go west of Africa to Senegal where there are some things you might find interesting. If you want to read about other countries, the links will be provided down below as you read the article. With that said, these are the top 10 things you didn’t know about Senegal.
10. How the name Senegal came about
This one is quite odd. When the Portuguese visited the country’s coast in the 16th Century, the fishermen said “sunu gaal”. The phrase translates to “these are our boats” but since the Portuguese understood nothing, they simply decided to name the land Senegal. They didn’t get the spelling right but okay.
9. It is a political stable country
It is the only country in West Africa that wasn’t overrun by a military coup. Thanks to the country enjoying political stability, Senegal has earned itself many allies in Europe and the Americas. I don’t know about you, but did you know Nigeria has had three different coup d’etats?
8. Taxis have tails
Yup, you’re not reading it wrong. Not all taxis have them but it is a common sight. It is believed that attaching a goat’s tail to the back of their cars will bring them good luck. I don’t know how vegans would feel about this.
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7. Africa’s tallest statue
The African Renaissance Monument is a 49-metre tall bronze statue located outside Dakar, Senegal’s capital city. It was unveiled on 3rd April 2010 by then-President Abdoulaye Wade who said the statue “brings life to our common destiny”.
It is estimated that the statue cost the government $27 million which sparked heavy criticism from the opposition.
6. Sheep have days off
It turns out that being sheep in Senegal isn’t so bad after all. Every Sunday on Dakar’s Yoff Beach, you can find hordes of sheep enjoying their Sunday afternoon spa and bath in the warm tropical waters of the Atlantic. It is a tradition to take care of your own sheep in Senegal. They must be in heaven…until they are sacrificed. Well, at least they get spa days.
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5. Khar Bii
If I were to pitch an idea to you that I want to start a show about me going around the country looking for the best sheep and letting them compete for the top prize, would you accept it? No. But, it is a brilliant idea in Senegal. Khar Bii is the name of the show that displays the best sheep in the country. Five seasons have aired. Five! At one point it even got to be the most popular show in the country. Sheep are the Kardashians of Senegal.
4. The Dakar Rally
The world’s most grueling car race was actually from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal. This was from 1979-2007 but it was eventually changed to South America due to security threats in Mauritania. Not to worry, the race will move to the Arabian Peninsula as of 2020. This marks the final year of the Dakar Rally in South America.
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Remember him? Konvict Music? Yes, that guy. He was born and brought up in Senegal. He is one of the few Africans who has taken over the North American music industry in the previous decade. Seriously, check out his statistics.
2. Second worst non-military disaster in maritime history
The government-owned ferry, MV Le Joola, capsized off the coast of the Gambia on 26 September 2002. A total number of 1,863 deaths were recorded and there were only 64 survivors. The ship was plying the route from Ziguinchor in the Casamance region to the Senegalese capital, Dakar, when it ran into a violent storm, farther out to sea than it was licensed to sail.
The ship was reported to have had 2000 passengers aboard, three times more than the maximum capacity of just over 500 passengers.
1. A pink lake
Seriously. There is a pink lake in Senegal, just outside of Dakar. Lake Retba (or Lac Rose) has high salt content which attracts the Dunaliella salina bacteria. This bacteria produces a red pigment in order to absorb the sunlight, thus giving the lake its unique color.
What else do you know about the West African country? Let us know in the comments below.