Academic journal article African Studies Review

Modern Media and Culture in Senegal: Speaking Truth to Power

Academic journal article African Studies Review

Modern Media and Culture in Senegal: Speaking Truth to Power

Article excerpt

Abstract:

In a You Tube video, a young man performs a satirical poem about Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade. The author brilliantly sums up Wade's tenure in one minute. He compares the president to "a rat's hole" and makes fun of his physical features while emphasizing many ways in which Wade has failed the nation. Some viewers thought the performance was disrespectful of the president, and others feared for the author's safety. This article argues that although the World Wide Web gives voice to African youth, it can be a dangerous space, especially for artists. The viewers' negative comments and their concern for the author's life is a modern response to his art and a consequence of its presentation on the Internet. If viewed through the lenses of traditional Wolof oral forms, however, the poem's harsh rhetoric takes on less controversial meanings that the viewers did not seem to understand.

Résumé: Dans une vidéo sur You Tube, on peut voir un jeune homme récitant un poème satirique sur le président de Sénégal, Adboulaye Wade. En une minute, l'auteur résume brillamment le régime de Wade. Il compare le président à un "trou à rat" et se moque de ses traits physiques tout en mettant l'accent sur les multiples manières dont le président a déçu la nation. Certains spectateurs ont jugé que le portrait du président était irrévérencieux, d'autres ont eu peur que la vie de l'auteur soit en danger. Cet article soutient que même si Internet offre un espace d'expression pour la jeunesse africaine, le Web est aussi un espace dangereux, en particulier pour les artistes. Les réactions négatives des spectateurs et leur inquiétude pour la sécurité de l'artiste sont une réponse moderne à son art et une conséquence de sa représentation sur le Web. Si le poème était remis dans le contexte de la tradition orale Wolof, sa rhétorique dure offrirait des clés d'interprétation que les spectateurs du Web n'ont pas, il semble, été en mesure de décoder.

PAXOUM KAGNA

Na loxoyadadie!

Na loxo yi mbeukké!

Na dadié na dadié!

Na loxo yi dadié!

E démal!

Abdou dafa waatie, Ablaye yék,

Senghorwathioup leuguéy,

Niou dém diko diaalé, bato ba diik,

Kouné boppam la tal!

Nélba dafa rey té xélma naax,

Loumou wax fatte ko!

Beut yeu da fa doug, té léx ya rass

Laay leudieul naniou!

Laay dolli niou,

Nga doggaliniou,

Boroom ndél bé niou ray.

Nie up pa ngi dégë,

Dilaay nioo ngui xool,

Nioun guissou nou darà, loutax?

Marsé bou niou lai, laay dieulé niou fa,

Bo rom nél bée niou ray.

Diw gui dafa yookou, ta tieep bi seer,

Daxine suba ak ngoon.

Mat mi dafa diafé té keurign seer,

Keen amoul gaz,

Courant daa raar, té farign dém,

Keen guissoul mbourou.

Wagnil mbourou mi, mou tiopatiko,

Laay ladial nga niou.

Kii moo niou lakal,

Kii moo niou khatal,

Ak famèm bou ndaw !

Bénoup diabar niaari doom,

Far goro ba dé!!

Laay wadday paxoum kagna

Laay wad ak ndongam gou darr,

Laay waddak beuteum you dém,

Waay amoul njarign fii,

Amoul njarign feeyoo,

Mooy paxoum kagna!

A RAT'S HOLE

Let the hands meet

Let the hands collide

Let them meet, let them meet

Let the hands meet

Hey, go!

Abdou stepped down, Abdoulaye

stepped up,

Senghor completed his work (died),

We went to his funeral, the boat sank,

Everyone worries about himself only!

His bald head is big and he is senile,

He forgets anything he says!

His eyes are in their sockets and his cheeks

are wrinkled

Laay bothers us!

We asked for more (one more term),

You finished us up,

The bald head is the one who killed us.

Everyone hears,

I swear we are looking,

We do not see anything, why? …

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