Senegal historian decries long shadows of colonialismHistorians in the News
tags: colonialism, Senegal
It is shameful to see the largest streets of the West African country of Senegal bearing the names of colonial French soldiers, according to a prominent local historian.
"It is an embarrassment that the main streets of big cities carry the names of French army commanders who opposed Senegalese clerics and independence fighters,” said Iba Der Thiam, 81, a former education minister, in a press release on Tuesday.
“We know that Commander [Louis] Faidherbe, who gave the name to Dakar's biggest street today, killed 20,000 people in eight months.”
He added: "Since independence, we have been fighting for the removal of these colonial symbols and influence, but with little success. While I was at the Education Ministry, we tried to change the name of schools with colonial names but the orders from higher officials were not the same," he added.
Thiam said remnants of the colonial system can still be seen in schools, decrying the gap between the upper class and the community, adding that the education system is still in the hands of the French.
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