SENEGAL – SENEGAL

Drvece baobaba-Baobab trees

Drvece baobaba-Baobab trees

Dzamija u unutrasnjosti-A mosque in the countryside

Dzamija u unutrasnjosti-A mosque in the countryside

Istorijski hotel-The historic Hotel de la Poste

Istorijski hotel-The historic Hotel de la Poste

Istorijsko ostrvo Gore kao muzej ropstva-The historic Goree Island-Museum of Slavery

Istorijsko ostrvo Gore kao muzej ropstva-The historic Goree Island-Museum of Slavery

Katedrala u centru Sen Luja-The Cathedral in the centre of St. Louis

Katedrala u centru Sen Luja-The Cathedral in the centre of St. Louis

Kolonijlna zgrada poreske uprave St. Louis-a-A colonial building

Kolonijlna zgrada poreske uprave St. Louis-a-A colonial building

Kuca robova-The House of slaves

Kuca robova-The House of slaves

Memorijalni muzej-ostrvo Gore-Goree Island Memorial Museum

Memorijalni muzej-ostrvo Gore-Goree Island Memorial Museum

Minareti kao strele-Minarets like arrows in the sky

Minareti kao strele-Minarets like arrows in the sky

Most po Ajfelovim nacrtima spaja Sen Luj sa kopnom-Faidherbe bridge connecting St. Louis to the mainland

Most po Ajfelovim nacrtima spaja Sen Luj sa kopnom-Faidherbe bridge connecting St. Louis to the mainland

Obilazak grada fijakerom-A horse carriage tour of St. Louis

Obilazak grada fijakerom-A horse carriage tour of St. Louis

Ostaci francuske kolonijalne arhitekture-The remains of French colonial architecture

Ostaci francuske kolonijalne arhitekture-The remains of French colonial architecture

Saint-Charles-Borromee church on Goree Island

Saint-Charles-Borromee church on Goree Island

Sen Luj je senegalska Venecija-St. Louis-The Venice of Senegal

Sen Luj je senegalska Venecija-St. Louis-The Venice of Senegal

Spomenik palim u Prvom svetskom ratu-The World War I Memorial

Spomenik palim u Prvom svetskom ratu-The World War I Memorial

Spomenik robovima-The statue of the slaves

Spomenik robovima-The statue of the slaves

Stare kolonijalne kuce - Old colonial houses of St. Louis

Stare kolonijalne kuce – Old colonial houses of St. Louis

Stare kolonijalne kuce- Old colonial houses of St. Louis

Stare kolonijalne kuce- Old colonial houses of St. Louis

Stare kolonijalne kuce-Old colonial houses of St. Louis

Stare kolonijalne kuce-Old colonial houses of St. Louis

Hôtel de la Poste nalazi se preko puta pošte, naravno. Pun je starih postera
o prvim preletima francuskih pilota od Pariza do ovog mesta, i odavde ka
Južnoj Americi, Karibima i drugim mestima frankofonske Afrike. To je Sen
Luj, stari kolonijalni gradić iz vremena procvata francuske nadmoći u
zapadnoj Africi i glavni grad velike teritorije Senegala i Mauritanije, koji
su bili jedna zemlja sve do sticanja nezavisnosti i razdvajanja 1960.
godine. Ime je dobio po francuskom kralju Luju XIV i nalazi se na ostrvu
Ndar, na ušću reke Senegal u Atlantski okean.
Kada sam, nekada veoma davno, dolazio vozom u svoj rodni Pirot, čekao me je
fijaker na železničkoj stanici. Prisećam se sada tih trenutaka, dok
osluškujem poznati zvuk laganog kasa, vozeći se u sličnom fijakeru uskim
uličicama Sen Luja. Pored mene promiču tužni ostaci davne kolonijalne ere,
koja je imala sve atribute jake vlasti: Palatu pravde, zgrade žandarmerije,
guvernerovu palatu, škole, katedralu i koje se danas nalaze na listi
Uneskove kulturne baštine. Preko zaliva se proteže pola kilometra dug
železnički most, koji je trebalo da negde prekorači Dunav, pa kako je došlo
do greške u proračunima, Senegalci su imali tu sreću da ga dobiju. Mislim da
bi i Dunavu sigurno negde bio potreban.
Senegalci su veoma dosadan i nametljiv narod i u svemu što navodno urade za
vas oni vide, traže, izvlače svoj interes do poslednjeg trenutka, a
posredovaće nasrtljivo i u najmanjoj kupovini. Ni u mnogo siromašnijim
sredinama nisam nailazio na tu osobinu, posebno izraženu u Sen Luju, a koja
je prisutna kod skoro svih afričkih naroda.
Moj veseli prijatelj Madžama Mbaje vozi me ponosno u svom novom američkom
automobilu kroz glavni grad Dakar, srećan jer je jedan od onih koji je
svojim radom uspeo u ovoj sredini. Dakar je pravi kosmopolitski grad, sa
delimično evropskom arhitekturom, modernim bulevarima i šetalištima uz obalu
koja se nazivaju Corniche, sa uređenim plažama i skupim hotelima. Periferija
je odraz beskrajnog siromaštva grada, koje se takođe oseća, a najgore što se
može poželeti jeste napuštanje grada ili dolazak u grad, koji traju satima.
Jedino je avion prihvatljivo rešenje. Slaže se s tim Madžama, koji obožava
ovaj grad u kome je uspeo i kome želi uvek da se vrati iz bilo kog kraja
sveta. Proslavljeni senegalski kantautor Jusu N’Dur takođe peva o povratku
svojoj zemlji i o svojim afričkim korenima.
Sasvim drugačiji ambijent je na istorijskom ostrvu Gore, koje se nalazi
preko puta Dakara. Ono je vekovima služilo kao sabirni centar i polazna
stanica robova ka Novom svetu. U ambijentu afričke umetnosti i bugenvilija,
stare kolonijalne kućice tužno skrivaju prošlost kojom se niko ne ponosi.
Lepota ambijenta, međutim, privlači sve koji traže mir od nesnosne dakarske
gužve. Kao da je najlepše mediteransko ostrvo, ali koje ima svoju ružičastu
Kuću robova, sa čijih se dvostrukih polukružnih stepenica vekovima odlazilo
na dug put u jednom smeru.
Afrika to negde, duboko u sebi, još proživljava, pamti i teško zaboravlja.

Februar 2010.
__________________________________________________

Hôtel de la Poste is located, of course, opposite the post office. It is
full of old posters depicting the first flights of French pilots from Paris
to this place, and from here to Latin America, the Caribbean and to other
places of the Francophone Africa. This is in Saint-Louis, the old colonial
town from the top power of French supremacy in Western Africa and the former
capital of a vast territory comprising Senegal and Mauritania. They used to
be one country until 1960 when they won independence and separated. The city
got its name after the French King Louis XIV and is situated on the island
of Ndar, at the mouth of the Senegal River where it flows into the Atlantic
Ocean.
As a very little boy I would travel by train to my birthplace of Pirot and
was greeted by a horse drawn carriage at the station. I reminisce about
those times now when I listen to the sound of light trotting, driving around
in a similar carriage through the narrow streets of Saint-Louis. Sad
remnants of a long gone colonial era pass me by, all representing a strong
colonial rule: The Palace of Justice, the Gendarmerie building, The
Governor’s Palace, schools, the cathedral, today UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A 500 metre long railway bridge is stretching across the bay; it was
supposed to be a bridge over the Danube, but as there were some
miscalculations in its construction, the Senegalese were lucky enough to get
it. I think the Danube certainly needs it too.
Senegalese can be quite a nuisance and they are in your face; for every
little thing they seemingly do for you, they see their own interest which
they pursue and coerce to achieve until the last moment; they will push to
assert themselves as intermediaries even for the smallest purchase. I did
not happen to see this even in environments with much more deprivation, even
though it is present in almost all the African countries, and is especially
pronounced in Saint-Louis.
My cheerful friend Madiama Mbaye drives me proudly around Dakar, the
capital, in his new American car; he is happy because he is one of the few
who succeeded with their hard work in this environment. Dakar is a truly
cosmopolitan city with a partially European architecture, modern boulevards,
and a promenade along the sea shore, which is called the Corniche, with well
tended beaches and expensive hotels. However the outskirts are a reflection
of the city’s endless poverty which can be felt everywhere, and the worst
thing you would want to do is to get into the city or get out of it, because
that takes many painful hours. The only solution is an airplane. My friend
Madiama agrees with that even though he adores this city in which he made
his fortune and to which he always wants to return from anywhere else in the
world. The famous Senegalese musician, Youssou N’Dour, also sings about the
return to his country and his African roots.
A totally different atmosphere awaits on the historic island of Gorée,
opposite Dakar. For centuries it served as a collection point for slave
trade and as a starting point of the jourey to the New World. In the
ambiance of African art and buganvillea, the small old colonial houses sadly
conceal the past that no one is proud of. Yet the beauty of the amibance
attracts all those seeking a respite from the unbearable hustle and bustle
of Dakar. It looks like the most gorgeous Mediterranean island; yet the pink
building called the House of Slaves reminds us that, for centuries, all the
journeys that commenced at its double semi-circular staircase, were always
only one way.
Africa is still living with this memory, somewhere deep in its heart,
remembering and not forgetting easily.

February 2010

Leave a Reply