Senegal is a small coastal country in West Africa. The country gained her independence from France on April 4, 1960, after being colonized for over 300 years by the French. The country celebrates its independence, also known as National Day, with a two-week holiday for school children, and a couple of parades, among other events.
Senegal is a symbol of peace and democracy in Africa and has taken part in several peacekeeping operations. To join Senegal in its independence celebration we have brought you some famous individuals you didn’t know were from the country.
The prolific writer, producer, and director has been referred to as the “father of African film.” He was born in 1923 to the family of an Islamic fisherman who was a native of Casamance. Sembene was influenced by his maternal grandmother as it could be noticed that most of his works had women play the lead role. Some of his notable works include God’s bits of Wood, Xala, Ceddo, Thiaroye, and Guelwaar. He died at the age of 84 in Dakar.
She is largely regarded as one of the greatest and authentic African authors of all time. Mariama was born in 1929 and most of her work was focused on power, gender, and inequality. She died before the release of her second novel titled “Scarlet Song” in 1981. Her work has been translated into several languages even though they were originally written in French.
Gabourey was born to a Senegalese father and is famed for her role in her first movie Precious in which she played Claireece “Precious” Jones. She earned herself an Independent Spirit Award for best female lead as well as numerous nominations including a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination. She has since starred in other movies including Grimsby, Tower Heist, and White Bird in a Blizzard.
The famous 45-year-old singer was born in Senegal where he stayed till he was seven before moving to New Jersey. He spent some time in prison which he has said played a major role in his music. He has been nominated for several Grammys and has won several other awards over his career which has spanned over two decades.
He is one of the most talented musicians produced from the African continent. He is credited with elevating the mbalax dance/music genre from Senegal to the rest of the world. The Senegalese artist along with Axelle Red composed the anthem for the FIFA World Cup’ 98 titled “La Cours des Grande.” He has six Grammy nominations and one win to his name.