Book Launch: Mamoudou Ibra Kane: Le Senegal et Mandela: Le Grand Secret / Senegal and Mandela: The Great Secret
(Feu de Brousse publishing house, 2020)
The great senegalese reporter and director general of the Tv and radio stations ITV in Dakar, Mamoudou Ibra Kane, recently published an essay on the fascinating relations between the leader of the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa, Nelson Mandela, and the west african country Senegal and its leaders. Some of such relations were already known to the public: the ANC representation in Senegal in the early days of the struggle, senegalese diplomatic passports made available to ANC senior officials to facilitate their travels the world over, President Senghor politely declining to contribute money to buy weapons for ANC when Mandela made the request in Dakar in 1962 and offering to contribute to negotiations and discussions between white liberals and ANC. It is also universally known that as President of Senegal, Abdou Diouf took a perilous trip to meet the Front Line leaders with his plane flying over Apartheid South Africa air space while he was Chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
However, very few people knew that when Nelson Mandela left the Robben Island jail in 1992, it was to go to a home from which he would soon be evicted for defaulting on rent payment. Such a quandary was only resolved with Mandela making a surprise visit in Senegal, submitting the tricky issue to President Diouf who, the next day, remitted to the great leader a check with the required amount to pay his debt in full.
The graceful gesture from Abdou Diouf was for the writer of the essay a pretext to explore Senegal’s diplomatic achievements and standing in Africa and the world over.
The round table held in a hotel in Dakar featured a former senegalese diplomat Hamidou Sall and a retired senegalese magistrate Benoit Ngom both of whom were key actors and witnesses in the relations between South Africa and Senegal. The Director of WARC was also a contributor to the round table as well as the author himself, Mamoudou Ibra Kane. It was also for the West African Research Center (WARC) a contribution to the celebration of Black History Month at a time when, with the pandemic, WARC is advocating and practicing social and physical distancing and avoiding to draw crowds in its premises in an effort to curb Covid-19. The event was broadcast on Tuesday, February 11th on the ITV channel in Dakar.
The book is published in french and in english to make it available to a larger readership.