As an essayist, chronicler and novelist, the author, Fadel Dia, already boasts several titles to his name: L’instant durable (1982), Mon village au temps des Blancs (2000), A mes chers parents gaulois (2007), La raparille (2009), Wade mecum (2010), Le temps des choses jamais vues (2013), Propos en temps libre (2021).
La vie était lente et tendre is an autobiography of the author retracing life in his early childhood with his family and extended family as can be understood in traditional african communities: life with father, mother and siblings, which is necessarily to be extended to all other relations: uncles, aunts, half-brothers, cousins, grandfathers, grandmothers with very strong solidarity and identity ties. All this during colonial times and along the long stretch of water named Senegal river which, in the preface of Cheikh Hamidou Kane’s Ambiguous Adventure, is called the « Old Man River » (Mississippi) of the Diallobé, for the formation of human communities along its banks.
The 660-page essay is full of lessons and information on the intricate fabric of traditional african communities cemented by a number of values: solidarity, hierarchy, codes of conduct such as honor, respect to age seniority, the caste system, matriarchy, patriarchy, the strict respect of religious precepts in this part of Senegal, Fuuta, which embraced Islam as early as the 10th century.
The discussion of the book was preceded by the screening of a documentary film on the author and prominent members of his family including the author of Ambiguous Adventure, Cheikh Hamidou Kane, who attended the event.
The book launch attracted a substantial audience including friends and family members but also academics, reporters, students totaling 71 people.