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Sénégal : Africa hosts the World Social Forum

D 29 décembre 2010     H 04:37     A Bongani Masuku     C 0 messages

The next World Social Forum (WSF) shall take place in Dakar, Senegal, 06-11th February, 2011. For the second time in the history of its existence, it is being hosted on our continent, after the 2006 Nairobi one, hence the importance of our participation and critical role as a critical part of the progressive movement on the continent.


Dakar is a renowned city on the African continent for both its historical role and the depth of its intellectual contribution to the development of our continent and the liberation struggle. It is the same city that played host to the historic talks in 1987 between the ANC and prominent white South Africans drawn from the business, academic and other sectors of South African society, where they pledged to end apartheid, thus laying the basis for the decisive breakthrough a few years afterwards.

However, for our purposes we shall relate two important factors in this regard ;

1. Goree Island, a historical site of the transatlantic slave trade for all Africans and the

2. Cheikh Anta Diop University, named after a well known Senegalese physicist, anthropologist, linguist, archaeological and historian rated amongst African intellectual giants

Brief background to the Goree Island is that it was built in 1776 by the Dutch, the slave House at the site is one of several places on the island where Africans were brought to be loaded onto ships destined, particularly, for the western world. The owner’s residential quarters were on the upper floor of the house. The lower floor was reserved for the slaves who were weighed, fed and held before departing on the transatlantic journey. The Slave House with its famous "Door of No Return" has been preserved in its original state. The island is 3 km from Dakar city, its where thousands of Africans passed through the fortress located on the continent’s bulge.

The date of the WSF in Dakar corresponds with the death of Cheikh Anta Diop (After whom the University of Dakar was named to become the Cheikh Anta Diop University), who passed away on the 7th February, 1986. He was regarded as one of Africa’s illustrious sons, who argued that Africa was the cradle of civilisation.

He is regarded as a towering African intellectual who proved that European archaeologists and anthropologists before and after the decolonization had understated and continued to understate the extent and possibility of Black civilizations. He further posed important questions about the cultural bias inherent in scientific research.

Process towards Dakar

It is important that all organisations in thecountry and Southern African region start working on their delegations, particularly because we are told accommodation is already about to be a problem. We further are expected to play a critical role in an African WSF, otherwise, we are bound to forfeit leadership of the continent to forces outside the continent, bent on advancing and deepening their hegemony to the detriment of the working and poor people of the continent.

There will also be a South Africa Preparatory process, as well as a Southern Africa preparatory process whose dates shall be announced.

In this regard, we are organising a briefing session for all COSATU affiliates on the processes, both substantive and logistical and hope the same goes for all organisations keen to be part of the event.

Bongani Masuku, COSATU International Relations Secretary