DAKAR – Senegal’s monument to the “African Renaissance” will be formally unveiled before foreign dignitaries and celebrities on Saturday.
Slightly bigger than New York’s Statue of Liberty, the giant group of man, woman and infant is perched on a hill overlooking the Senegalese capital Dakar.
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President Abdoulaye Wade has invited about 30 heads of state to the inauguration, a day before the 50th anniversary of Senegal’s independence. U.S.-Senegalese rapper Akon and U.S. civil rights activist Jesse Jackson will also attend.
Opponents of the statue — which is billed as representing Africa’s rise from “centuries of ignorance, intolerance and racism” — are due to protest in central Dakar on Saturday despite a ban on all marches by town authorities.
In the latest blow to Wade’s project, a leading imam on Friday issued a fatwa condemning it.
The $28-million statue has been criticized as a waste of money in a country with crumbling infrastructure and welfare provision, while Muslims have branded it “un-Islamic” for presenting the human form as an object of worship.