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Senegal opens African civilisations museum

Senegal’s first President Leopold Senghor presented a post-colonial cultural vision of Africa 52 years ago.

Dignitaries pose for a photo at the official opening of African Civilisations museum in Senegal that put at the head of continental efforts to decolonise knowledge. Picture: Supplied

PRETORIA – Senegal has opened its museum of African civilisations that has put it at the head of continental efforts to decolonise knowledge.

It comes as France has announced its intention to return African works of art looted during the colonial era.

Senegal’s first President Leopold Senghor presented a post-colonial cultural vision of Africa 52 years ago.

Spending up to a quarter of the national budget on the arts, he hosted world festivals featuring the greatest international black artists and entertainers.

Economic realities pushed these into the background until a $34 million Chinese investment enabled President Macky Sall to build the museum in Dakar.

In a structure modelled on Great Zimbabwe, it’s said to compare with the National Museum of African American History in Washington.

First exhibits are from Mali, Burkina Faso, Cuba and Haiti.

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