Exhibition/ Conférence « A Tribute to Senghor » @ AF Colombo
The Alliance Française de Colombo is happy to host this poster exhibition organized by the International Francophonie Organisation dedicated to the eminent Franco-Senegalese Poet Léopold Sédar Senghor.
The exhibition is based on his life. The 12 posters starts from his modest background in a Senegalese village and travels through a journey where he becomes a world renowned Poet, outstanding Academic and the first President of his country.
Léopold Sédar Senghor (October 9, 1906 - December 20, 2001)
Senghor started his studies in his homeland, and finished them at the University of Paris, where he received the Agrégation in French Grammar. Subsequently, he was designated professor at the Universities of Tours and Paris, during the period between 1935 and 1945.
His poetry was widely acclaimed, and in 1978 he was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca. In 1983, he became the first African to be asked to join the Académie française. He wrote the lyrics of the national anthem of Senegal: “Pincez Tous vos Koras, Frappez les Balafons”. While in France, Senghor became friends with Aimé Césaire and Georges Pompidou (future President of France).
With Aimé Césaire and Léon Damas, Senghor created the concept of Négritude, an important philosophical movement that sought to distance African culture from European influences. In 1948, Senghor compiled and edited a volume of francophone poetry called Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache for which Jean-Paul Sartre wrote an introduction, entitled “Orphée Noir” (Black Orpheus).
He began his political career in 1945, after he was elected deputy of Senegal in the French National Assembly. During the cabinet presided by Edgar Faure, he was appointed Secretary of State. He supported the decolonization of Africa, and when Senegal declared its independence, in 1960, Senghor was elected president.
Senghor’s tenure as president was characterized by the development of African socialism, which was created as an indigenous alternative to Marxism, drawing heavily from the négritude philosophy. In developing this, he was assisted by Ousmane Tanor Dieng. On December 31, 1980, he retired in favor of his prime minister, Abdou Diouf.
“Je ne suis pas sûr de mourir. Et si c’était ça l’enfer ? (I’m not sure that I will die. Maybe this is hell?)” said Senghor in 1996 at the time of post-retirement life.
Senghor died on December 20, 2001 in Normandy, France and was buried in his homeland Joal, Senegal.