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Senegal Opens the World’s Largest Museum of Black Civilisations

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The Museum of Black Civilisations (MCN) is presented to the press on November 27, 2018 in Dakar ahead of its opening set for December 6, 2018. (Photo by SEYLLOU / AFP)

Senegal’s late president Leopold Sedar Senghor was the first to propose the idea of a museum about the civilisations of black Africa during a world festival of black artists in Dakar in 1966.

Senegal Opens the World’s Largest Museum of Black Civilisations

After 52 years of waiting, Senegal is set to open what has been described as the largest museum of black civilization ever on December 6 in the capital, Dakar.

Spread over an area of 14,000 m2 with a capacity of 18,000 pieces of art, the Museum of Black Civilizations, which will be used for the conservation of cultural values of the black people and for the presentation of Africa to the world, was built thanks to a donation from China amounting to $34.6 million, according to officials.

Senegal’s late president Leopold Sedar Senghor was the first to propose the idea of a museum about the civilisations of black Africa during a world festival of black artists in Dakar in 1966.

“This building, just like all others within the Cultural Park will not be considered as a Senegalese monument, but an African monument,” Wade said when the first stone was laid.

Finally, the doors of the museum will be opened with an exhibition on the theme “African civilizations: continuous creation of humanity”.

Senegal Opens the World’s Largest Museum of Black Civilisations

“On two levels, visitors will travel from the Neolithic to the multiplicity of African cultures, through the Iron Age, to understand the contributions of Africa to the scientific and technical heritage.”

The director of the museum boasts a modern scenography, with the latest technologies, to dialogue paintings, sculptures, masks and some masterpieces, as a piece of one of the major figures of the plastic arts of Mali, Abdoulaye Konaté, and a monumental baobab of 112 meters high made by a Haitian representative of the diaspora,” a report by News Africa said.

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The museum also features vestiges of the first hominids who appeared in Africa several million years ago to the latest contemporary art in collections of paintings and sculpture.

“This museum will not look like any other, because it will not be a museum of sub-Saharan Africa,”
said Hamady Bocoum, the director of the museum, adding that the pan-African project “will be proof that the African man is well in history.”

The Museum of Black Civilisations is said to be one of the elements of the Cultural Park which Wade refers to as one of the “Seven Wonders.”

The six other buildings are the Grand National Theater, the School of Beautiful Arts, the School of Architecture and the Music Palace, the Contemporary Art Museum, the National Library combined with the National Archives.

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