“A place of homage, meditation and reflection. » Senegalese President Macky Sall launched, on Saturday January 6 in Dakar, work on the Gorée Memorial to the slave trade, the island of Gorée located opposite the capital having been for centuries a place of departure for slaves Africans to the Americas.

“The Gorée Memorial aims to be a place of reminder of our history so that the horror of the past is never repeated again,” declared Macky Sall during a ceremony. This place “will say that not far from here the unspeakable happened; men, women and children of all ages were rounded up, chained, tortured, transported by the millions and mercilessly reduced to slavery, generation after generation,” he recalled.

“By keeping intact the memory of the dark hours of slavery, we want, at the same time, to work for a present and a future of justice and reconciliation of peoples. In this sense, this memorial invites us to forgive, but without forgetting,” said the president, in power since 2012 and who will leave his place at the end of the 2024 presidential election.

Work of the Italian architect Ottavio Di Blasi

The Gorée Memorial is a project that dates back more than thirty years, initiated by black intellectuals, artists and writers from all continents, in partnership with the State of Senegal.

It will stand on the western edge of Dakar with a 108 m high steel tower, as the island of Gorée itself cannot accommodate a complex of too large a scale. The project is the work of Italian architect Ottavio Di Blasi, selected following an international competition under the control of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Union of Architects (UIA) and its aesthetic will echo the so-called Castel-Almadies monument, erected in 1999 on the southern tip of the island.

It will notably include a study center on trafficking, an exhibition space, a commercial area devoted to local crafts, a reception room and another multipurpose room, reserved for cinema, conferences and shows as well as to memory workshops.