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    Posted July 17, 2012 by
    Devbob
    Location
    jacksonville, Illinois
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your photos from 'Inside Africa'

    Senegal: The Land of Sonic Youth

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     A class by Mediaman on iReporting and journalism at Illinois college in Jacksonville encouraged Devbob to send in this iReport on the Y'En a Marre social movement in Senegal. Our iReporter had researched the anti-corruption movement since it began in February 2011 and in June this year travelled to the country to meet members himself. "I think this story provides a nice parallel to protests in the Arab world and a different side of Africa," he said. His fifth photo was featured as CNN's Travel Photo of the Day on September 6, 2012.
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    While the Arab Spring and the subsequent protests in the Arab world have captured the attention of Americans, we should be as equally enthralled by the struggles for democratic reform that have taken place in Senegal over the same time period.

     

    As two-term president Abdoulaye Wade manipulated his way into running for an unconstitutional third term, a grassroots movement led by hip-hop artists and journalists-called Y'En a Marre, meaning "Fed Up"-rose up to organize massive demonstrations against widespread corruption and anti-democratic behavior in Senegalese society. They continued their fight through music, continued street protests, and social media.

     

    After a year long battle against Wade and his desperate attempts to retain power, Y'En a Marre won as Macky Sall defeated Wade to obtain the presidency, interjecting a measure of agency and hope into the country. With this success Y'En a Marre has been determined to go beyond the presidency in their demands for social improvements. Commemorating the anniversary of their first protests, organizing voter drives for legislative elections, and insisting the president's term be reduced to five years are just some of the causes that this group has undertaken since the presidential election in May 2012. All of this contributes to their call for "Un nouveau type de Senegalais" - "a new type of Senegalese."

     

    Y'En a Marre is but one example of the vibrant youth culture in contemporary Senegal that is fighting to transform the society through music, art, cinema, and literature. This energy is felt in nearly every area of the country, from small fishing villages to the crowded streets of Dakar. Art and culture are not simply leisure pursuits or the prizes of the elite, but means of communication, protest, and expression for everyday citizens that are tranforming the country.

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