President Macky Sall’s appeal for the acquisition of 41 historical items that once belonged to Léopold Sédar Senghor has been successfully realized, as these artifacts were set to be auctioned in France by a private individual. The acquisition, undertaken by the Senegalese government in the name of preserving the memory of Senghor and the nation’s heritage, includes three gold fountain pens, a gold lighter, a gold compact, as well as vermeil necklaces, bracelets, medals, and official decorations. The total sum spent on this acquisition amounted to 244,000 euros.
The mediation process proved fruitful, resulting in a mutual agreement. Solène Lainé, the auctioneer at the Caen auction house where the Senegalese government secured these items, expressed, “The entire collection from this sale has been transferred amicably to Senegal. All parties are delighted with this accord,” as conveyed to AFP on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Culture in Senegal elaborated on the significance of these decorations and the value they hold, describing them as “prestigious.” Notably, some of these objects are made of solid gold and bear distinguished brands. Among these treasures is the Order of the Nile necklace, comprising 16 gold links adorned with green, red, and blue enamels. Senghor received this prestigious honor from Egypt in 1967 during an official visit when he delivered a notable speech at Cairo University titled “Négritude and Arabity.”
The collection also encompasses a necklace bestowed by Saudi Arabia upon non-Muslim heads of state for exceptional service to the Saudi nation. Additionally, two more decorations, one presented by Spain and the other by Finland, further enrich the collection, their significance mirroring the remarkable journey of the first president of independent Senegal.
These invaluable artifacts are now slated for delivery to the Senegalese Embassy in Paris before being returned to their country of origin. The Ministry of Culture justifies this acquisition by stating, “Preserving the memory of President Senghor, whose life and work are perfect exemplars of cultural dialogue and international friendship, underscores the significance of this decision.”