An avenue in the Plateau district, the central district of Dakar, was officially renamed the “Avenue du Président Macky Sall” during a ceremony held on Sunday, October 29th. This avenue stretches from the Regional Express Train station to the Bus Rapid Transit station, both significant projects initiated by the incumbent president.
The avenue, which has now been renamed in honor of President Macky Sall, was previously named after Louis Faidherbe, a general and colonial administrator in Senegal during the 19th century. The change in nomenclature is viewed as an educational gesture, according to the current President of the Republic, who expressed:
“For many of our avenues, streets, and squares, the names still harken back to a bygone, even painful past. I urge our mayors to update them so that public roads and squares bear names that better reflect our collective imagination and national heritage.”
This renaming ceremony took on the appearance of a campaign event, occurring just four months before the presidential election. It was attended by several ministers, religious and traditional authorities, as well as Amadou Ba, the Prime Minister and the presidential coalition’s designated candidate in the race to succeed Macky Sall. Alioune Ndoye, Mayor of Dakar-Plateau, Minister of the Environment, and a member of the Socialist Party, is part of the presidential majority and spearheaded the name change:
In the streets of the Dakar-Plateau commune, one resident, Ablaye Diouf, expressed his satisfaction: “Simply because he is the President of the Republic of Senegal, he already deserves this name.” However, opinions are divided. Cheikh Sylla, a clothing vendor in Plateau, believes that the President does not deserve this honor: “Macky Sall is not a hero here. We are not happy with him. This name (for the avenue) should have been given to someone else, like Cheick Ahmadou Bamba. But not Macky Sall.”
The renaming of the avenue underscores the complex interplay of history, politics, and public opinion as Senegal approaches a pivotal presidential election. It also highlights the importance of symbolically aligning public spaces with the nation’s evolving identity and aspirations.