The New Type of Senegalese under Construction: Fadel Barro and Aliou Sané on Yenamarrism after Wade

by Sarah Nelson

Abstract

Senegal’s Y’en a Marre movement, formed in early 2011, was instrumental in mobilizing the nation’s population, and especially its youth, to participate in the 2012 presidential election and to prevent the incumbent president from hijacking the political institutions and electoral process in order to remain in power. Since the 2012 election, far from evaporating, Y’en a Marre has pursued a broader agenda of projects (chantiers in French; a chantier is a construction site) in support of its objective of fostering an “NTS” (Nouveau Type de Sénégalais / New Type of Senegalese). The NTS agenda proceeds from the understanding that strong national institutions can only be founded on a society of responsible and engaged citizens who act with integrity and expect the same from their leaders. The most recognizable public faces of Y’en a Marre were those of the noted rap artists at its center, who were often in front of the cameras and behind the microphones during press conferences. Two journalists, however, Fadel Barro and Aliou Sané, are at the core of the movement and are some of the most eloquent spokespeople regarding the philosophy, development, actions, and priorities of its members. In this interview article, Barro and Sané discuss the evolution ofY’en a Marre since the 2012 election, including, in particular, the NTS chantiers the movement has prioritized: citizen action (citizenship training plus democracy watch), leadership, and entrepreneurship. Barro and Sané explain Y’en a Marre’s strategies for social change in Senegal; the growing number of affiliated groups in Africa and among the diaspora in Europe and America; the concrete steps they are taking to realize their plans; and their vision for the future of the movement, the nation, and the continent.

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Sarah Nelson is Associate Professor of French at the University of Idaho. She has published on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century French literature and is the translator and editor of Hortense Mancini and Marie Mancini, Memoirs (University of Chicago Press, 2008). Anthony St. Claire provided valuable transcription assistance in the preparation of this article.