Africa


Category:
History
Paper Title:
Africa
Text:
SENEGAL
The current discourse on Africa’s political corruption, poverty and
environment has emerged from a convergence of international and regional
critiques about the future of African trade and economic prospects. Recent years
have witnessed a considerable resurgence of interest in African Development,
although it is difficult to impose any precise link, much of the attention has
been generated by the events surrounding the transition and transformation of
Mandrel’s South Africa.


There doesn’t seem to be any consensus on the best way to deal with the many
problems that are affecting development in certain African countries. However,
most scholars agree that the primary underlying causes that affect international
political will to invest in Africa’s future must be controlled before this
glorious continent can reach its full potential. I want to argue that the
corruption, poverty, environment nexus is what went wrong after Africa was
decolonalized; I will focus on Senegal in particular.

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Senegal is located on the West Coast of Africa. The French gained possession
of Senegal in 1840 and made it part of French West Africa. In 1946, together
with other parts of French West Africa Senegal became an overseas territory of
France. In 1956 Senegal gained internal self-government from France and in 1959
the country joined the Federation of Mali. On August 20 1960 Senegal withdrew
from the federation and became the independent Republic of Senegal with Leopold
Senghor as President. In 1970 President Senghor appointed Abdou Diouf as Prime
Minister and in 1976 a new constitution was introduced which committed the
country to a multiparty democratic system of government but also limited the
number of parties to three. This parliamentary style democracy with socialist
leanings offers the right to vote to anyone over 18 years old and a
constitutional guarantee of equality before the law, which is based on the
French civil law system. In January 1981 Senghor retired and Diouf was appointed
President, in 1983, 1988 and 1993 Diouf was re-elected with 58% of the vote
going to his Socialist Party or PS (atlapedia.com). The ethnic composition of
Senegal is diverse with the principal ethnic group the Wolof who account for 44%
of the 9,723,149 population (1998). The official language is French, although
only about 12% of the population can speak it. Around 94% of the population are
Sunni Muslims, while 5% are Roman Catholic. As of 1970, 95% of the people over
the age of 6 had no formal schooling, however as of 1995, 33% of the population
age 15 and over could read and write.


Senegal is about the size of South Dakota and has a tropical climate with a
wet season from May to November and dry season from December to April. While
severe droughts during the late 1960’s and 1970’s seriously damaged the economy
and caused widespread famine the 1993 Gross National Product was $5,867,000,000
with public debt registering around $3,011,000,000, however debt decreased
slightly in 1996 to $3.7 billion. Only 2.4% of the Gross National Product
account for military expenditure. The main exports ($968 million, 1995) to the
U.S., Western European countries, African neighbors, Japan, China, and India are
cotton, fish nuts, oil and petroleum.


Imports of consumer goods, foodstuffs, transport equipment and petroleum
account for $1.22 billion dollars. Less than 35% of the population are
economically active in the major industries of agriculture, fishing, fertilizer
production and mining.


History

Africa


When I was first assigned this research paper on Voodoo, the first thing I thought of was Voodoo dolls, zombies, and evil magic. I think Voodoo is an evil religion which sacrifices humans as well as animals to demonic gods. I think it has been around for thousands of years, but is little left today. I believe that Voodoo is nothing but evil and the work of the devil. Voodoo originated in Western Africa by the Yoruba tribe. The Yoruba religion has about four hundred lesser gods called Orisa. This is not the actual Voodoo religion as we know it today, but plays an important role in it. Voodoo believes that the Grand Master or God rules over all things, but pays no attention to human affairs. This is why they believe in lower spirits or Loa to whom they worship and make sacrifices to(Belgum 14-28). When the slave trade started, people of the Yoruba tribe were captured and brought over as slaves. when the slaves arrived, they were baptized into the Catholic religion. The slaves continued to practice their native religion in secret which over time was mixed with Catholicism to create the Voodoo that we know today (Introduction 1). Over sixty-million people still continue to practice Voodoo worldwide (Vodun 1). The main center of Voodoo in the United States is New Orleans (3). About fifteen percent of New Orleans practices (Voodoo 1). The Voodoo religion contacts the spiritual worked Quite frequently. They believe that spirits help people in all that they do (Belgum 30-1). The Voodoo religion believes that true communion comes only through possession of the body by a Loa or spirit. Possession is very common during rituals for it is how the Loa give instructions to or help the people. They believe they get possessed for certain reasons. Such things as protection, cures from illness, or even to give warning to an individual or to the whole community of worshipers (Possession 1). When a person gets possessed, they show struggle moving and jumping around like crazy people. Then all of a sudden they go blank and motionless. They then come out of that trance a totally different person. While a person is possessed all bodily functions and gestures take the form of the Loa which possesses the body. While the Loa possesses the body it will often smoke, drink alcohol, and eat. These are all things that it is usually not capable of doing unless in a human body. They are also known to eat orwalk on fire and will show no marks on their body afterwards. The possessed person shows great strength and is known to toss things as well as people around. The possessed will have a totally different voice, facial expressions, etc…. After the possession, the person has no remembrance of what happened and therefore cannot be held responsible for what they did while being possessed (Possession 1-2). Voodoo rituals play an important role in the religion. Since practicers believe that human and Loa depend upon one another, they hold many rituals to make contact with the spirits through a very special process. Rituals can be held for many different reasons. Rituals can be held to celebrate a special event in the lives of a family or a community, in bad times for guidance from the Loa, for healing of an illness or a disability, births, weddings, and deaths (Vodun 2-3). There are two different types of voodoo rituals: Rada and Petro. Both are exactly the same except for the type of Loa they are addressing and for the purpose of the ritual (Basic 1). All rituals are held at a hounfour or a temple (Belgum 37). All rituals are began by the houngan asking Legba, the Loa of the gate, to open it. After the opening, water is sprinkled throughout important places in the hounfour (Basic 1-2), especially at the center where the poteau-mitin is located. It is a pole where the people communicate with the loas and God (Vodun 3). The drum or tambula (Mysteries 1) begins to beat. A veve, or pattern of flour is made on the floor in a design of one of the Loa (Vodun 3). The Houngan

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