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Senegal, a country of “Téranga”

Senegal, a country of “Téranga”

Colonized years ago by western people mainly French, the Senegalese thinker and his people were under the same roof undergoing the same humiliation from western colonizers. The act of the writer toward his people was summed up to sensitize them in accusing the white dominator. But, from a certain time, there had been an empowerment of black intellectuals who became more responsible of their cultural and political status of their states. Then Senegalese people such as Senghor, Mamadou Dia, started the fight for freedom. Finally, in 1960, Senegal became an independent state.

The country of Téranga, Senegal, was and is still an attractive country where we are daily living beautiful experiences. The most peaceful country in Africa and even all around the world, it is where you can meet different ethnics such as Sérére, Peul, Bambara, Soninké, Djiola, Nare and so on which, not only share mutual love but also a same home language: Wolof.

We have never lived a civil war or a conflict between ethnics as we are hearing it from other countries. Nobody is even ready to live such horrors. Senegal is where religion is more powerful than politics. It is where Christians and Muslims are living together without any problems. In times of great events like Tabaski, Chrismas, etc. the population is used to celebrating together. It will be even difficult for someone to differentiate the Muslim to the Christian. These are only some references among many which make Senegal very interesting. Whenever there are problems, religious guides, through their speeches, easily solve them in a quick way. It is really a given privilege to our lovely country. Each Senegalese knows about what some great persons like, Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba BA, El Hadji Malick SY, Cardinal hyacinthe Thiandoum, El Hadji Omar Tall, Seydina limamou Laye … have done for their nation and for their religion in particular, and for the entire world in general.

Senegal is composed by a majority Muslims and a minority Christian. However, the first president was a Christian. This is true peace and true brotherhood. Since it has become free state (independent from the western colonizer in 1960), only four persons have become president of the nation:

Leopold Sédar Senghor, also call the “president-poet”, was the first to be at the head of the Senegalese state. He had been in the forefront of African progress in cultural and intellectual affairs. Senghor is one of the pioneers of the Negritude movement, and one of the great African children who fought hard for freedom and for the eradication of racism. After Senghor’s decision to live the power, Abdou Diouf, a friend of Senghor took the presidency. He had been prime minister during the presidency of Leopold Sédar Senghor. After years of leadership, putting his shoulders in the development of our lovely country, he leaved the power and was elected as chairperson of the French-speaking world (Francophonie). Abdoulaye wade substituted president Diouf in 2002. Real revolutionary, wade has transformed the Senegal to a country which answers to modernism requirements. He lost the election of 2012 in the benefit of Macky Sall. The latter was prime minister during wade’s presidency. It seems that in Senegal once a prime minister you can become president. Don’t dream, such is not the case.

“When ordinary people come together they can achieve something extraordinary” I remember that phrase. And, I believe that Senegal can be developed if only we gather our forces and believe to the way of success is in our hands.

Africans, some people thought that we were not able to make extraordinary things. They wrongly believed that we were mindless, religion less; cultureless … this is the reason why mother earth was subject to domination for a pretended civilization mission. After enslavement and colonization, the old continent is now said to be free. This was the outcome of a long and hard struggle to deny the prejudices she was burdened with. Today, the destiny of Africa is on the hands of her sons. Anybody but Africans can make the old continent go forward. Let’s not envy any continent because the latter do need us in their quest of power and supremacy. They need us more than we need them. They said that mother earth is underdeveloped whereas the continent is providing them: body-workers, resources, minds etc. So, Africa is putting her shoulders in the development of all continents. If it was not thanks to mother earth, would they be that developed? Dearest to Africans, we get everything to develop our other land, our beloved continent. But, what is left is awareness of all those richness to unite Africa and develop the latter.

This is neither a denunciation nor a criticism, but only a fraternal call for the affirmation of African culture without any rejection of the western one. For that, dear human beings, we just need two words: mutual understanding.

Kocc Barma Fall and the Wolof language”

The Wolof language, main language use in Senegal is spoken by almost 42-43% of the whole Senegalese people. In its evolution, it has known a spectacular development throughout the remarkable implication of Kocc Barma Fall. His relation with Wolof brought us to study the link between Kocc and the mentioned language.

If one decides to associate a human being to a language, knowing the identity, personality and achievements of that person becomes a necessity.

Who is Kocc Barma Fall?

Kocc BARMA Fall is believed to be born around the beginning of the two last decades of the XVIth century (about 1585, according to some sources). He received a social, human, moral, and intellectual training. He sharpened his spirit, developed his self-discipline, and refined his judgment. Kocc had chosen to leave on his head only four tufts of hair, each one symbolizing a truth. He was the only one to understand these, apart from his wife to whom he inadvertently revealed them. It is said that the king of the kingdom in which Kocc Barma was living wanted to uncover the mystery of the tufts. The king manages to bribe the philosopher’s wife with several present. The latter finally reveal the meaning mystery, hence the explanation of the first tuft: “you can love your wife but never trust her”. The king, dissatisfy with the given meanings of the tufts ordered his beheading. In so doing, he was confirming the definition of the second truth: “a king should never be considered as a relative”. Kocc was taken to the public square for the execution of the sentence. Just before, his adopted son who had noticed that Kocc was wearing his trousers suddenly appeared from the crowd and asked him to give them back at once. Hence the explanation of the third tuft: “you should never consider your adopted son as your own son”. One of the village patriarchs, who was passing by, asked what happened. Once informed, he talked to the king in public, intervening in favor of Kocc and managed to cancel the judgment he was the subject of, hence the definition of the last tuft: “old people are needed in all societies”. Then Kocc turned to the king and to his people and said “don’t the events which have just happened confirm the secrets my four tufts symbolized”. Then everybody agreed with him. This is how Kocc Barma Fall has become famous and his name is still shining in association with the Wolof language.

“Wolof, a language of brotherhood”

Wolof is a Senegalese language. It is believed that the first populations who had lived in Senegal are the Baynounk. Indeed, the Senegalese languages are found in the Niger-cordofan family.

The Wolofs, like the Séréres were fleeing Islam. Then, they come in what is now known as Senegal to populate the land. The Wolof people in finding job have faced marriage. The mixture of Wolof people and other ethnic groups present in the land has made the Wolof language reach the extant of a national language.

Wolof is spoken in Senegal, Gambia, Mali, and Mauritania. In Senegal, 43% of the population are native speakers precisely populations of the Baol, Djolof, Saloum, Kadjor (Diourbel, Thiés, Kaolack, Saint Louis, Louga). Wolof is, in Senegal, a national language spoke by almost all the people regardless of their ethnic groups. So, 92% of the Senegalese people speak Wolof.

The following table shows the spreading of the Wolof language in some regions in Senegal


Native speakers

Second language

Total speakers











Wolof is also used in the mass media: Radio, Television

Wolof is not used at school as a medium of instruction but is spoken by students, teachers, and members of the administration between them. In effect, Senegal has as official language French, the language of the former colonizer.

“Kocc Barma FALL and the Wolof language, an eternal couple”

As in Europe (the language of Moliere: French) and America (the language of Shakespeare: English), the Senegalese language Wolof is also believed to belong to Kocc Barma Fall. This does not mean that Kocc has created the Wolof language but it is just to say that he has done a great job on the language. Indeed, Kocc is believed to have been among the wisest men of the Wolof speakers. The latter has invented many Wolof proverbs which aims were to give moral lessons to either youth or old persons. Kocc Barma has used the Wolof language to teach his people and make them be rooted. One can mention some of his Wolof proverbs: “bou ndox touro ak bak say des” meaning in English “it’s no use crying over spilt milk”.

Kocc Barma FALL the great man has made himself unforgettable in the eyes of those who use Wolof thanks to the remarkable work he did with the language. But it is good to know that Wolof existed long before the birth of Kocc Barma Fall.

The word “teranga” can means “the fact of knowing how to welcome people even they are strangers, the fact of knowing how to protect and take care of people, the act of considering human beings in their true values”. Senegalese people are very pleasant and they like sharing the little they have.

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