Corruption and repression isn’t uncommon in Dakar, Senegal — but it’s not to say the citizens tolerate it.
Constant power outages across Dakar were part of the norm, but they also resulted in patient deaths in local hospitals. Disgusted with this lack of basic services from the government, the people of Dakar decided to fight back.
Denise Sow, 35, of Senegal, vividly remembers that fateful day four years ago, sitting with six other people frustrated with their government and wishing for change. Sow and the others, who had noticed elderly spiritual leaders protesting against the government, thought, “We are not doing our duty if we don’t stand up and help to fight for a solution.”
Y’en a Marre was born.
Sow is to speak Saturday as part of the “Making Change Film Forum: Bootstrapping Social Change from Idaho to Africa” at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre. It will screen the film “Boy Soloum,” which follows the beginnings of Y’en a Marre.
“The mission of Y’en a Marre is to make our government authorities consider the people’s priorities to be their own priorities, instead of being occupied with things that aren’t important to the population,” Sow said.
Sow has witnessed first-hand the positive change their words and peaceful protests have sparked.
In 2011, Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade tried changing the constitution so he could remain in power — a move that was met with opposition from Y’en a Marre and like-minded groups, Sow said. With organized rallies and public forums, the members of Y’en a Marre joined forces with the citizens of Dakar to vote Wade out of office.
Now, four years later, Sow said the film forum serves as a milestone that shows the message of Y’en a Marre is spreading globally.
What started as a movement among the 14 regions of Dakar evolved to a movement that’s shared along almost all of western Africa, and even in Europe.
“The movement has different names in different countries,” Sow said. “But we’re all allied.”
The event will also show “Through the Eyes of a Farmworker,” a documentary about farmworkers in Idaho that was made by the University of Idaho student group Movimiento Activista Social.
Organizers say the two films will allow the audience to see common issues in Idaho and Africa, including migration and the economy.
If you go
What: “Making Change Film Forum: Bootstrapping Social Change from Idaho to Africa”
When: 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19
Where: Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, 508 S. Main St., Moscow
Cost: Students free; others $5