How Sally Hassan Thiam contracted the heritage “virus” – Jeune Afrique

The scene takes place on October 8, 2021 in Montpellier, during the Africa-France Summit. A young man with a “Singouri” appearance, a suit and tie, and small round glasses, takes French President Emmanuel Macron on a mission: “Mr. President, I am a little disappointed by the fact that among those young people today who represented Africa on the continent, the question of compensation, which It was one of the main themes of your speech in Ouagadougou.” The question is too long, host Claude Ciard is starting to get impatient. The chief, somewhat surprised, quickly takes notes, smiles, looks up and answers at length with a few promises.

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In contrast, Sally Al-Hassan Thiam holds the microphone without blinking. He explains: “My plan matured. I wasn’t among the ten young men hand-picked on stage. I was a regular guest. But I just wanted to get my message across. So I dressed up as a diplomat. I passed security, making sure of myself, and as close as possible to the stage to ask my question, Which I have prepared at length in Head “.

Dinner in the palace

The exchange will finally last six minutes, and will somewhat annoy Cameroonian writer Achille Mbembe at the start of this meeting with the highly framed African youth. That day, Sally El Hassan Thiam exploded on screen. He also just launched a straight idea: “Organizing a major itinerant international forum on African heritage to make culture a real lever for economic development on the continent.” “Beautiful girl!” replied the French President who pledged to support his project with UNESCO.

Meanwhile, Senegalese President Macky Sall congratulated the young applicant and immediately invited him to a dinner at the Palace of the Republic on African World Heritage Day. “He patted my shoulder warmly and said, ‘Congratulations on what you’re doing for heritage! You’re a fighter!” The African, will open its doors in December in the Senegalese capital. . In secret, Macky Sall is delighted with such an event that will conclude his term at the helm of the African Union and return Senegal to the cultural heart of the planet.

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Africa must regain its cultural influence in the world. Not only has it been looted, our reputation has been tarnished for far too long. Of all the 1,154 material sites classified by UNESCO in the world in 2022, only 106 are in Africa. However, we have a huge potential of monuments, temples and monuments of all kinds, which not only deserve to be known but also protected, in order to create a tourism economy around them, a source of employment for young people,” explains Sally with Nkrumah’s passion.

strange jobs

The son of Alassane Thiam, a brilliant architect from Dakar and pupil of the famous Brazilian Oscar Niemeyer, who founded Brasília in 1959, Sally had the opportunity to grow up in a supportive cultural environment. “In the house there was a library where you could find books by Cheikh Anta Diop or Aime Césaire as well as beautiful works on African art or great international architects.” What should be done in the current situation remarkably With a master’s degree specializing in digital strategy and project management, Sally likes to point out that it was built on its own: “I grew up in Senegal, when I was a kid I kicked a ball with friends from the Sicap region, then we sent her to do part of my studies in the village, in Ourossogui, in Far north in the country of Pulaar. It was very difficult, because I was away from my parents, but this is how I immersed myself in traditional culture and contracted the heritage virus.”

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At the age of 18, Sally left Senegal. Head to France to pursue postgraduate studies in digital marketing. He asks his parents not to support him anymore. He does odd jobs to fund his studies. One of his close friends, Elzo Jamdong, now a famous rapper from Dakar, did not forget: “We were roommates in Poitiers. He re-read the scripts of my songs, he listened to me, he gave me constructive feedback. But you had to work to fill the fridge. And Sally always fought, Not only for herself, for others first. I remember when he started an internship at the Poitiers town hall and met the mayor. He immediately pressed her to help the students more, the residents of the neighborhood we lived in. He was already, a bit like me, the spokesman for the no Vote for them. Sally has deep convictions, he is completely devoted to Africa.” Alhassan Thiam, his father, appointed by Senghor himself as Inspector General of Antiquities in Africa, proudly agrees: “My son is a young man of his generation, unrestrained, earnest and full of vitality. He has the cultural fibers, he works on the continent.”

Today, Monsieur Patrimoine, as some sarcastically call it, has been awarded an award Best African Young Leader 2021. As if that weren’t enough, Sally signed her first book this month: Reviving African Heritage. An autobiographical article directed in part towards African youth where he explained that an “African attitude” would replace the outdated “neglect” of his peers. “Cosmopolitanism is in my blood,” he specifies, “but Africa must be a part of this Universe ! “

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