Senegalese Youth Rap for Reform

Browsing videos over at Current TV recently, we came across an interesting series of reports about political activism among Senegal’s youth. Senegal is a very young country, with a median age of just 19. Ahead of the 2007 presidential elections in February, young people in the capital Dakar were using rap music to express their frustration over the state of their country and its leadership.

Senegal is the only African country not to have experienced a coup since independence, and it achieved a peaceful transfer of power in 2000 from the 40-year rule of the Socialist Party to current President Abdoulaye Wade, ushering in a new era of multiparty politics. Freedom House rates the country as “free” and it is one of the most stable democracies in Africa. But Senegal suffers from unemployment near 50 percent, which apparently accounts for much of the disaffection of the country’s youth.

Wade was reelected in February, and opposition parties now are threatening to boycott legislative elections scheduled for June.

Judging by the “Democracy in Dakar” series, Senegal’s youth view politics with a mix of cynicism about the possibility of change and optimism that political organization can deliver Senegal from its problems.

Watch the first episode in the “Democracy in Dakar” series, produced by an outfit called “Nomadic Wax,” below. The other five episodes in the series can be viewed here.