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Le Sénégal

L'Océan Atlantique

In Dakar, one of the cheapest and quickest ways to travel is le car rapide (the quick minibus). Often brightly painted on the outside, predominantly in yellow and blue as these are the colours of the city of Dakar, every vehicle is uniquely decorated by its owner. Each minibus is a moving work of art. Le car rapide can fit between 20-30 people at a time (and perhaps more in rush hour when people stand on the bumper at the back).

In 1776, on the rocky island of Gorée, off the coast of Dakar, the Dutch constructed a fort (The House of Slaves) in which to keep enslaved Africans, awaiting transportation in ships across the Atlantic to a life of slavery on the islands of the Caribbean; Brazil; or the United States. The Europeans involved in this horrific trade in humans lived and worked in the top rooms, whilst slaves were kept in hot, dark and filthy conditions below. Families were separated from one another. The door between the two stair cases was called ‘The Door of No Return’. Once the enslaved Africans passed through this door, they would never again return to the place of their birth.

Dakar is the most westerly city on the continent of Africa. It is a buzzing, modern city, the capital of a country famous for its film-making, music and fashion. Dakar does has a dark past though, as we'll discover later.

Le monument Demba et Dupont in Dakar commemorates the sacrifices made by les tirailleurs sénégalais, the collective name for men from all over West Africa who fought for France in the First and Second World Wars against the Germans and were often treated very badly.

Dakar has lots of beautiful beaches, such as this one at Ngor. These pirogues (canoes) are used for fishing and for taking tourists to nearby islands.