Ndar demb ak tey

Introductory notes by Abdourahmane Seck

It is about rewriting the history of Saint-Louis both as a dynamic oral history museum project and as a pedagogical program on the contemporaneities of the Souths. It therefore means writing the world-history specifically from a place and, to a large extent, with and from the stories, objects, memories, struggles and forgettings of its inhabitants. It means, here from Saint-Louis, writing a world-history from our own point of view, the one of our experience and our condition in the world. To write this history from Saint-Louis de Senegal, a vestigial city dressed in the golden mantle of World Heritage; a city that remains today at the epicenter of an impending race for oil, gas and land, and more land… it is not exempt from questions.

In the long run and with an eye to the future, these questions are those of the victories, but also of the defeats; of the traumas, but also of the forgiveness; of the forgetting, but also of the struggles that will not die; of the wounds that will not close, but also of the care and healing; of the past that remains, but also of the present that must go. All this does not come without a beginning. Here, this beginning will be not that much a point in history but rather a singular moment of the day: Tàkkusaan.

Tàkkusaan. A time of wandering, of serenity and conciliations. A disarmed time that we will arm with new flowers and dreams, for a more desirable horizon than the one that surrounds us everywhere.

To write and teach the history of the world from the Tàkkusaan u Ndar is, perhaps and undoubtedly above all, to have to go to the end of the political Manifesto that this moment of the end of the working day implies: that of the right to let go and the right to embellish one’ s being, one’ s soul, the care of the bodies, and also that of the duty to debate, to conciliate, to trust. The point of all this is nothing more than to gain impulse together, in favor of lives less likely to be taken and lost without major consequences.

Thus, Ndar Demb ak Tey is a project of alternative history, a testimony that demands to be considered with all the consequences it must entail. It is an epistemic and political project that our collective intends to co-construct, far from the hoarding and extractivist methodologies of knowledge stolen from the communities, and far from the logic of memoristic inflations ready to recognize everything but that which is most urgent and most demanding: a present that must repair history.

Let’s say it again: Ndar demb ak tey, a dynamic oral history museum project and simultaneously a training space in Saint-Louis, has no other vocation than to be a place for the fermentation of a present and future history that is different from the present one. What the authors, the students and the visitors will do here is both the co-construction of a memory as well as the self-appropriation of it, as a critical tool of epistemic and political research, in order to contest and overturn the terms of a world-history that mistreats with impunity our origins and our futures, – making us swallow them at the stroke of summits.

The following bibliographical suggestion constitutes a provisional sum of texts that enable us to learn about, be initiated into, and consolidate decolonial, postcolonial and critical studies.

In the francophone African context, which particularly concerns us, we know how orphaned, invisible, misunderstood, and suspicious these studies remain. The decisive cause lies in the genes and blockages that these studies inspire in France, the main hub that nourishes our African spaces and academic currents. Largely accessible in Spanish and English, the access to these studies presents a second level of difficulty due, this time, to the linguistic ghetto that our educational and university systems continue to sustain for the benefit of the former colonial power. Yet the decolonial library is more than necessary to us. It is the master key to access to archives, which are essential for the construction of the ruptures that our disagreements with the current social and international imbalances require. And therefore, we must find by all necessary means the possibilities of appropriating it, of disseminating it and of providing it with a critical contribution from our own repositories. Therefore, beyond merely pointing out the elements to be read in the first instance, our approach remains guided by two broader objectives, each of which coincides with an organizational timeline. The first is to launch, through our website, a virtual Media Library of reference in the continent, which will guarantee easy access to those works that provide critical knowledge of Africa, its diasporas, and the world situation. Following this, the second is to complement this virtual system with a physical, convivial media library space, equipped with offices for work and research, but also with facilities for conferences and other public events, as well as spaces devoted to hosting writing, creative and educational stays.Well equipped with new cutting-edge technologies and complying with the environmental, energy and safety standards of a scientific and cultural facility that welcomes the general public, this media library will be the most complete meeting place for academic knowledge and the communities it is meant to serve, gathering together the oldest and most recent world knowledge.

In the international political economy of research, being a researcher and an African based in Africa raises questions and issues that need to be addressed. Mémographiques is a committed academic journal that aims to contribute to redressing the marginalization of African and Diasporic authors in the production of knowledge about African worlds. A consistent part of the articles published in each issue must be written by African authors settled on the continent.

Mémographiques is a non-disciplinary journal engaged in the study of the pasts and contemporaneities of Africa and its diasporas, as well as in their object and their study in the economies of international knowledge production.

It is a journal of critical and decolonial theory, in its epistemic and political positioning, that explores the possibilities of a refounding of the idea of social sciences and humanities in the African and diasporic worlds, moreover, it is a journal that documents and bears witness to the past and present conditions and trends operating in Africa and its diasporas.  Mémographiques is an annual multilingual journal.

Text to come

Ndar demb ak tey
Ndar demb ak tey



Panel Citoyen GAEC Africa - Saint Louis, 23 juillet 2023

Le programme Ndar Dèmb ak Tay reçoit Baba Badji, poète et écrivain, Professeur à l'Université de Rutgers, dans le cadre de sa résidence d'écriture au GAEC-Afrique. Ce Panel Citoyen sur l'Afrique qui (nous) attend et que nous attendons, est organisé avec : le projet Dakar Translation Symposium, l'ONG Hahatay, le laboratoire POEME, Rutgers Global, l'UASZ, Rutgers Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, l'UCAD, NYU Global Inclusion, Diversity and (...)