Monday, February 21, 2011

Yaasa ganaar [chicken yassa - yassa poulet]

Yassa Poulet is a traditional chicken dish from Senegal. It is one of the most famous Senegalese recipes and is found in Senegalese restaurants in all over the world. For best results let the chicken marinate overnight. It is also very good when made with fish * (yassa poisson). For the simplest yassa, make the marinade from just oil, lemon juice, onions, and a little bit of mustard (Dijon mustard preferably).

One-half cup peanut oil (or any cooking oil)

One chicken, cut into serving-sized pieces

Six (or more) large onions cut up

Eight large limes

4 tablespoons vinegar

2 bay leaves

Five cloves minced garlic

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (optional)

Cayenne pepper or red pepper, black pepper, Salt (to taste)

A small cabbage, cut into chunks (optional)

A few carrots cut into chunks (optional)

How to make it...
Mix all ingredients (except the optional vegetables), the more onions the better, and allow chicken to marinate in a glass dish in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Remove chicken from the marinade, but save the marinade.

Cook according to one of the following methods.

Cooking method 1: Grill chicken over a charcoal fire (or bake it in a hot oven) until chicken is lightly browned but not done.

Cooking method 2: Sauté chicken for a few minutes on each side in hot oil in a fry pan.

While chicken is browning: Remove onions from marinade and sauté them in a large saucepan for a few minutes. Add remaining marinade and the optional vegetables and bring to a slow boil and cook at a boil for ten minutes. Cook the marinade into a sauce. Reduce heat.

Add chicken to the sauce, cover and simmer until chicken is done.

Serve with rice or couscous (couscous with chickpeas and raisins is very good),

* For the yassa poisson, simply replace the chicken with a wish (snapper, grouper…)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why should we expect life to start with water everywhere in the universe?

I recently (September 2008) watched a TV special on ABC on UFO’s. The presenter referred to the findings of NASA’s Phoenix Lander which is the robot that landed on Mars on May 2008 (after being launched on August 2007). On June 19, 2008 NASA announced that Phoenix had found “clumps of bright material which had vaporized over the course of four days”. Of course our earthy minds concluded that was water ice and consequently we started hearing and reading from TV channels and Newspapers that Life could have or may have developed on the Red Planet. There certainly nothing new with that statement. Actually anybody who studied the basics of Science will tell you that that is one of the fundamental rules of Life as we know it. Personally, I have been reading and hearing that ever since my passion for the universe of planets and stars started thirty years ago. But this time, after watching the TV program, something struck my mind. That statement which consists of saying that life could only develop where water exists, simply did not go through my brain as it always did all these years. Something in my mind made me wonder what if that was NOT true. What if that scientific truth was false?
Why should water be associated with Life in all over the Universe? Why should that earthy rule be applied to the conglomerate of planets of the solar system?
It might be true for our tiny little marble on which we live and weigh the whole Universe and countless galaxies it is made of; but do we have a reason to expend that truth beyond our planet?
The more I ponder over that more questions rise in my mind and I can’t help wondering what if all or most of what we know about the universe was untrue. After all, most of what is written on the other planets is nothing but pure speculations. We have only visited the moon. All the descriptions, data, were made from the observations and theories that are applicable to the realities of planet Earth; from the forces, energies, materials available on Earth. They are probably out there on the soil of the other planets other type of materials, energies, mechanisms that we absolutely have no idea.
Maybe the so called UFO’s are flown but beings that are made of gas, material we know nothing about. All that we seem to know is that they could be made by very intelligent beings, with highly sophisticated technologies, that use none of the energies we have domesticated. Ever since we’ve hearing testimonies confirming the true existence of UFO not one single scientist has been able to explain that phenomenon. Despite the pictures, video, testimonies… some still believe UFO’s are just a creation of our mind. If scientists are unable to explain what’s happening in our own backyards, why should I believe what they say about Venus, Uranus, Saturn…? Why should I believe the books telling me ‘facts’ that are made on the basis of speculations?
If my questions should challenge the foundations of modern science, then why no one ever thought about that, about that simple elementary question about water and life.
What would that mean for all the theories, books, space programs, spacecrafts… developed on the basis of that untrue fact?
I am not dreaming, I am just trying to ease my mind as I always did whenever a question should remain with no answer.

Daouda NDAO
September 25, 2008 – 12:00 pm
Union Station, Washington, DC.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Shadows Grow Across One of Africa’s Bright Lights

I just read this article from The New York Times... It reflects the hard realities and dark perspectives of my dear country.
no one seems to notice the urgency of the moment. These politicians have destroyed the beautiful legacy that i have always been so proud to claim anytime i had the chance to talk about Senegal.
Have a good day.

DAKAR, Senegal — From the air, this sprawling city looks like a metropolis on the move, a buzzing quadrilateral jutting into the Atlantic. Cars speed along a supple, newly reconstructed four-lane highway that hugs the rugged coastline. Cranes dot the seaside, building luxury hotels and conference centers, as investors from Dubai revamp the city’s port, hoping to transform it into a high-tech regional hub.

But on the ground the picture shifts. Jobless young men line the new highways, trying to scratch out a living by selling phone cards, cashews and Chinese-made calculators to passers-by. The port is full of imported food that is increasingly out of reach for most Senegalese.

Dakar will soon have a glut of five-star hotel rooms, but rising rents have pushed the city’s poor and even middle-class residents into filthy, flood-prone slums. Shortages of fuel mean daily blackouts.

It is hard to escape a sense of malaise that has settled over Senegal, one of Africa’s most stable and admired countries, a miasma of political, economic and social problems as unmistakable as the fine dust that blows in from the Sahara every winter, blotting out the sun with an ashy haze.

This month the sense of crisis reached a head, when a coalition of political and civic groups began a national conference to reassess the country’s direction. The government, seeing it as a provocation, refused to participate.

All of which raises the question: If hardship and tension are vexing Senegal — a former French colony that has never known a coup d’état or military rule, and for 48 years has been one of the most stable, peaceful and enduring democracies in a region so long beset by tyranny and strife — what could that mean for its more troubled neighbors?

This question has become all the more pressing with the implosion of Kenya, once East Africa’s oasis, into ethnically driven electoral violence earlier this year, and South Africa’s recent descent into anti-immigrant rage.

Senegal’s chattering class is increasingly worried that the country’s long run of relatively good luck could also run out.

“After years of sunshine, we have so many clouds gathering over us in Senegal,” said Abdoulaye Bathily, secretary general of Senegal’s Movement for the Labor Party, one of the parties that joined with President Abdoulaye Wade’s coalition in 2000 but have since broken with him. “We are lost, adrift. And if we can’t make it, what country can?”

The political class is in seemingly permanent crisis. The grand coalition of opposition parties that brought Mr. Wade to office in 2000 after 40 years of Socialist rule has collapsed.

Most of the major parties sat out the 2007 legislative elections, so the National Assembly is made up almost exclusively of Mr. Wade’s allies.

A series of squabbles within the governing party, along with the widespread speculation that Mr. Wade is grooming his son, Karim, as his successor, have also soured Senegal’s longstanding reputation as a beacon of democracy in a region once plagued by authoritarianism.

Mr. Wade, an indefatigable octogenarian who was re-elected last year for a five-year term, has in many ways staked his legacy on the rebirth of Dakar from a quaint colonial city to a major regional center, a kind of mini-Dubai for West Africa. It is the bequest of an aging leader to a new generation of Senegalese, the men and women he calls the Generation of Concrete.

Mr. Wade put his son, a former banking executive in London, in charge of organizing the Islamic Summit, a meeting of heads of state of Muslim countries held here in March. The vast makeover of the city was supposed to be complete beforehand, but while most of the roads were finished, the hotels were not. The government rented private homes and cruise ships to house delegates and members of the news media.

Much of the work was paid for by Islamic donors, not the public, but little accounting has been given for the reconstruction projects.

When the speaker of the National Assembly tried to question the president’s son about spending for the summit meeting, the speaker’s party leadership position was abolished and the assembly introduced a bill to cut his term to a single year.

He later reconciled with the president, but such scandals have exacted a toll on the country’s reputation. Once a darling of international donors, who have spent millions to help Senegal build schools and clinics, pay off its debts and plan infrastructure projects, the country has found itself criticized by representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank over public spending and policies that have worsened the effects of rising food prices.

A study commissioned by the United States Agency for International Development last year concluded that “a lack of transparency in public affairs and financial transactions, as well as chronic corruption, plague Senegal today.”

Africa as a whole has been enjoying high economic growth rates, but in 2006 Senegal’s economy grew by just over 2 percent. It has rebounded and is expected to reach 5.4 percent this year, but persistent unemployment and high food and fuel prices have blunted the benefits of growth for most people.

Above all, Senegal’s people seem to have lost their seemingly endless optimism. A Gallup survey completed here last year found that only 29 percent of respondents said they had a job, down from 35 percent the previous year

Most telling, 56 percent of those surveyed said they would leave Senegal permanently if they could. In recent years, tens of thousands of Senegalese have boarded rickety wooden fishing boats to try to sneak into Europe. Many thousands are believed to have died in these perilous crossings.

This frustration has largely been turned against Mr. Wade, a longtime opposition figure who endured imprisonment and political isolation for decades before bringing his quirky blend of neo-liberal and Afro-optimist ideas to the presidential palace.

To his many fans, Mr. Wade is an updated version of the founding fathers who governed Africa in the years immediately after independence. His age is a closely guarded secret, but he is believed to be 82, which would make him almost old enough to have been a contemporary of Africa’s early political giants, like Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.

El Hadji Amadou Sall, Mr. Wade’s spokesman and a senior adviser, says that the government is already spending most of its budget on sectors that directly affect the poor, like health and schools, but that these are less visible than five-star hotels. Mr. Wade has also announced ambitious plans to boost food production.

Some Senegalese are pleased. Paco Demba Dia, a 39-year-old traditional wrestler, said seeing new roads and buildings gives him a sense of pride.

“In all those years, the Socialists never did anything like this for us,” he said.

But to his critics, Mr. Wade has sullied Senegal’s reputation and has consolidated power within his own family.

The discontent is keenest among young people, and their chosen mouthpieces: rap artists who have become the griots, or musical storytellers, of their generation, providing a soundtrack to their frustrations.

“We’ve been waiting 40 years for real change in this country,” said Didier Awadi, a rapper whose rhymes in the Wolof language demanding change helped steer young people to vote the Socialist Party out of office in 2000. “But we are still waiting.”

On one of the many billboards across the city welcoming the attendees of the Islamic Summit meeting, someone scrawled paint over Mr. Wade’s face, writing: “We are hungry.”

Indeed, many Senegalese wonder whether the money to rebuild the capital was well spent. Amadou Ndiaye, a hawker who sells cheap Chinese-made shoes on the sidewalk, said that little of the new construction will benefit him. He has no car, and the new roads don’t go anywhere near his slum home.

“We can’t eat roads,” Mr. Ndiaye said. “We can’t afford to sleep in five-star hotels. So for whom is all this? Not for the ordinary Senegalese man.”

© The New York Times
Published: June 18, 2008
Shadows Grow Across One of Africa’s Bright Lights

Monday, August 06, 2007

Ngoor, magnifie le bon sens de la folie

L’atypisme est très souvent le propre des artistes, au point que le mot "artiste" a fini par devenir un terme générique pour nommer toute personne qui se singularise dans sa façon d’être, de faire ou de penser. Chez Abdoulaye Niokhor Bob alias Ngoor, cela prend des proportions si importantes que l’observateur non averti, pourrait facilement le prendre pour de la folie.

Tout en lui renforce cette impression, de son éternel bonnet blanc en permanence rivé sur sa tête pour contenir une tignasse abondante et rebelle, à son regard inquisiteur, tout en lui exprime un mystère indescriptible qui fait de lui un artiste hermétique.
Et comme si cela ne suffisait par, Ngoor s’est choisi une démarche artistique qui est, en grande partie, centrée sur la démence et certaines de ses manifestations comme les troubles de personnalité, les forces mystiques, et le collectionnisme.
En effet il s’est engagé à étudier la démence sous toutes ses coutures, au point de lui consacrer un mémoire de maîtrise au terme de ses études à l’Ecole des Beaux Arts de Dakar en 2001.
Peintre et sculpteur Ngoor est un artiste inclassable, étonnamment seul, dans une solitude insondable qui ne compte que sur l’art pour transcender cet état et accéder à cette vérité dépourvue de toutes souillures qui niche au fond des choses, et des êtres. A ses yeux, la Nature en elle-même est une myriades de vérités que l’artiste ne connaît pas forcement néanmoins il reste le plus habileté à susciter l’élan qui y mène.
"Les arts plastiques participent au parachèvement de l’humanisme dans la mesure ou ils inculquent des valeurs esthétiques, qui complètent celles morales et intellectuelles…" précise t-il.
Adepte inconditionnel de la récupération, à l’image du fou sous l’emprise du collectionnisme, chaque objet ramassé a un caractère sacré et est doté de sens. Sur ses tableaux immenses ou ses sculptures en grandeur nature, prolifèrent un éventail de matériaux hétéroclites comme des bouts de corde, du fil de fer, de la terre…
Le moindre morceau de bois, le plus petit grain de sable qui se retrouve sur ses assemblages, ou tableaux obéit à une volonté de restituer cette vérité propre à la Nature.
Tout le mérite du fou réside en sa capacité à lire la Nature, à trouver un sens à ces objets qui ont cessé d’en avoir pour les autres. Il explique que son travail tourne autour de la dualité entre l’animalité et l’humanité, et s’agirait selon lui d’une interrogation légitime sur ces forces qui semblent guider l’être et lui dicter sa ligne de conduite. Et pour y arriver il se fait l’avocat de la Nature. "La Nature est par essence une diversité, le travail de l’artiste consiste à en faire un résumé pour le rendre plus accessible ; lui donner une vision qui, loin d’être singulière, s’évertue à être le reflet de l’interpellation de la Nature".
A cela s’ajoute son profond attachement à ne point interférer dans cette manifestation. Ainsi, comme si cela ne suffisait pas de se faire appeler Ngoor (i.e bonhomme), il redoute de se faire photographier et se refuse à commenter ou donner des titres à ses œuvres, et pour se justifier il déclare : "elles (ses œuvres) sont l’expression de la Nature et le sens qu’elles peuvent avoir, provient de l’interprétation de ceux qui les regardent. Leur donner un nom limiterait leur sens…"
Convaincu que l’art est une quête de vérité, une vision universelle qui s’exerce au delà de considérations religieuse, ethnique, culturelle, il reste conscient que sa mission consiste à parfaire l’éducation de l’Homme et ainsi le libérer. Et pour étayer cela, il se plait à paraphraser un de ses maîtres-penseurs pour qui, "par l’art, ce qui est dans l’âme prend forme et devient une réalité visible ; par l’art la réalité visible jusque là uniquement physique, prend un sens humain, acquiert une âme".

Daouda NDAO
Dakar, Septembre 2004

Damien RICE - 9 Crimes

Almost every morning, in the cold winter of December 2006, while having my morning coffee in a Starbucks in Rosslyn VA, I would hear this strange voice, in a strange music, singing a beautiful strange song. Once I dared ask one of the guys working in the coffee who was this singer. He went into the back of the store, came back later with a sheet of paper on which he had written: Damien Rice "Elephant"...
The evening of the same day, I was in Borders looking for CDs of this guy...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Le Rap au Sénégal : la revanche des marginaux

Cet article a été pour la première fois publié sur en 2001. Il a été entretemps repris et publié par
Le site de Joko n'étant plus en ligne, je le post dans mon blog...


Le Rap au Sénégal : la revanche des marginaux

A sa naissance, le rap a exclusivement servi à la minorité noire américaine d’exprimer son ressentiment face à une société dont les institutions se disaient démocratiques alors que dans la réalité, elles ne faisaient qu’amplifier les rivalités et l’écart entre les noirs et les blancs. Le rap apparut alors comme un refuge pour tous ces jeunes au bas de l’échelle sociale qui tentaient de survivre dans un environnement gangrené par des préjugés raciaux, sous l’emprise de la pauvreté, la violence et la drogue.

Au Sénégal, le rap a plutôt eu des airs d’exutoire pour des jeunes, le plus souvent, des rejets du système scolaire. Leur colère et leur ressentiment ont été attisé par l’oisiveté dont ils étaient victimes et par l’impunité accordé à une couche de la population. Le rap a dès le début servi à dénoncer toutes les tares d’une société sénégalaise en pleine mutation, une société plus prompte à imiter naïvement les dernières tendances européennes ou Américaines que de s’inspirer de sa richesse culturelle dans laquelle les occidentaux eux-mêmes viennent puiser la spiritualité et la vérité qui avaient fini par disparaître de leur vie à cause d’une focalisation irréfléchie sur le matérialisme. D’où le leitmotiv commun à tous les titres rap (lyrics) "ku xamul fa nga jëm delul fa nga joge" (Si tu ne sais plus où tu vas, retournes d’où tu viens).

Les politiciens, qui sont de tout temps intouchables, deviennent despunching-balls pour ces jeunes, victimes d’un mal de vivre, inquiets de leur avenir mais aguerris par de multiples et fréquentes épreuves, et surtout déterminés à "éduquer" leurs aînés. Nul n’est à l’abri de leurs sermons, qu’il soit père de famille, chefs religieux ou coutumier, une véritable révolution sociale voit le jour. Leur langue "acérée" déverse chaque jour un peu plus des messages de plus en plus engagés jusqu’à tomber dans une violence verbale qui paradoxalement n’incite nullement à la violence physique. Le rap s’impose progressivement avec une impressionnante richesse artistique dans des styles variés mais tous originaux qui partent des airs soft, langoureux et mélodieux des "possees" comme Sunu flavour, jusqu’à celui volontairement provocateur de ceux qui se sont autoproclamés défenseurs du "hard core" (noyau dur) comme le Rapadio. Pour la première fois des jeunes osent s’attaquer à la configuration de la société qui cautionne certaines pratiques indécentes parceque fermant les yeux sur leur réalité pour des soi-disant raisons de "soutoura" (pudeur) ou de "kersa" (discrétion). Les rappeurs refusent d’optempérer. Point de complaisance pour aborder des problèmes d’une société qui nage dans ses propres contradictions, ses silences coupables, ses hésitations.

Rien ne peut arrêter ces jeunes, qui vont jusqu’à s’inspirer des textes coraniques pour mieux légitimer leurs diatribes et inviter à une spiritualité plus saine, plus authentique. Le régime politique qui était en place depuis l’indépendance qui ne trouvait plus de répondant au sein d’une jeunesse désœuvrée en a fait les frais ; ces rappeurs qui auraient pu lui servir d’indicateur s’il était un peu plus attentif à leur cri de cœur ont grandement contribué à sa chute. Ceux qui croyaient que le hip hop était juste une saute d’humeur, un phénomène passager ont vite fait de se faire une autre idée. Le rap n’a rien d’une mode, c’est un état d’esprit, une philosophie, une arme que les "sans voix" et les laissés-pour-compte se sont appropriés pour dénoncer l’injustice. Le rap participe à donner aux jeunes une identité, un sentiment d’appartenance à un escadron de "soldats du microphone" (selon l’expression du Daara J) éclairés, investis d’une mission sociale, civique, voire divine auprès des leurs. Ils veulent reconquérir les valeurs africaines menacées d’aliénation et de désintégration.

Ils s’habillent certes comme les jeunes noirs de New York ou Los Angeles (jungles, baskets, casquettes…), parlent comme on le fait dans les ghettos ("n**gers", "f...", "motherf..."…) ils demeurent néanmoins entièrement préoccupés par leur quotidien.

Daouda NDAO

Friday, March 16, 2007

Is this the return of a lost word?

Hello everybody.
I has been a while since i last published a single word on the blog.
Been so busy, with the legendary American teus-teus (United Teus teus)
I do have a lot to write about... From now on I'll make sure to post some of my thoughts, stories, worries, discoveries...
see ya