Senegal is a country on Africa’s west coast. The country is well known for its French colonial heritage and natural attractions. Senegal is bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean, Guinea Bissau, and Mauritania.
The two most populous ethnic groups are Wolof (43%) and Pular (23.8%). The rest are Serer, Jola, Mandinka, and Soninke in descending order. European and Lebanese form a minority of just 1% of the population.
French, the official language of Senegal is spoken mainly by the educated for the purposes of government, education, and commerce. At least three quarters of the population speaks the Wolof language. Saint-Louis, formerly the capital of French West Africa, is known for the colonial architecture in its old town.
President: Macky Sall
Prime minister: Mohammed Dionne
Currency: West African CFA franc
Official language: French
Population: Nearly 14 Million
Government: Semi-Presidal Republic
Amazing Facts about Senegal
Here are 12 other facts about Senegal which you will find amazing.
1. BELIEF IN GRIS GRIS
Belief in supernatural powers is common in Senegal. Most people, including many who claim to belong to either Islam or Christianity, practice one form of animism or the other. It is also common to see charms locally called gris gris around necks, arms, waists, and ankles.
2. IMPORTANCE OF SPIRIT MEDIUMS
Consulting spirit mediums is rampant as a result of the belief that the mediums have powers to see the future and to do many other things to benefit their clients. These include:
- Protecting them
- Improving their finances
- Bringing them love
- Cure their chronic illnesses
- Settle their disputes
- Place curses on enemies
Obviously being a spirit medium is a thriving business in Senegal.
3. POLITE GREETING INSULT
Greeting is crucial to the Senegalese etiquette. Greeting usually entails making inquiries about each other’s welfare and the welfare of each other’s family. If you ask to see someone without first greeting, you are likely to be reproved in a politely sarcastic way: “He/she has just gone to learn how to greet.”
4. PROLONGED HANDSHAKE
Handshakes are usually prolonged and last through the whole time spent asking about each other’s welfare and the welfare of each other’s family members. But this is no waste of time. It is the Senegalese way of feeling you out and bonding.
5. CROSS-GENDER TOUCHING
About 94% of Senegalese population adheres to the Islamic faith. Still, unlike many other Muslim and/or Arab countries, cross-gender touch is not frowned at. However, some very religious men and women do not shake hands with people of the opposite sex.
6. GIFTS RARELY OPENED
Gifts do not play a very big role in Senegal. It is okay to take a box of chocolate, French pastries, or nicely packaged fresh fruits along as a gift when you are invited to a Senegalese home. It is good to have it wrapped. But gifts are rarely opened when received.
7. WASH HANDS AND WAIT
When meal is about ready to be served, a wash basin is usually brought out, filed with water for all to wash their hands. Table meal seating is usually a matter of hierarchy. Therefore it is usually good manners to wait to be shown where to sit.
8. EATING ON YOUR SIDE
Food is usually served in a communal bowl and eaten by everyone from that same bowl. Expected good manners are to eat from the section in front of each person. What is seen as bad is to reach across the bowl and eat from the other side. It is a taboo.
9. REMAINING AFTER MEAL
In the home of a Senegalese, you would most likely be offered a second helping after a meal. To show you have had enough, leave a small portion of food on your side of the communal bowl. And it is expected good manners to remain for at least 30 minutes after the meal to continue the bonding.
10. BILINGUAL BIZ CARDS
If looking to do business in Senegal, always have one side of your business card translated into French. Also, personal titles (Dr, Chief, Prof, etc) are well respected in Senegal. So you need to make sure such are well displayed on the card. If you can, have your business card gold-embossed. Such are well respected.
11. STUDY BIZ CARDS
Never put away any business cards you receive until you have studied them, or at least, make sure you are seen “studying” it. Make sure you NEVER write on a business card, be it yours or one you are given. It is unforgiveable.
12. COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS
The Senegalese are more inclined to choose indirect system of communication over the direct one. To enhance this, they use a lot of proverbs, sayings, analogies, and metaphors. They use these especially when what they have to say is delicate.