Our society has little interest in literature. We celebrate marabouts, wrestlers, musicians, footballers, actors but as soon as it comes to know, the Senegalese is absent subscribers. By documentary film director Maky Madiba Sylla.
Oklahoma city on October 26, 2022.
The drums of memory resounded in Oklahoma. When I saw Boris and his so modest and legendary smile heading to accept the Neustadt Prize, I had a feeling of immense pride. Happy first for him, then for the work done for more than forty years. This recognition is the fruit of long hours spent making words waltz, making the dead and the living speak.
At Boris all or almost all is literature. As I observe it, I have the impression that he has made a secret pact with the jinn who whispers in the ears of writers. My enthusiasm and excitement quickly gave way to desolation and sadness. We were only two Senegalese present at this event. Maram Bàlla Géy and myself.
Not a Senegalese official from the Senegalese embassy in Washington thought for a moment to travel, not a member of the Ministry of Culture was present in the room to celebrate his son who carries on his shoulders the memories of the time.
We celebrate marabouts, wrestlers, musicians, footballers, actors but as soon as it comes to know, the Senegalese is absent subscribers. If you want to hide something from the black man, put it in one book says the other. This assertion that sounds a dagger in the back is of a disconcerting truth.
No one is a prophet at home but let the prophet be and he was in this auditorium of Oklahoma City located 306 km northwest of Dallas. Our society has little interest in literature.
We prefer the Byzantine quarrels that animate our daily television debates rather than the fine spirit of an intellectual who thinks the world and who writes for posterity. The duty to remember is of absolute urgency. This country must learn to celebrate its sons and daughters in diversity.
We can celebrate Youssou Ndour, Sadio Mane and Boubacar Boris because everyone in their field is an ambassador who represents Senegal with dignity. The tears of the Jury President of the Neustadt Prize speak volumes about the impact of Boris’ work, he will say: your work is essential to understand the world. When you read you don’t come out unscathed. You want to be a good person when you finish reading a book by Boris.
Today at the University of Oklahoma, the drums resounded in deafening silence because Senegal was the big absent that failed. Boris is forever in posterity because these books are eternal.