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Why do Senegalese men want to get rich without working? (Perspective)

23 July 2021, Seytoo
Why do Senegalese men want to get rich without working? (Perspective)

In this interview, psychologist Lahbib Ndiaye tries to analyze the behaviors and attitudes of the Senegalese man. He believes that the latter is characterized in particular by his love of easy money, his obscurantism and the loss of his capacity for outrage.

How does a psychologist like you look at the Senegalese man? In other words, how would you define the latter?

This is a very difficult question, but we can identify some characteristics of the Senegalese man. For example, in the area of wealth accumulation, the Senegalese person is someone who likes to get rich quickly without working. This is the philosophy of “Kheweul (Gift),” Blow, luck, the “Yalla waxul kenn dara (God’s here for everyone).” It is a philosophy that does not encourage the individual to cultivate the value of work. The Senegalese man hope for prayers from the Marabouts (religious guides), from the occult forces to become rich. That’s why there are stories all the time about the multiplication of banknotes, fake banknotes. So even when you entrust someone with money, they think they can just turn it into magic.

Regarding his relationship with work, the Senegalese man does not love to work. This is because people think that even if you work you will not reap the rewards of that labor, it is another person that will reap the rewards. So, this slightly pessimistic philosophy about work makes people unwilling to exert themselves. People always have the impression that it is through patronage and parachuting that one can reach positions of responsibility and not just because of the person's merit and perseverance at work.

From the point of view of social relations, the Senegalese man likes to have friends, he is very open. In addition, he enjoys being of service to the family either materially or socially. Those who have the means like to show off their financial strength. Today, money has become the glue in social relationships. This is the reason why everyone is running behind money. And all the means are good to have it: predation, recourse to emigration... Everyone wants to emigrate because we think that there, we can earn money easily. Loving money is good, but you have to acquire it by working hard. But the Senegalese man is someone who likes easy money.

What you are saying here is not new, for a long time some of your colleagues have denounced it. Does this mean that the Senegalese man is not evolving?

The Senegalese man is evolving but not in the right direction because he does not have a positive philosophy of life. This translates into recklessness, lies and the desire to get rich without working. Quite the opposite of what a positive philosophy of life implies, that is to say the fact that the individual believes in his abilities and accepts that only work ennobles and makes rich and not tricks, hypocrisy, extortion. This is what is frustrating with the Senegalese man. This makes it difficult for honest people to find their place in society. Here, even when there is someone who tries to show zeal in the work, he is blamed for that by saying that he wants to show that the rest of us are not working.

There is also passivity in relation to the dangers that threaten society. The Senegalese man is still waiting for some magic spell to solve his problems. Or we implore our Marabouts by saying that they are the guardians of social order. It is all these problems that make it difficult to build our country around positive values such as the love of work.

In addition to his navel-gazing, the Senegalese man is a very fatalistic person. With him, everything is explained by the famous “ndogalu Yalla” (divine will). Isn't the Senegalese in an illusion?

It’s a way of running away from reality. It is because he has no solutions to the problems that beset him that the Senegalese man always calls on God. To show his carelessness, his incapacity, his laziness, he always takes refuge behind God. He doesn't try to think of how to solve his problems. It’s difficult to build this country without first building a type of Senegalese capable of leading this fight.

The Senegalese man still believes in occult forces. He does not hesitate to resort to the charlatan when faced with a problem. So, is he obscurantist?

It is a form of obscurantism to rely on occult forces for protection or access to positions of responsibility. And even worse, this belief system is used as a weapon of combat against those who manage to emerge on their own merit. There is a race to the bottom in Senegalese society. We do not take as role models those who succeed because of their talent or skill alone. It is believed that one can use mystical forces to slow down the ascension of such people and one believes that one can succeed by the power of these mystical forces without having the skills to do so. Although this is naive, many of our compatriots believe it. If today there is the development of begging, it is because behind it there are always these charlatans or marabouts who advise this or that other offering.

It is more and more frequent to see acts which deserve to be denounced by everyone but which, however, no longer arouse undue indignation among the Senegalese. Has the Senegalese man lost the capacity for indignation?

We lost that for a very long time. Do you remember the sinking of the boat “Le Joola?” The behaviors that led to this disaster remain the same and have even become more dangerous. When you attack a woman or a child in the street, people are there, small, watching. When we dig up a homosexual, we don't care... as long as it's not our parent. People have completely lost the capacity for outrage.

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