Republic of South Africa
August 2, 2007
Yesterday, striving constantly to overcome my primitive understanding of the French language and its poetry, I found time to read the powerful and moving Address you delivered at the University of Dakar, Senegal, on July 26.
Nevertheless, I have no hesitation in saying many thanks for what you said, and the manner and place where you said it.
I would like to believe that I understand fully the challenge you placed at our feet, as Africans, when you said : “Mais, de ses malheurs, l’Afrique a tiré une force nouvelle en se métissant à son tour. Ce métissage, quelles que fussent les conditions douloureuses de son avènement, est la vraie force et la vraie chance de l’Afrique au moment où émerge la première civilisation mondiale”.
I would also like to believe that I understand fully the task you set us, as Africans, when you said : “Alors, mes chers Amis, alors seulement, l’enfant noir de Camara Laye, à genoux dans le silence de la nuit africaine, saura et comprendra qu’il peut lever la tête et regarder avec confiance l’avenir. Et cet enfant noir de Camara Laye, il sentira réconciliées en lui les deux parts de lui-même. Et il se sentira enfin un homme comme tous les autres hommes de l’humanité “.
When you spoke at the University of Dakar you addressed both the African youth and all of us as Africans, regardless of age and place of domicile.
You spoke to us, but I sincerely hope that your message will be heard by the entire human society. It cannot be that anybody can claim that humanity is advancing towards the creation of a global people-centred society while Africa remains mired in the entrenched problems with which all thinking human beings are very familiar.
We will do our best to acquaint our people, our continent and the rest of the world with what you said on July 26 at the University of Dakar.
But beyond this, we will assess what we have to do practically to respond to the challenges you had the courage and the honesty to address when you spoke at the University of Dakar.
A few years ago I communicated the opinion to senior French corporate leaders we were privileged to host in our country, that history has defined France as an African citizen. I said then, that this placed us in the fortunate position that, necessarily, we would have France, a fellow citizen of Africa, on our side, as we strived to respond to our challenges as Africans.
What you said in Dakar, Mr President, told me that we are fortunate that we can count on you as such a citizen of Africa, as a partner in the protracted struggle to achieve the true Renaissance of Africa, within the context of the renaissance of Europe and the rest of the world.
My view was confirmed by what you said in Libreville, Gabon, that : “Nous voulons aider les pays d’Afrique sur la voie du développement et sur la voie de la diversification … J’aime l’Afrique, j’aime les Africains, je les respecte“.
Mr President, please accept the assurance of our highest fraternal consideration.
H.E. President Sakozy
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