First created in 2011, Y’en A Marre, which translates to ‘Fed Up’, was created by a group of Senegalese rappers and journalists in order overthrow the current president Abdoulaye Wade, through protest, increasing civic engagement, voting campaigns, and youth initiatives. The group was created by rappers Fou Malade , Thiat, Kilifeu and journalists Sheikh Fadel Barro, Aliou Sane and Denise Sow.
During the presidency of Wade , many issue arose as a result of the decisions made by politicians and others in position of power. In 2000, Wade initiated the use of Senegalese rappers in order to aim to reach the youth population, which was heavily involved in hip hop culture. However, in 2012 the youth displayed their disapproval of the decisions made my Wade during his presidency including the distribution of wealth among the members of the community.
This anger and interest in the current presidency resulted in an uprising of social engagement with local journalist and rappers to try to make a change. Through door to door campaigns to register voters, educational seminars, and rallying a network of support, ‘”The Spirit of Y’en A Marre” was created as an addition to the general movement. The group advocated for embracing a new type of thinking and attitude toward Senegalese politics. In the late months of 2011, The Spirit of Y’en A Marre released a single entitled ”Faux! Pas Force” as a united cry exhibiting the frustration with President Wade and his son and presumed successor.
The movement has not died down, yet there is still work to be done. Recently, they released a petition to establish transparency and lower the toll prices on the Marathon Eiffage turnpike in Dakar, Senegal. The group is aiming to meet three goals with this petition:
1. The publication of the conditions under which the toll highway was sold to Eiffage Group operating for 30 years while there has invested 61 billion CFA, or about 15% of the cost, where the Government of Senegal has invested nearly 380 billion FCFA;
2. Reducing the toll rate after auditing pricing for why a journey of less than 20KM is charged at 1,400 FCFA in Senegal while with the same amount can travel nearly 90KM on Highway Casablanca-Rabat Morocco;
3. Marathon name change if it is to continue for years to come, calling it “Marathon Dakar” rather than Marathon Eiffage
There is still a great need for reform in Senegal, and the best way to reach the next generation of game changers is to aim for the youth through music. Out of the use of rappers and hip hop, Y’en A Marre has become a evolutionary group in Dakar, aiming to make the change they want to see. It’s time we stop talking about the issues, and actually do something about it.