New Internationalist

Djibril Sy

March 2009

A queue for gas, captured by Senegalese photographer Djibril Sy.

This picture was taken in September 2006, a time when Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, faced acute gas shortages, thanks to the irregularity of imports by the African Refinery Company and the lack of storage capacity of the firms distributing the gas. These women were queuing patiently outside a service station to buy whatever butane gas was available. Unfortunately the problems have not eased in the last two and a half years. Senegal has to import all of its crude oil, so last year’s high fuel prices hit the country hard. Dakar often faces power cuts and its one million inhabitants are becoming increasingly frustrated by the shortages. Last October many of the city’s residents took to the streets in protest both at the intermittent service and their extortionate utility bills.

I trained in photography at the Dakar School of Fine Arts in the 1970s and returned there in 1993 to work as a professor of photography for three years. I am currently working on the subject of the talibes, Dakar’s street children, and on the immigration of Senegalese people to large urban centres.

Djibril Sy / Panapress / Senegal

This column was published in the March 2009 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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This article was originally published in issue 420

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