Senegal owes its name to the river, bearing the same appellation, that borders it to the east and north. It is externally bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south; internally it almost completely surrounds the Gambia, namely on the north, east and south, except for Gambia’s short Atlantic coastline. Senegal covers a land area of almost 197,000 square kilometres (76,000 sq mi), and has an estimated population of about 13 million, about 42 per cent of whom live in rural areas The climate is tropical with two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. Density in these areas varies from about 77 inhabitants per square kilometre (200 /sq mi) in the west-central region to 2 per square kilometre (5.2 /sq mi) in the arid eastern section.
Senegal is known across Africa for its diverse and rich culture based on “Diissoo” (problem solving by consulting and not by using force), its musical heritage and its “intellectual Elite”. From these essential combined factors built on the dialogue of the different cultures, emerged the most democratic and stable country in Africa based on open governance, accountability, the rule of law and rigorous economic management.
It is also well known for the West African tradition of storytelling, which is done by griots, who have kept West African history alive for thousands of years through words and music. The griot profession is passed down generation to generation and requires years of training and apprenticeship in genealogy, history and music. Sabar drumming is especially popular. The sabar is mostly used in special celebrations like weddings. Another instrument, the tama, is used in more ethnic groups.
The popularity of mbalax, which originated from the Serer percussive tradition especially the Njuup has been enhanced by Youssou N’Dour and other modern musicians among which internationally renown Senegalese such as Ismael Lô, Cheikh Lô, Orchestra Baobab, Baaba Maal, Akon Thione Seck, Viviane, Titi and Pape Diouf (and many more).
The country also distinguishes itself by producing top professionals sportsmen/women ie. runners, basketball players, footballers. Talented professionals such as El Hadji Diouf, Pape Demba Cisse, Demba Ba (this is in no way an exhaustive list), massively contribute to the phenomenal success of the biggest league in the world “English Football”! These talents played their part in putting “small” Senegal among “giants” on the international map .