Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 March 2022
Not all inhabitants of Saint-Louis embrace the history of colonialism. The descendants of the colonial subjects remember colonialism very differently from the elites who celebrate the Fanal. They remember that the founder of the Muridiyya Sufi order, Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, was tried by the privy council in Saint-Louis in 1895 and sent into exile. On 5 September of each year, the disciples of the Sufi marabout commemorate a prayer of emergency said by their saint at that trial. This chapter analyses the history of that prayer and examines it as a palimpsest performance that accumulates many different histories and remembers them at once. It analyses the commemoration as a hybrid of different temporalities aligned to repair the legacy of colonial domination for the disciples of a Muslim marabout whose resistance is remembered as the foundation moment of the independent nation. In an interpretation inflected by Afro-nationalism and Sufi spirituality, the disciples credit the prayer with bringing about national independence through occult means. They remember it as a miracle performed by the Sufi leader that established Senegal’s political independence.
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