It was nice, and very surprising, to find that Senegalese TV was showing the Chelsea v Man Utd match on Sunday (although the refereeing decisions left me fuming so perhaps I would have been better off not seeing it).

This is more typical of the TV fare on offer, noted one evening last week:

Various mid-level Senegalese notables making speeches, watched by rows of women sat in plastic chairs wearing big colourful shiny boubous and too much make-up and jewellery, trying to look interested. In Wolof (the main local language).

A group of about 12 women in shiny, voluminous, multi-coloured boubous, in front of some palm trees, singing and dancing to some nice plinky-plonky Malian-sounding music. In some local language.

Three women in (yes, you guessed) shiny, voluminous, multi-coloured boubous, artfully lounging in big leather armchairs, smiling and waving their arms around gently, whilst a similarly dressed woman in more jewellery shuffled around the room singing (in a local language). Oh, then cut to the same women, in different boubous, swaying to the same music in front of a backdrop of mud huts.

Soap opera from Latin America (Mexico?) dubbed into French.

TV5 Monde
Unclear, but involved an African family in a cheap, echoing set of a modern house, speaking French. Seemed to be some sort of soap opera.

Top-half view of a man in a shiny purple boubou, in front of a plain blue background, eyes closed, singing/wailing in some local language.

Walf TV
African man in quite nice shiny boubou singing what sounded like a North African (Moroccan?) song, with three women behind him in boubous and veils swaying to the music.

You can see why I don't watch TV very often!

However having just arrived in Guinea Bissau I am faced with even stranger TV since this is part of the tiny Lusophone community, that is the former Portuguese colonies. At breakfast this morning they were showing “Bom Dia Africa” with activities taking place in a dry dusty environment that clearly wasn’t Guinea Bissau, which is lush and green. Turned out to be an Angolan TV channel, which then moved on to a programme set in a swimming pool, with lots of bare flesh on show including Brazilian-style thong bikinis. Most bizarre to be watching that from conservative, largely Muslim West Africa, where the showing of any flesh between the waist and the knee is pretty much taboo for local women (at the beach I’ve seen local women go in the water fully clothed). Once again though I am reminded of how much I like Guinea Bissau. It has something of Brazil about it not just in the rhythms of the music and movement of the people but also in the relaxed atmosphere of the place.


Alison said...

I love your accounts of the minutae of Senegalese life. I could do something similar with the 450 TV channels that I think we get here - and there is equally little to watch! It really highlights the differences between the 2 ex-pat lifestyles we have ended up living.

Alvarez Dude said...

Just happened to drop by your blog and became instantly intrigued. You seem to lead an envious life style. Your Senegalese tv blog was interesting. It's strange, to the american eye, to hear about the limited (in number of channels) the choices people in other countries have.

I spent a good hour going over your older postings and noticed you have a good eye for photography and your writing style kept my interest.

You probably don't have as much time to spend on your blog but would encourage you to keep writing. I personally enjoy reading about your travels and experiences. Keep up the good work.