INTRODUCTION: The black American author Alex Haley arrived in Dakar, Senegal, last week at the start of a visit to Africa which he has described as a "pilgrimage".
INTRODUCTION: The black American author Alex Haley arrived in Dakar, Senegal, last week at the start of a visit to Africa which he has described as a "pilgrimage". Mr. Haley's book "Roots" is currently an international best-seller -- it traces the author's ancestors across 200 years to their African origins. It has also been made into an extremely successful television series, and has turned Mr. Haley into an over-night multi-millionaire.
SYNOPSIS: After being greeted at Dakar airport Mr. Haley went on to a reception given in his honour by the Prime Minister of Senegal, Monsieur Abdou Diouf. During his stay the author says that he will visit the village of Juffure in Gambia, the home of his great-grandfather, who left Africa as a slave in 1767, arriving in the United States after an agonising sea voyage, and ending up on a plantation in the state of Virginia.
And in 1977 his descendant returned as a triumphant literary hero. So much so that a meeting was arranged between Mr. Haley and Senegalese President Leopold Senghor on the day of the author's arrival in Dakar. President Senghor is also known as a writer, poet and champion of black consciousness.
Alex Haley spent twelve years researching and writing "Roots" and says that its success has been "overwhelming" for him and that he never dreamed of becoming a cultural figurehead. He says he has plans to make a film high-lighting the key position of blacks in world affairs.