As part of the Francophonie summit in Dakar in November 2014, the French Institute of Dakar invited Royal de Luxe to think about a creation. The company decided to weave a sort of spider's web that would link the different districts of the city, to bring them together in a one-off final event on a square in the city centre. This approach both social and poetic, will remain as something deeply humoristic for the inhabitants of Dakar.
The latecomer of the last Paris-Dakar
My motorcycle jumped from 5 meters high from the top of the dune and I found myself with the nose in the sand. Broken fork, destroyed compass, my engine was no more than a laid down wreck as a dead horse climbing on the hill, I was overcome with dizziness. As far as the eye can see, I was in the middle of an ocean of sand whose waves fixed in the immovable gave the feeling of a storm on a wall in a photograph.
Alone as a grain of sand in the cradle of Humanity, I took the engine apart I had pampered during more than three years off. With straps, I hung it up on my back and with curved head by effort, I started the beginning of a walk into the unknown. It was at PARIS-DAKAR 2007.
I only thought I was walking on the African land and that it would pick me with its giant’s arms. Time passed until I saw a herd of elephants with palm trees standing on their skulls, giraffes so high that they ate pieces of clouds, camels full of poppies on their backs or little black children, with webbed feet such as frogs who jumped on me to kiss me - it only was a mirage.
I have to say that during my trip, I ended up meeting a large number of families who welcomed me as a brother.
I had lost memory, and when they saw me, I didn’t let anyone touch my engine. The only words that came out of my cracked lips were DAKAR DAKAR DAKAR …
Very good at mechanics, here and there I found odd jobs. Until the day when at the end of a court, I found out a bathtub, and I couldn’t say why, I had finally found the new body of my vehicle. That’s right what is more comfortable than a bathtub full of water to cross the desert!
And I rejoined the race, crossing villages; I followed by hundreds of bicycles where bursts of laughter gave me strength of a rhino with an invincible tenderness.
In this race, I recovered memory to find my way. Soon I was acclaimed and people were waiting for me on the road to Dakar. Yes, I was a latecomer, and so what? But I had learnt that you can travel without moving and that is precisely when the idea of the DAKAR-DAKAR on static bicycles crept into my mind. I was going to organize the first bicyle race which, without moving forward, would be able to tour the SENEGAL.
© Jean-Luc COURCOULT, Author, director - Founder of Royal de Luxe
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« ‘Les habitants réagissent avec beaucoup d’étonnement (Moustapha Samb, chargé de culture à l’Institut français de Dakar). Ils sont surpris et prennent beaucoup de plaisir à les voir. Le savoir faire de la troupe nantaise apporte ici un espoir pour les jeunes et suscite une envie de créativité chez certains artistes locaux’ […] Chaque soir, il y a des artistes locaux qui se produisent. Ce sont de grandes fêtes de quartier avec des concerts gratuits.’ Le célèbre chanteur Ismaël Lô, dit le Bob Dylan africain, était de la fête de la francophonie. »