Award-winning artist and businessman #Akon is moving forward with his plans to build a “futuristic” city in Senegal that he says he will be a real-life version of Wakanda, the hi-tech, sophisticated, and advanced city in the hit blockbuster film Black Panther.
The first stone for Akon’s Akon city was laid on Monday in Mbodiene park, 100 kilometers from Dakar, the country’s capital city, CNN reports. The artist, whose real name is Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam, said production in the city will start next year. “We are looking at Akon city to become the beginning of Africa’s future,” said Akon at the ceremony, which was also attended by #AliouneSarr, Senegal’s minister for tourism, and other government officials. “Our idea is to build a futuristic city that incorporates all the latest technologies, cryptocurrencies, and also the future of how African society should become in the future.”
CNN reports that city will be solar-powered and decked out with healthcare facilities, offices, luxury houses, shopping malls, skyscrapers, eco-friendly tourist centers, and more. Akon was gifted 2,000 acres of land from Senegalese President Macky All to build the city. Another $6 billion was raised by Akon and other unnamed investors. Akon first announced his idea for the city back in 2018. The water-like designs of the city are inspired by the shapes of traditional sculptures that have been made in Africa’s villages, Akon said. The structures, however, will be made of metal and not wood.
On Monday, Akon said he hopes the city will provide jobs for the people of Senegal and also serve as a “home back home” for Black Americans and others who face racial injustices. “The system back home treats them unfairly in so many different ways that you can never imagine. And they only go through it because they feel that there is no other way,” he said. “So if you’re coming from America or Europe or elsewhere in the diaspora and you feel that you want to visit Africa, we want Senegal to be your first stop.” Akon was born in the United States to Senegalese parents and spent a large chunk of his life in Senegal. The Hollywood Reporter reports that only 44 percent of rural households had electricity in 2018.