Geographically, Senegal is the westernmost country of all Africa. Historically, the region was part of the ancient Ghana and Djolof kingdoms and an important node on trans-Saharan caravan routes. It was also an early point of European contact, and was later colonized by the French before gaining independence in 1960. Almost two-fifths of Senegal’s people are Wolof, members of a highly stratified society whose traditional structure includes a hereditary nobility and a class of musicians and storytellers called gewel in the Wolof language (griots).
Contemporary Senegalese culture, especially its music and other arts, draws largely on Wolof sources, with some influence from other Senegalese groups (such as the Fulani, the Serer, the Diola, and the Malinke).
As you explore the store, look for handwoven baskets or hampers made by binding dried cattail stalks with plastic strips salvaged from a local mat factory. You may also notice a balaphone or other musical instrument from the region.