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Youssou N’Dour Running For President of Senegal

Youssou N’Dour Running For President of Senegal
Youssou N'Dour in concert. Credit: Getty Images/Jemal Countess

By Beverly Bryan | January 3, 2012

Senegalese singing legend Youssou N’Dour has always used his beautiful voice to speak out about social and political issues. Now, the 52 year-old musician is using that voice more directly, with an announcement that he will run for president in Senegal.

He will run against sitting president Abdoulaye Wade and has canceled several tour dates in order to devote attention to a campaign. N’Dour is is a longtime critic of Wade, who is 85 years-old and has been in power for more than a decade. N’Dour is wildly popular in Senegal and says that he is running in response to numerous requests from supporters that he enter politics.

Wade holds two degrees, one in law and one in economics. N’Dour doesn’t have a college education, but he does have an honorary doctorate in music from Yale. And, as one of the most celebrated African musicians in history, he has a lot of experience as an unofficial representative for his country. Besides collaborating with everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Neneh Cherry, he is a also member of The World Future Council and has served as a UN Goodwill Ambassador. Beyond popularity, he has the means to challenge Wade. N’Dour owns a Senegalese newspaper, a radio station, and a TV channel.

We’ve long been supporters of N’Dour. Check out our exclusive live video with him performing “Hope.” Politics aside, it might give you chills:

What do you think? Does N’Dour have what it takes to lead Senegal? Let us know in the comments.

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