The person drowning in this Covid-19 exposition is metaphorical in depicting water as a source of death, conflict, war and tension (Source: Abdoulaye Touré, 2021, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).
Water, through Words and Evils: The Case of Saint-Louis


  • Moustaph Ndiaye Island of Saint-Louis, Senegal




Certain cultures portray the sacredness of water in rituals performed daily and to mark different stages of life. Water has been revered the home of protective spirits, according to myths and legends, such as those of the Serer people in Senegal. This spiritual connection between water and people, which has favored its preservation, has been undermined with the emergence of industrialization and urbanization. This shift in perception has led to water being viewed primarily as a commodity. The Island of Saint-Louis is faced with a paradox of benefits and challenges due to its colonial cultural heritage and unique deltaic condition. This article discusses the vulnerability of the site and its water heritage along with the opportunities it could bring for sustainable development of the island.

How to Cite

Ndiaye, M. (2023). Water, through Words and Evils: The Case of Saint-Louis. Blue Papers, 2(2).





methodologies and case studies

Author Biography

Moustaph Ndiaye, Island of Saint-Louis, Senegal

Moustaph Ndiaye is the site manager of the World Heritage Site of the Island of Saint-Louis in Senegal. With an academic background in building and maintenance in the context of the World Heritage Site Grand Bassam in Ivory Coast, he has also provided training on the development and management of cultural projects and legal capacity. In 2010 he focused on cultural projects management in the scope of the cooperation between Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Saint-Louis. He went on to coordinate the documentary film The Walls Remember about the architectural heritage of the Island of Saint-Louis. He served as the director of the regional cultural center of Saint-Louis. Currently, he delivers presentations and participates in various international seminars and festivals as a representative of the island.


Sine, Aly. 2020. “Les Enjeux du Patrimoine Colonial. De la Construction Idéologique au Développement Touristique. Etudes de Cas des Villes de Gorée, Saint-Louis et Rufisque au Sénégal” [The challenges of colonial heritage: From ideological construction to tourism development. Case studies of the cities of Gorée, Saint-Louis and Rufisque in Senegal.] Doctoral diss., Université Libre de Bruxelles.

EnQuete+. 2020. “Le PDT/SL Est ni Concerné ni impacté par ce débat sur la Statue de Faidherbe’’ [The PDT/SL is neither concerned nor impacted by this debate on the statue of Faidherbe.] Interview of Ibrahima Diagne, July 25, 2020.

Coly, Germain. 2009. “La Mise en Oeuvre d’un Plan de Sauvegarde pour un Site du Patrimoine Mondial UNESCO: Le Cas de Saint-Louis du Sénégal” [The implementation of a safeguard plan for a UNESCO World Heritage Site: The case of Saint-Louis in Senegal.] Master’s research project, Université Paris.

Delft University of Technology. 2021. Water, Ports and UNESCO’s Historic Urban Landscape Approach. Interviews commissioned by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.

Margoles, Michelle. 2007. “Mame Coumba Bang: A Living Myth and Evolving legend.” Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for Senegal: Arts and Culture: SIT Study Abroad, Fall 2007. Carleton College.

UNESCO. n.d. “World Heritage List.” (accessed November 29, 2022).

UNESCO. 2021. Urban Notebooks: News from the UNESCO World Heritage Cities Programme no. 13–14: 8. Paris: UNESCO.