It was 2.00am on Sunday morning when I arrived Dakar. To the ordinary Dakar dweller it was an unusual hour for hustle and bustle. But hustle and bustle it was at the Leopold Sedar Senghor international airport as thousands made the trip for the 11th Edition of the World in Dakar.
At 2pm later the same day, the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar played host to the WSF. The logistics on the first day of the event left me a little worried. Heaps of rubbish could be spotted at different locations of the forum site while stands were erected on dusty ground, tables and chairs required by NGO’s to decorate their stands were either too few or simply unavailable.
Organisers of the World Social Forum described the event as "an open meeting place where social movements, networks, NGOs and other civil society organizations opposed to neo-liberalism and a world dominated by capital or by any form of imperialism come together to pursue their thinking, to debate ideas democratically, for formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action."
It is surely premature to judge the success of a weeklong forum from the mere strengths and weakness of day 1. However, the huge turn out by civil society and NGOs on the first day of the forum certainly has raised hopes that despite the lapses in logistics, the forum could well be on the path of providing a productive space for civil society to build relationship and form partnership necessary for any strong action.