seetaan: to watch
The television is always on in my house. In fact, all three televisions are always on, one for each floor. I’ve found this to be true for every Senegal home that I’ve visited so far—television all the time! People talk to each other while the television blares in the background, lower the volume as they eat in a circle on the mat in front of it, or gather around for the popular shows.
The first floor television is usually showing the latest soccer match, as it is the domain of my brothers, as well as my older brother’s friends. It’s where the teenagers hang out, so if there’s not a match playing, it usually is African music videos.
My mother usually controls the second floor television. In the mornings, the news or the religious television channel, which most often features screensaver-like videos of Mecca set to calming recitations from the Qu’rān. But in the afternoons, you can count on nonstop Spanish-language telenovelas dubbed over in French. I’ve seen all of them so many times that I’m beginning to catch on to the stories—my mother’s favorites are Le Chemin du Destin and Dans la peau d’une autre. La Patrona and Le Clone are tolerated. Nobody likes La Chacala.
But the real highlight is Wiri Wiri. What is Wiri Wiri? Oh, where to start! It’s a Wolof-language soap opera filmed in Dakar, and it is by far the most communal television affair across the entire city, besides the Senegal national football team. When it airs on Monday and Friday nights, no one is in the streets. Instead, everyone sits glued to the television sets as the familiar theme song fills the air. My fifteen-year-old brother Baba screams with excitement as it begins, “Wiri Wiri! Wiri Wiri!”
I’ll admit that I, too, have become invested in this crazy soap opera—for all of its low budget filming and bad acting, it’s very fun to watch!