Marco Senghor

"I could not hope for a better verdict!"Sitting in a cafe in the Mission, his home for several decades, Marco Senghor is all smiles a few days after the decision by the US justice on the illegal acquisition of his US citizenship. Condemned to one year of reprieve, Marco Senghor assumes. "I now feel at peace with my conscience. I have always believed in the justice of this country, and I was right: she knows who I am, what I have brought to this neighborhood for more than 20 years. I can now raise my head and believe it again."

Forced to sell Bissap Baobab, his restaurant and Senegalese club opened in 1999, to pay his legal fees, Marco Senghor is already thinking about his next san franciscaine adventure: "We must get up quickly in this country that applies the law of the strongest", He warns. In May, he reopened Oakland's Bissap Baobab, which he had closed down a few years ago, but does not plan to recreate the atmosphere of San Francisco. "I would feel like I'm back 20 years, and I want to try something new in San Francisco. The business will not change me, it's up to me to adapt my business so as not to be a slave", He says.

A few steps from the fire Bissap Baobab, Little Baobab is still standing, but without the ability to accommodate the crowds that once crowded his neighbor: "It's an incredible loss", Regrets Marco Senghor. "Every evening, nearly 1,000 people came to Bissap Baobab: the food was cheap, the tamarind and hibiscus cocktails were famous, people came from afar to eat and dance."Little Baobab can only accommodate a handful of customers, and Marco Senghor knows he can not be satisfied:"With a small ethnic restaurant that offers only four dishes, I am doomed to failure. Sometimes I feel a little pity on the part of customers, and that's not a feeling I like."

Born of a Senegalese father, nephew of President Léopold Sedar Senghor, and a Nîmes mother, Marc-Olivier (his real name) Senghor freed himself from the weight of his name by landing in San Francisco in 1989, and by answering to his entrepreneurial aspirations in the restoration. "Twenty years ago, no one came here, the neighborhood was in the hands of gangs. I was even given six months of free rent thinking that I will not make it. I removed balls from the walls of the restaurant not to scare customers …"The list of anecdotes is long, and Marco Senghor is still surprised at the modest success of his companies.

Now confident about his future, Marco Senghor has plenty of ideas and energy to write the new chapter of his American adventure: "Juices, ice cream, multi-ethnic restaurant, theater … .my decision is not yet taken. One thing is certain: I still have a lot to give."


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