In 2006, the Spanish archipelago, the Canary Islands, saw the arrival of over thirty thousand clandestine migrants in pirogues that had departed mainly from somewhere along the Senegalese coast. The large majority of those who had risked their lives crossing the 1,500 kilometres of high seas were Senegalese nationals. Many were involuntarily repatriated. This paper traces back the historical context of these widely publicized endeavours in a Senegal that evolved from being a traditional immigration country to a place of emigration in barely twenty years. The repatriates’ voices tell their stories from going to the Canary Islands to coming back. They explain why the many initiatives put into place to discourage them from future attempts of clandestine migration are not effective, and how the struggle to overcome their perilous livelihoods
Centrum voor Interculturalisme- en migratie-onderzoek.