Senegal’s star student has vanished in France. Where is Diary Sow?

She landed a spot at a prestigious preparatory college in Paris and, her friends say, continued to ace lessons. She printed a novel final yr on the age of 19.

“To Diary,” the Senegalese president wrote to her in an August word, “a rising star who is the pride of the people.”

Then her college, the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, alerted the Senegalese Embassy on Jan. 4 that Sow had stopped exhibiting up.

Nobody has heard from the student who was identified to by no means miss a lecture — neither mates nor household.

Paris police have shared no leads as they scour the town. The prosecutor’s workplace referred to as the disappearance “worrying.”

“This has devastated everyone,” stated a former instructor, Mame Coumba Diouf Sagna, who proofread early drafts of Sow’s e book. “She has so many dreams to realize. She has so much hope to give.”

Senegalese President Macky Sall despatched investigators to assist, whereas Sow’s classmates launched into their very own search. By Tuesday, a group of eight had referred to as 12 hospitals every.

“We’re doing everything we can,” stated Moussa Gueye, a 21-year-old engineering student from a suburb of Dakar, the Senegalese capital. “We’re out here printing and distributing fliers.”

Sow is reserved but form, he stated — not boastful, although she has the best to be.

“She gets the best grades in everything,” he stated.

Hundreds of Senegalese expatriates in Paris and different French cities took to the streets this week, passing out pamphlets that includes Sow’s face and a quantity to name. Video reveals them chanting, “Ensemble allons chercher Diary Sow.” Together let’s discover Diary Sow.

“She is famous for being brilliant,” stated Souleymane Gueye, vp of the Federation of Senegalese Students and Trainees of France. “She stands out. Those academic awards usually go to boys.”

In Senegal, hypothesis blazes throughout social media: Was she taken? Did she run away?

“What if Diary Sow doesn’t want to be found?” somebody tweeted. “I’ve been thinking about it all night, the pressure of being a good student is hard for anyone.”

In September, the month she turned 20, Sow visited Dakar to advertise her novel, “Under the Face of an Angel.”

It’s a few difficult girl, she advised a bookstore viewers. The character is guarded and retains to herself. Her love curiosity sees solely “roses,” she stated — not the thorns.

“The names are fictitious,” she stated, “but I use words to express myself to the world.”

Abdoulaye Diallo, the director of Harmattan Senegal, a publishing home in Dakar, teared up as he recalled the day Sow’s uncle urged him to learn her manuscript.

“It took us a year to publish it — with two blind proof-readings,” he stated. “With the quality of the text, one couldn’t imagine that the author was a woman of her age. It must be recognized that this is a higher mind.”

Sow needed to discover folks’s inside worlds, she stated in an August television appearance. The expectations and pressures — “the secret emotions,” she stated.

Though her novel was in style in Senegal, she needs to pursue an engineering profession.

“I am a scientist,” she stated, “but that doesn’t mean I should be limited to science.”

Her fervor for studying was clear early on.

“She is in front of books all the time,” her mom advised information crews after Sow gained her first huge scholastic prize. “She doesn’t want to waste a second of her life.”

Sow grew up in the fishing metropolis of Mbour, about 60 coastal miles south from the hustle of Dakar.

She got here from humble means, stated Sagna, her former instructor. There had been no fancy tutors.

“Just pure determination,” Sagna stated. “When I called for recess, the other students would go outside and play, but Diary would just get something to eat — some pasta or rice — and sit inside with a book.”

By age 13, the star pupil was all the time scribbling in a pocket book. At 15, she started to put in writing the story that might flip into her first novel. Sagna corrected grammar and smoothed some phrasing, she stated, however the uncooked expertise was apparent.

Together, they polished a whole bunch of pages over 4 years. “She became like my daughter,” Sagna stated.

They final talked in August, a number of months after Sow’s father had died. The instructor had anticipated grief.

“She was just so positive,” Sagna stated. “She rarely complains. No one had any idea of what was to come.”

Now Sagna weeps and prays for the younger woman’s return.

“She is the inspiration of so many,” she stated. “She’s the example. I don’t want my students to think, is it worth striving so hard if something like this can happen?”

Borso Tall in Dakar and Rick Noack in Paris contributed to this report.

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