DAKAR, Senegal — For nearly a month, folks around the arena have waited to hear Diary Sow speak.
Typed statements on her behalf from diplomats and government figures have roused doubts on social media: Was the Senegalese student in actuality back after vanishing from her elite preparatory college in Paris? Or did any person else write the phrases proclaiming her safe return?
Early Monday, followers of this four-week saga — the international investigation, the search parties, the family pleading for answers — acquired their wish: Sow, 20, recorded a three-minute video for her some 32,000 Instagram followers.
She was promoting her new fresh about a girl who ran away.
“I climbed and climbed, by no means complaining about my fate,” Sow says in the clip, speaking as her protagonist, “nonetheless my heart beat tragically to the rhythm of the great clock. I hurried to stay, in fear of my life passing me by.”
The advertisement — a “book trailer,” according to the caption — prompted another Internet firestorm around the younger woman who was twice topped the stop student in this West African nation.
Her disappearance drew global interest. Sow had gained a scholarship to attend the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, a launchpad to France’s top science and engineering faculties. Senegal’s president had called her a “rising star.”
Then she went missing on Jan. 4, sparking fears that she had been kidnapped or killed. French police scoured the streets. Her mother, Binta Sow, wept at her childhood residence in the village of Malicounda as a politician led prayers. Other folks made T-shirts featuring her face.
“I don’t know what to think of you,” any person wrote Monday on Sow’s post. “I am both disappointed and happy. I’m waiting for an explanation.”
Added another: “Girl, first expose us what happened.”
For the most part, although, joy and heart emoji flooded the comments: “Diary is here!”
Sow supplied no clarity about her skills. (Two family pals confirmed that the Instagram account belongs to her. Sow did no longer answer to messages from The Washington Put up.)
The book, her 2d in as many years, is about “a teenage girl with a painful past,” the caption said. The character flees residence “in hopes of rebuilding herself and living the life she has always dreamed of.” She is a “nation girl” who transforms into “a siren of the Parisian catwalks,” Sow wrote.
The title: “And the Masks Fall.”
Sow’s mother and her frail teacher Mame Coumba Diouf Sagna advised The Put up in old interviews that Sow had carried out her 2d fresh earlier than falling out of contact. (Her mother declined an interview Monday.)
“We spoke Thursday evening, and as soon as I said ‘Hi there,’ she said, ‘I’m sorry,’ ” Sagna, who taught Sow in elementary college, said Monday. “I nick her fast, saying she did what she wanted to achieve. While you are feeling such as you’re ready to arrive back, arrive back, and we are able to pay attention to you.”
Anguish gave way to confusion on Jan. 21 when Serigne Mbaye Thiam, a Senegalese political minister, announced on Twitter that Sow was alive and successfully.
Thiam, her mentor and godfather, according to her family, shared a letter he said came from Sow.
“The girl you know wouldn’t have missed a day of faculty for anything,” Sow wrote, according to Thiam’s tweets. “Stress? No. Stress has by no means been a drag for me. On the contrary. I am no longer the victim of any kind of stress from anyone around me.”
She left on her personal, desiring finest a break, the tweets said.
“I would ask you to reassure the folk who are looking for me,” Sow wrote, according to Thiam. “I’m fine, I’m safe. Know that I am terribly, deeply sorry.”
The subsequent day, the Senegalese Consulate in Paris confirmed that Sow was safe.
“Senegalese diplomatic and consular authorities in France thank the French government for its ambiance friendly assistance, as successfully as your complete Senegalese community in France, in particular its students, for his or her mobilization,” the consulate said in a statement.
Sow quietly returned to Senegal last week, her frail teacher said. She had stayed beneath the radar earlier than Monday’s Instagram post.
At Harmattan Senegal, a bookstore and publishing condominium in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, Sow’s first fresh — “Under the Face of an Angel” — sat on display.
The story is fictional, the younger author advised an audience last year at a book signing. “But I employ phrases to particular myself to the arena,” she said at the time.
On Monday, the retailer’s director, Abdoulaye Diallo, sighed as he stood between rows of books.
He had proofread Sow’s literary debut. Her disappearance gutted him.
“My first convey was appreciate that of a parent: I proper wanted her to arrive back alive,” he said. “Past that, I can’t say noteworthy.”
One in every of his possibilities, an African literature professor, watched Sow’s video nearby with a straight face.
“There have been rumors that she wanted to create a buzz around her first fresh,” Serigne Seye said of her day off the map. “I think if she publishes this book now, folks will say her runaway was a business undertaking.”
The professor conception of his youthful years. Earlier than finding a job in academia, stress drove him to forestall studying for 2 years in favor of focusing on hip-hop.
That rap career didn’t work out, Seye said, nonetheless he came upon his path on his personal phrases.
“There have been so many expectations placed on this younger woman,” Seye said. “In my opinion, she suffered. I’d expose her that it’s okay to take the time to find yourself.”