TOGO – TOGO

Prilaz aerodromu-Airport access

Prilaz aerodromu-Airport access

Prostrana plaza uz glavni grad Lome-A spacious beach in the capital Lome

Prostrana plaza uz glavni grad Lome-A spacious beach in the capital Lome

U lokalnom baru-At a local pub

U lokalnom baru-At a local pub

Ulazak u zemlju-Entering the country

Ulazak u zemlju-Entering the country

Usce reke u okean sa kod gradica Aneho-River estuary near the town of Aneho

Usce reke u okean sa kod gradica Aneho-River estuary near the town of Aneho

Vila iz kolonijalnog perioda-A colonial style villa

Vila iz kolonijalnog perioda-A colonial style villa

Evangelisticka crkva u glavnom gradu-An Evangelical church in the capital

Evangelisticka crkva u glavnom gradu-An Evangelical church in the capital

Katedrala Sveto srce u gotskom stilu - Sacre Coeur Cathedral in gothic style

Katedrala Sveto srce u gotskom stilu – Sacre Coeur Cathedral in gothic style

Katedrala Sveto srce u gotskom stilu-Sacre Coeur Cathedral in gothic style

Katedrala Sveto srce u gotskom stilu-Sacre Coeur Cathedral in gothic style

Mobilna telefonija je najvaznija - Cell phones are important

Mobilna telefonija je najvaznija – Cell phones are important

Motoristi-The motobikers of Togo

Motoristi-The motobikers of Togo

Opstinska kuca gradica Aneho-Aneho Town House

Opstinska kuca gradica Aneho-Aneho Town House

Seoski staresina-A village chief

Seoski staresina-A village chief

Vudu ceremonija - Voodoo ceremony

Vudu ceremonija – Voodoo ceremony

Vudu ceremonija-Voodoo ceremony

Vudu ceremonija-Voodoo ceremony

Vudu lutkice-The Voodoo dolls

Vudu lutkice-The Voodoo dolls

Ribarska mreza na obali-A fishing net on the shore

Ribarska mreza na obali-A fishing net on the shore

Togo je najmanja frankofonska afrička zemlja, sabijena kao tanušna glista izmedju Gane i Benina, na obali Beninskog zaliva u zapadnoj Africi. Na jeziku naroda Ewé, koji je najbrojniji, Togo znači obala. Za vreme nemačke okupacije, do kraja Prvog svetskog rata, nazivao se Togolend. Glavni grad Lome nalazi se na obali, uz dugačku gradsku plažu i autonomnu luku preko koje se uspostavlja najvažniji kontakt sa svetom. Ono što mi se najviše dopalo bila je katedrala Svetog srca (Sacré Cœur) u nemačkom gotskom stilu. Malo je poznato da je Oto fon Bizmark poslao svog generalnog konzula i izaslanika za Zapadnu Afriku, poznatog istraživača Gustava Nahtigala, da polovinom XIX veka pripoji Togo i Kamerun velikom nemačkom carstvu, pa otuda i gotska katedrala u tim krajevima. Pojednostavljenih linija, jer drugačije sigurno nije moglo u srcu Afrike, svojom crveno-belom bojom izdvaja se iz tipično pijačnog okruženja lokalnih prodavaca svega što vam ne treba. Ima tu i drugih objekata, u čiju ozbiljnost ne treba sumnjati, ali je svakako lepše uživati u lokalnom koloritu ovog naroda i njegovih običaja.
Velika pijaca u srcu grada pravi je festival boja, mirisa i buke, one gradske, ali i pomešane sa plemenskim ritmovima. Tu se sve kupuje i prodaje: crveni biber, zeleni limun, sušena riba, ali i tradicionalni lekovi afričke farmakopeje. Jedna čudna pijaca na severu grada, međutim, predstavlja pravu afričku tajnu. To je pijaca vradžbina, na čijim se skrovitim tezgama mogu naći razni fetiši, ptičje lobanje i koščice, životinjske kože, praškovi svih vrsta i porekla, lekovi nepoznatih sastava koji bi trebalo ili da vas izleče ili, prema potrebi, još više razbole, osiguraju pobedu nad neprijateljem ili bace u očaj.
Mnogi narodi smešteni su na maloj teritoriji ove zemlje, više od četrdeset, i skoro svi se dobro slažu. Možda je tajna u tome što je više od polovine stanovništva ostalo verno svojim plemenskim religijama i paganskim običajima, a samo manji deo je prihvatio islam ili hrišćanstvo. Možda je i tajna u najdužem stažu afričkog predsednika Gnassingbé Eyadéma, koji je samo trideset osam godina bio na vlasti, a zatim ga nasledio njegov sin. Da ga nije zadesila prerana smrt, sigurno bi dostigao Gadafija u dužini vladavine zemljom. Tajne u Africi su teško dokučive, slabo odgonetljive i nikada uhvatljive, a posebno tajne dugovečnih afričkih predsednika koji se pretvaraju u očeve nacije. Mnogi drugi predsednici sigurno bi sve dali da doznaju tu vradžbinu doživotnog ostajanja na vlasti.
A ona je danas teško prenosiva.

Jul 2008.
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Togo is the smallest Francophone African country, wedged between Ghana and Benin like a thin worm, on the shores of Benin Bay in West Africa. In the language of the Ewé people who are the most numeorus, Togo means ‘coast’. During the German occupation and until the end of the World War I it was called Togoland. The capital city Lomé is on the shore and it boasts a long city beach, an autonomous port through which contact is made with the outside world; and what appealed to me the most was the Sacré Cœur Cathedral in the German Gothic style.
It is not a well known fact that in the mid-19th century Otto von Bismarck sent his general consul and representative for West Africa, a famous explorer Gustav Nachtigal to annex Togo and Cameroon to the Great German Empire, hence a Gothic cathedral in these parts. The architecture of the cathedral is simple, as for sure it was not possible to build it differently in the heart of Africa, but it stands out with its red and white colours from a typical market environment where local vendors sell everything you don’t need. There are other buildings around that may be equally important, but it is certainly nicer to enjoy the local colours of this people and their customs.
The big market in the city centre is a true festival of colour, smell and noise, the urban noise which is also pervaded with tribal rhythms. Everything is sold and bought here: red peppercorn, lime, dried fish, but also traditional African medicines. However, there is one market in the north of the city which is a veritable African secret. This is a magic charms market and on its concealed stalls you can find various fetish objects, bird skulls and bones, animal hide, powders of all kinds of sources, medicines with unknown ingredients which should heal you, or if need be, make you even more sick, or help you prevail against the enemy, or throw you in despair.
More than forty different peoples co-habit this small territory and they mostly get along well with each other. Perhaps part of the secret is the fact that more than half the population has remained faithful to their pagan religions and pagan rites, while only a small proportion have adoped Christianity or Islam. Perhaps the secret is in the longest rule of any African president, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, who was in power for ‘only’ 38 years and then was succeeded by his son. If he did not meet his premature death, he would probably catch up with Gaddafi’s record as a ruler.
The secrets of Africa are difficult to comprehend or decipher, they slip by like illusions – especially the secrets of long standing African presidents who become fathers of the nation. Many other presidents would give all that they have if they could divine this secret of magically staying in power your entire life.
And in today’s world, this secret is more and more difficult to pass on.

July 2008

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