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Photo Samples, West Africa 2

Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin and Togo

 

The coastal region (south) of West Africa is generally a bit more fertile and prosperous than the dry centre of Sahara, however, no less vibrant and colourful. Christianity rather than Islam is the principal belief, but voodoo reigns all over, and the spirits of the ancestors are as alive as anywhere on the planet. In particular Benin and Togo

This section covers the coastal region from Ivory Coast and Ghana to Benin and Togo. For the photos of the central parts (Cape Verde, Gambia, Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso (the former Upper Volta)), see West Africa 1. All photos are, as usual © Claus Qvist Jessen, and none of them are to be used without my written permission.

La Basilica de Notre Dame de La Paix, Yamassoukro, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire) is an almost 100 % copy of the Saint Peter of The Vatican. Built in 1988-91, this monstrous building was made on decree of former president Felix Houphouët-Buignet, one of only 300,000 Catholics in a country with more than 10 mio. people. That didn't prevent Le President from spending all the money of the country to pursue his belief. Already in 1966, he moved the capital from Abijan to his own village Yamassoukro, built a lot of empty shells and connected it all with 8-lanehighways. Even today, only 10,000 people live here. Very African! © Claus Qvist Jessen

View from the top of the balcony; La Basilica de Notre Dame de La Paix, Yamassoukro, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). © Claus Qvist Jessen

     

Nothing was spared when the Ivorian president, Felix Houphouët-Buignet, wanted to expose his splendid La Basilica. The glass decorations are lavish and so is the rest, despite the fact that the money is better used to feed and educate the population. Crazy African dictators never die; Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). © Claus Qvist Jessen

The strange mind of Felix Houphouët-Buignet is illustrated by the surrounding "capital" Yamassoukro. Wide roads, no traffic and lots of bored goats. Worth thinking about next time Africa cries for foreign aid because they can't feed themselves. Sensible spending might be a solution! Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). © Claus Qvist Jessen

A smaller "side palace" of La Basilica de Notre Dame de La Paix, Yamassoukro, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). There is never any shortage of Crazy African dictators. © Claus Qvist Jessen

At least something is done to fight AIDS; Yamassoukro, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). © Claus Qvist Jessen

Local market; Yamassoukro, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). © Claus Qvist Jessen

Short boy selling pineapples; Yamassoukro, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). © Claus Qvist Jessen

Dressed to party; Yamassoukro, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). © Claus Qvist Jessen

Small village in the north; Korhogo region, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). © Claus Qvist Jessen

Carrying laundry to the well; Korhogo region, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). © Claus Qvist Jessen

Doing the laundry - part 1; Korhogo region, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). © Claus Qvist Jessen

Doing the laundry - part 2; Korhogo region, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). © Claus Qvist Jessen

     

Doing the laundry - part 3+4; Korhogo region, Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). © Claus Qvist Jessen

Accra (Ghana) is a sea-port but without any significant harbour. Instead, the beach-front is populated by lots of artists and artisans, such as this drum maker; Accra, Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

 Testing the drum; Accra, Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Have a hair-cut? Accra beach-front, Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Akosombo Dam, supposedly still the largest mud-dam in the world; central Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Fresh-caught sharks; Dixcove, Ghana. Nothing is spared when emptying the sea. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Even the 100 % protected sea turtles are eagerly caught and left to die slowly, before being converted to soup. In particular the killing of the turtles is vicious. Part by part, the limbs are chopped off, then the shield is cut open, and finally the poor turtle is killed. WWF has a poor chance of getting members here. Dixcove, Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

     

Scenes from Dixcove sea-front, southern Ghana. To the left, a 100 kg marlin has been chopped to pieces, and to the right another turtle is waiting to die. Very sad. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Once the life-line of the region, rubber is still collected the traditional way; Dixcove, Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Elmina Town seen from the fort; southern Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Elmina Fort, one of 50 old forts along the 400 kilometre coast-line of Ghana used for collecting, storing and shipping off slaves to the New World. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Elmina Fort from the inside; Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Elmina Fort, Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

From one of the slave dungeons of Elmina Fort, Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Street cooking; Elmina, Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Washing the kid; Elmina, Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Early morning fish market in the twin town of Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Small girl cuddling her doll, Takoradi Market; Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Chili woman; Sekondi-Takoradi Market, Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Fish vendor; Obuasi, Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The local delicacy: Pigs trotters; Obuasi, Ghana. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Happy boy with an equally happy dog; Obuasi Market, Ghana.
© Claus Qvist Jessen

Local village; Northern Benin. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Sexual scene from a manhood ceremony; Central Benin. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The ancient stilt village of Ganvié, southern Benin. All transport is done by canoe - a bit like life on Inle Lake of Burma / Myanmar.
© Claus Qvist Jessen

Local fishing boy; Ganvié, southern Benin. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Small voodoo hut in the supreme voodoo capital of the whole region (and thereby the world!), Abomey, southern Benin (Dahomey). Despite most people being officially either Christians or Muslims, it's hard to find anybody who publically renounces the spirits of the ancestors. In Gambia this traditional belief is called "ju-ju", in Benin "voodoo". © Claus Qvist Jessen

Getting into a trance during a voodoo ceremony seems to be a question of a sufficient alcohol intake, as shown by this woman at a ceremony in Abomey, Benin. © Claus Qvist Jessen

His Holiness Mr. Sossu Goudegouenge, supreme priest of voodoo in all of West Africa. He lives in a small town of Doutou, southern Benin, and has 40 wives who have produced more than 500 kids. Viva la voodoo! © Claus Qvist Jessen

Pumping up the water in a small village in northern Togo. © Claus Qvist Jessen

One of the strangest native people in West Africa is the Tamberma in northern Togo. Each house is built as a big fortress with five or six small houses on top while the animals are kept in a stable below. It's all due to defensive measures. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Smoking woman, Tamberma region, northern Togo. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Once a year, all the locals dress as warriers and spend the whole day dancing. The quality of the dancing is as good as anywhere in the world, and this single experience must rank as THE most colourful experience in all of Africa. Pagouda, northern Togo.
© Claus Qvist Jessen

     

A couple of local dancers; Pagouda, northern Togo. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Here we go! Pagouda, northern Togo. © Claus Qvist Jessen

     

Another couple of colourful dancers from Pagouda, northern Togo.
© Claus Qvist Jessen

"Brazilian samba go home!" The Togolese dancers in Pagouda are the best I've ever seen - anywhere. Pagouda, northern Togo.
© Claus Qvist Jessen

Elderly coffee picker from the highlands of Kpalimé, western Togo. This gentleman is 75 years old but agile as someone is his 30'ies.
© Claus Qvist Jessen

Cooking something - and a lot of it; Kpalimé, western Togo.
© Claus Qvist Jessen

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