Togo

Togo

Facts & figures

  • Full name: Togolese Republic
  • Population: 6.3 million (UN, 2012)
  • Capital: Lome
  • Area: 56,785 sq km (21,925 sq miles)
  • Major languages: French (official), local languages
  • Major religions: Indigenous beliefs, Christianity, Islam
  • Life expectancy: 56 years (men), 59 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc = 100 centimes
  • Main exports: Cocoa, phosphates, coffee, cotton
  • GNI per capita: US $570 (World Bank, 2011)
  • Internet domain: .tg
  •  International dialling code: +228




Map

 

Leader

Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema succeeded his father when died in 2005, having ruled the country with an iron fist for 38 years.




Travel


Visa & travel advice

  • Best period:

It is best to visit Togo during its cooler months (though it is always pretty hot): April to July and September to November.

  • Safety:

Foreigners traveling to Togo have no reason to be afraid of theft or attack, but you must use common sense. Togolese people often advise tourists against areas they think might be dangerous, such as the beach in Lomé. Listen to the locals and avoid walking alone at night.

 

Each applicant must provide two completed visa application forms accompanied by two passport-size color photographs (one per form).

For each visa application for a child under the age of 18, the Parental Permission (Autorisation Parentale) form (located in the Miscellaneous Forms Section of this website) must be complete by both of the child's parents. No application for a child will be completed without this form.

The completed forms and photographs may be brought directly to the Embassy or may be forwarded by mail. They must be accompanied by the applicant(s) passport(s).

A visa fee of $140.00 per visa must also be enclosed.

The $140.00 fee can be paid with a money order or certified check. Personal checks will not be accepted.

If the applicant seeks to process the application via the mail, a pre-paid, self-addressed return mail envelope must be provided. This might be USPS, FEDEX or UPS.

The duration of a visa is 90 days. If the traveler wishes to extend, his or her stay beyond 90 days, the traveler must contact the Ministry of Interior in Togo before the visa expires.

History

The Voltaic peoples and the Kwa were the earliest known inhabitants. The Ewe followed in the 14th century and the Ane in the 18th century. The Danish claimed the land in the 18th century, but by 1884 it was established as a German colony (Togoland). The area was split between the British and the French under League of Nations mandates after World War I and subsequently administered as UN trusteeships. The British portion voted for incorporation with Ghana. The French portion became Togo, which declared its independence on April 27, 1960.

Togo's first democratically elected president, Sylvano Olympius, was overthrown in 1963. He was shot and killed by Sgt. Etienne Eyadema while he attempted to scale the walls of the American Embassy to seek asylum. The government of Nicolas Grunitzky was overthrown in a bloodless coup on Jan. 13, 1967, led by Lt. Col. Etienne Eyadema (now called Gen. Gnassingbé Eyadema). A National Reconciliation Committee was set up to rule the country, but in April, Eyadema dissolved the committee and took over as president. He suspended the constitution, banned political parties, and created a cult of personality around his presidency; his official biography describes him as a “force of nature.” Under pressure from the West, Eyadema legalized opposition parties in 1993, but the first multiparty presidential election in Aug. 1993 (which gave Eyadema more than 96% of the vote) was considered fraudulent, as was his 1998 reelection. In Feb. 2005, Eyadema died—he had been Africa's longest-serving ruler (38 years). A day after his death, the military installed his son, Faure Gnassingbe, to serve out his term. Gnassingbe took office on Feb. 7 amid strong international condemnation. Under internal and external pressure, Gnassingbe stepped down later that month and agreed to elections on April 24. Violent protests surrounded the elections, and these protests grew when the results were announced: Gnassingbe won 60% of the vote while main opposition candidate Bob Akitani received 38%. On May 4, Gnassingbe was sworn into office. In June, Gnassingbe appointed opposition leader Edem Kodjo as prime minister.


Arts & Culture

  • Music

 The music of Togo has produced a number of internationally known popular entertainers including Bella Bellow, Akofah Akussah, Afia Mala, Itadi Bonney, Wellborn, King Mensah and Jimi Hope.

The Togolese national anthem is Salut à toi, pays de nos aïeux (Land of our forefathers), written by Alex Casimir-Dosseh. From 1979 to 1992 it was replaced by an anthem composed by the party of the Rally of the Togolese People. French is the official and commercial language of Togo.

Togo's southern plain is its most populous area, where the capital, Lomé, is situated on the Gulf of Guinea but, like its neighbours, Ghana and Benin, its territory extends hundreds of miles northward, passing through a central hill region into the northern savanna that borders Burkina Faso. Its population of over 6 million people, which is 65% rural and agrarian, is composed of about 21 ethnic groups. Approximately 51% of the population has indigenous beliefs, 29% is Christian, and 20% Muslim.

Internationally known performer King Mensah, a former performer at the Ki-Yi M'Bock Theatre in Abidjan, toured Europe and Japan before opening his own show in French Guiana and then moving to Paris and forming a band called Favaneva. Peter Solo The man of Vodoo Game Music from Togo The idea of integrating these haunting lines, sung in honor of the Divinities, to an energetic 70's Afro-funk was an obvious extension in Peter's mind of the analogy he found between this voodoo tradition and trance inducers such as Blues, Funk, as well as the Rhythm'n Blues of James Brown, Otis Redding and Wilson Picket.Peter heard this new sound coming through him and named it Vodoo Game.

  • Literature: 

The literary history of the country reflects this period of uncertainty and arbitrary geographical division, as witnessed by Félix Couchoro, an excellent author from Dahomey-Togo-Benin, who was amongst the very first African authors of the Continent. He has published several novels since 1929, however his decision to write in French did not mean he was "a Francophile". At odds with the French intelligentsia, he became one of the first authors to be conveniently "forgotten" by French Africanists until recently. Apart from Félix Couchoro, the first literary texts from Togo date from the early 1950s. Le Fils du fétiche [The Son of the Fetish] by David Ananou, published in 1955, is often considered to be one of Togo's first novels. Several novelists and poets have contributed to the expansion of Togolese literature in subsequent years : Victor Aladji, Gnoussira Analla, Julien Atsou Guenou, Koffi Mawuli Agokla, Towaly and Tété Michel Kpomassié who tells of the time he spent with the Inuit in his autobiography L'Africain du Groenland. Yves-Emmanuel Dogbé also deserves credit for his work both as an author and founder of the publishing house "Akpagnon", that has fostered Togolese literature since the 1960s. The early writings for theatre in French also began in the 1950s. In 1956 Anoumou Pedro Santos published the play Fasi which was awarded a prize in Dakar the following year. The playwrights Modest D'Almeida, Gilbert Laclé and Henri Ajavon began writing soon after Independence. Since then, several plays have been written chiefly by Senouvo Agbota Zinsou, Kossi Efoui and Koffi Gomez, the latter being in charge of the theatre company Renaissance in Lomé.

So far, only a small number of Togolese women writers have been published, but their contribution is both varied and interesting.

  • Film industry:

The first mentioning of film related activity in Togo dates back to 1913-1914 when a young German actress, Meg Gehrts and a German producer, Max Schomburgk, visited Togoland, in those days a German colony. They produced three documentaries with Gehrts as the main lead. 

Togo has hardly seen any cinematic developments during the 20s up until the 70s. The first all Togo film was "Kouami" (1975) a 30 minute short by Metonou Do Kokou. During the eighties and nineties several shorts were produced, mostly co-productions with Germany and France. 
The only local filmmaker with international repute is Anne Laure Folly. She directed several documentaries; "The Guardian of the Forces" (1991); "Femmes du Niger" (Women of Niger),1993; "Deposez les armes"(1999); "Femmes aux yeux ouverts" (Women With Open Eyes) (1994) an award winning documentary and "The Forgotten" (1997). Her picture about Sarah Madoror (1998) was screened at the Milan festival in 1999. That same year at the same festival Folly Koffi Gaba's "Aneho Ville Musee" (1998) was screened. 

Togo has a long way to go in developing a viable film industry. Like in most African countries the governmental restrictions, lack of funds and strong video competition will frustrate all efforts in creating local films.

  • Famous places:

The only reason we stopped in Niamtougou was the market. It is a huge market selling everything from food through to household goods. It is a sprawling affair alongside the main road and down off one of the side roads. The order of the day it to negotiate a price if you want to buy something.

Taberma Valley:

This area, known as Koutammakou, is home to the Taberma ethnic group, whose name means good builder. There are 37 different ethnic groups in Togo, of which the Taberma are one minority who live in the north of Togo and neighbouring Benin.

 

lake togo

A short day out from Lomé takes you to Lake Togo, about 30 km.In a superb setting you can sit and eat at the Auberge du Lac and really watch the world go by( or perhaps a few fishermen). Even better late afternoon to sip a cold beer and watch the sun go down

 

  • Architecture history:

The city of Lomé and the coastal region are deeply influenced by the architectural programs of the successive colonial regimes. Vestiges of the German administrative buildings, several cathedrals and many churches, as well as private houses can be found throughout the country, though German influence was less pervasive in the north. The British period featured no architectural innovation, but more than forty years of French administration left its mark, most prominently in the work of Georges Coustereau. The works of this Frenchman are to be found throughout the country and include the national independence monument and an unusual church in the small town of Kpele-Ele.


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