Blog/Blog 2018Saturday May 5th, 2018

Searching for voodoo in Benin and Togo, West Africa

Just a few days ago I got back from West Africa where I led a photo workshop with some fellow photographers trough Togo and Benin, specially Benin, searching for voodoo ceremonies to record on our cameras. But not only voodoo we have experienced during this amazing trip. We stopped in many villages along the road, discovering friendly people, even though not always well favourably inclined to get pictured. Not as bad as other population I met over the world though, but nonetheless still a bit of hard time. I found the village of Ganvie, a beautiful village built on stilts lying in Lake Nokoué, near Cotonou, which is probably the largest lake village in Africa, the worst spot, in terms of taking pictures. Sadly, Ganvie is also one of the most picturesque locations with all those canals and small paddling boats with people all around. Benin and Togo believe in animism, so voodoo is their official religion even though Christianity is taking progressively over. We attended several voodoo ceremonies where some of the initiates, disguised under huge masks made of fabric and straw, were dancing for hours with incredible energy considering the hot and humid temperature outside. Egan , Zagbeto and so on are all gods whose task is to collect all the evils that may harm the village if not well protected. Just a word to say thank you to the italian Tour Operator who organized the trip, “I viaggi di Maurizio Levi”. Likewise a big thank to our local guide, Yaya and our driver, Sam, that with their knowledge allowed us to safely cross places, moments and experiences to take advantage of every single moment. Pictures down below are just a small sample of what we have seen during those days

Benin, crossing the border with Togo

 

Benin, Abomey, selling cheap smuggled gasoline imported from Nigeria is a common view

 

Benin, Abomey

 

Benin – life in the the village of Ganhoua

 

Benin – Village of Ave, near Dassa

 

Benin – Village of Ave, near Dassa

 

Benin – Village of Ave, near Dassa, a manioca mill

 

Benin – Village of Ave, near Dassa – coiffeure

 

Benin – Village of Ave, near Dassa

 

Benin – Village of Adzaka

 

Benin – Village of Minifi, near Dassa. Voodoo ceremony of Egun masks. Egun masks represent the spirits of the deceased and according to the locals they “are” the deceased. The men wearing the masks representing Egun are initiates of the cult.

 

Benin – Village of Minifi, near Dassa. Voodoo ceremony of Egun masks. Egun masks represent the spirits of the deceased and according to the locals they “are” the deceased. The men wearing the masks representing Egun are initiates of the cult.

 

Benin – in the village of Hounkpogon, a local school

 

Benin – in the village of Hounkpogon, a local school

 

Benin – Bohicon, the central market

 

Benin – Bohicon, the central market

 

Benin – Bohicon, the central market

 

Benin – Bohicon, the central market

 

Benin – life in the the village of Ganhoua

 

Benin – in the village of Ganhoua

 

Benin – in the village of Ganhoua is taking place the Guelede, the dance of the masks

 

Benin – in the village of Ganhoua  – a fisherman and his family

 

Benin – the imbarcadero at Calavi, the village where to board the boat to Ganvie, also known as the Venice of Africa, which is a village built on stilts, on Lake Nokoue

 

Benin – the imbarcadero at Calavi, the village where to board the boat to Ganvie, also known as the Venice of Africa, which is a village built on stilts, on Lake Nokoue

 

Benin – the imbarcadero at Calavi, the village where to board the boat to Ganvie, also known as the Venice of Africa, which is a village built on stilts, on Lake Nokoue

 

Benin – The village of Ganvie, also known as the Venice of Africa, is a village built on stilts, on Lake Nokoue

 

Benin – The village of Ganvie, also known as the Venice of Africa, is a village built on stilts, on Lake Nokoue

 

Benin – The village of Ganvie, also known as the Venice of Africa, is a village built on stilts, on Lake Nokoue

 

Ouidah, a coastal city. Inside the Ouidah’s christian basilica

 

Ouidah, a coastal city. Here some images taken in a nearby village

 

Ouidah, a coastal city. On the ocean

 

Benin, Ouidah – near the city is held, in a local premises, a cerimony of the Celestial Church of Christ. This is an African Initiated Church founded by Samuel Bilewu Joseph Oshoffa on 29 September 1947 in Porto-Novo, Benin. It is mainly located in Africa and in the Afro-descendant communities in the world, particularly in Benin and Nigeria

 

Benin, Ouidah – near the city is held, in a local premises, a cerimony of the Celestial Church of Christ. This is an African Initiated Church founded by Samuel Bilewu Joseph Oshoffa on 29 September 1947 in Porto-Novo, Benin. It is mainly located in Africa and in the Afro-descendant communities in the world, particularly in Benin and Nigeria

 

Benin, Ouidah – villages along the shores of Mono river

 

Benin, Ouidah – villages along the shores of Mono river

 

Togo, the village of Aneho where all the big fishing boats going to the ocean, are moored

 

Togo, Amenoudzi village. Here, a voodoo ceremony called Zapata

 

Togo, street life on the way to Amenoudzi village.

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