In search of Voodoo in Benin and Togo


Pythons, preserved skulls and Voodoo ceremonies drew me from Togo to Benin, the birthplace of Voodoo. These fetish origins of worship predate many religions by 10,000 years and keep a link of ancestry alive in West Africa. The dusty borders between Ghana, Togo, and Benin also serve as marketplaces, offering a range of goods from fresh fruit to plastic ukuleles. Once in Lome, Togo, you can’t miss the fetish market, “Marche’ des Feticheurs”, which offers supplies for Voodoo ceremonies. Unblessed heads of monkeys, dogs, elephants, antelopes, goats, and gorillas, you name it, sat on display and emitted the stench of rotting flesh. A fetish priest, “Voodoonou”, explained that the animals died natural deaths prior to being preserved. Each animal is used for a specific ceremony, such as ground elephant bone to cure elephantiasis. No object possesses power until blessed by a Voodoonou. “Most Voodoo is white magic, to summon the good spirit from our ancestors”, the Voodoonou said. “Good spirit is stronger than bad.”

 

Benin, crossing the border with Togo

Benin, Abomey

Benin, Abomey

Benin, Abomey

Benin, Abomey

Benin, Abomey

Benin, Abomey

Benin, Abomey

Benin - Village of Ave, near Dassa

Benin - Village of Ave, near Dassa

Benin - Village of Ave, near Dassa

Benin - Village of Ave, near Dassa

Benin - Village of Ave, near Dassa

Benin - Village of Ave, near Dassa

Benin - Village of Ave, near Dassa

Benin - Village of Ave, near Dassa

Benin - Village of Ave, near Dassa

Benin - Village of Ave, near Dassa

Benin - Village of Ave, near Dassa

Benin - Village of Ave, near Dassa

Benin - Village of Ave, near Dassa

Benin - Village of Ave, near Dassa

Benin - Village of Adzaka. All the village is dedicated to transform manioca in a paste to be sold

Benin - Village of Adzaka. All the village is dedicated to transform manioca in a paste to be sold

Benin - Village of Adzaka. All the village is dedicated to transform manioca in a paste to be sold

Benin - Village of Adzaka. All the village is dedicated to transform manioca in a paste to be sold

Benin - Village of Adzaka. All the village is dedicated to transform manioca in a paste to be sold

Benin - Village of Adzaka. All the village is dedicated to transform manioca in a paste to be sold

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 - 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 - in the village of Hounkpogon, a local school

Benin - in the village of Hounkpogon, a local school

Benin - in the village of Hounkpogon, a local school

Benin - in the village of Hounkpogon, a local school

Benin - in the village of Hounkpogon, a local school

Benin - Hounkpogon village, writing documents in a public space

Benin, Abomey: Chez Monique restaurant, inside the garden

Benin, Abomey: Chez Monique restaurant, inside the garden

Benin, Abomey: Chez Monique restaurant, inside the garden

Benin - Bohicon, the central market

Benin - Bohicon, the central market

Benin - Bohicon, the central market

Benin - Bohicon, the central market

Benin - Bohicon, the central market

Benin - Bohicon, the central market

Benin - Bohicon, the central market

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 - life in the 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 is taking place the Guelede, the dance of the masks

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

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

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

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

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

Benin - on the road

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

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

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 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 market of 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 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 market of 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 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

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 - Porto Novo, the large traditional herbal market. Traditional herbal medicine has been practiced in Africa since prehistoric times. Collecting herbs in Africa used to be the responsibility of African herbalists and spiritual leaders

Benin - Porto Novo, the large traditional herbal market. Traditional herbal medicine has been practiced in Africa since prehistoric times. Collecting herbs in Africa used to be the responsibility of African herbalists and spiritual leaders

Ouidah, a coastal city. Wooden sculptures

Ouidah, a coastal city. Python Temple in the town of Ouidah. There is and interesting story behind how the temple came to exist. The temple is facing the Ouidah’s basilica and the adoration of pythons started after a war that took place in 1717 when the kingdom of Dahomey still existed

Ouidah, a coastal city. Python Temple in the town of Ouidah. There is and interesting story behind how the temple came to exist. The temple is facing the Ouidah’s basilica and the adoration of pythons started after a war that took place in 1717 when the kingdom of Dahomey still existed

Ouidah, a coastal city. Women resting in the shade in the centre of Ouidah

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

Ouidah, a coastal city. On the ocean

Ouidah, a coastal city. Local crafts

Ouidah, a coastal city. Local crafts

Ouidah, a coastal city. Street life

Ouidah, a coastal city. Street life

Ouidah, a coastal city. Street life

Ouidah, a coastal city. Street life

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 - 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

Benin, Ouidah - villages along the shores of Mono river

Benin, Ouidah - villages along the shores of Mono river

Benin, Ouidah - The Namib rock agama (Agama planiceps) is a species of agamid lizard that is native to granite rocky outcrops

Benin, on the Mono river, in the village of Gbecon, the ceremony of the masks of Zangbeto

Benin, on the Mono river, in the village of Gbecon, the ceremony of the masks of Zangbeto

Benin, on the Mono river, in the village of Gbecon, the ceremony of the masks of Zangbeto

Benin, on the Mono river, in the village of Gbecon, the ceremony of the masks of Zangbeto

Benin, on the Mono river, in the village of Gbecon, the ceremony of the masks of Zangbeto

Benin, on the Mono river, in the village of Gbecon, the ceremony of the masks of Zangbeto

Benin, on the Mono river, in the village of Gbecon, the ceremony of the masks of Zangbeto

Benin, on the Mono river, in the village of Gbecon, the ceremony of the masks of Zangbeto

Benin, on the Mono river, in the village of Gbecon, the ceremony of the masks of Zangbeto

Benin, Ouidah - Local artcrafts

Togo, Lomè: Akodessewa Fetish Market, the Voodoo Superstore of the world

Togo, Lomè: Akodessewa Fetish Market, the Voodoo Superstore of the world

Togo, Lomè: Akodessewa Fetish Market, the Voodoo Superstore of the world

Togo, Lomè: central market in the district of Assivito

Togo, Lomè: central market in the district of Assivito

Togo, Lomè: central market in the district of Assivito

Togo, Lomè: central market in the district of Assivito

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

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

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, Amenoudzi village. Here, a voodoo ceremony called Zapata

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Togo, street life on the way to Amenoudzi village.

Togo, street life on the way to Amenoudzi village.

Togo, street life on the way to Amenoudzi village.

Togo, street life on the way to Amenoudzi village.

Togo, Lomè: retriving the nets on the Lomè beach