October 18, 2014

1306 TOGO - Women from the north of the country

Togo, one of the smallest countries in all of Africa, a strip of land between Ghana and Benin, with exit to the  Gulf of Guinea, is a tropical, sub-Saharan nation, highly dependent on agriculture. The largest religious group in country are those with indigenous beliefs. In Togo, there are about 40 different ethnic groups, the most numerous of which are the Ewe and Ouatchis in the south. Also found are Kotokoli or Tem and Tchamba in the center and the Kabye people in the north.

Other Ethnic groups include the Mina,  Mossi, and Aja people. I believe that the women and the children on the postcard are Kabye. The Kabye are primarily known for farming and cultivation of the stony Kara Valley area, but they also live in northern Benin under the name of Lokpa or Lukpa. Kabye profess that the first human being was an androgynous being who descended from the sky, which is said to be male, to the Earth, which is female. Kumberito landed between two small mountain ranges where the Kabre community is currently located. 

 The history says that "the Kabre people probably migrated into this region during the time of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1700-1850." After the slave raids ended, there was a period of peace where the Kabre people developed their agricultural skills. When the German colonized the area, the Kabre people were forced to work on the infrastructure of the country, and they built much of Togo’s roads and railroads. When the Germans lost WWI, they ceded Togoland to France and Britain. The French had the portion that is now known as Togo. The number of native Kabre speakers is estimated at 730,000, with approximately 700,000 speakers living in Togo, 30,000 in Benin and a small number in Ghana.

Kabye (Kabre) People - Trip Down Memory Lane

Sender: Taduvik
Sent from Lome (Togo), on 29.09.2014
Photo: Emile Hazoume & Lionel H.

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