On July 16th, 2021, all staff of Transafrica travelled to Atakpame (Togo) and surroundings. Initiated by the managing team, the trip aimed at discovering the town of Atakpame and its surroundings, paying a visit to the Chief and learn more about Atakpame (history, traditions, culture and people, food….) and visiting the ruins of Kamina wireless transmitter (Kamina Funkstation).
On the itinerary we made a stop to see the Wahala Memorial full of history of World War 1 in the region. In fact, this place marks the first defeat of the Reich army on the continent. Aided by African soldiers known as the Tirailleurs Senegalais the French coming from Dahomey and the British from the Gold Coast overpowered the Germans in Wahala. This Memorial consisting of graves of those who have fallen during that battle is to recall the history of this war in Togo.
After the visit of this memorial, we set for Atakpame. As planned, we first met with the Chief to know more about Atakpame and around.
The Chief’s palace is in Gnagnan area. Once there we were warmly welcomed by the regent Galatchi Kokou, for the Chief himself was late. After the greetings and the purpose of our presence in the palace known, we were allowed to ask questions.
About the origin of the Ifè we learned that they came from Ilé Ifè (Abe Okuta, Nigeria). They then moved to Tétchi, Benin and then to Atakpame. But while being most of the population now, the Ifè were not the first settlers in Atakpame. Idahé, their ancestor, was given the place to settle down by the Akposso.
Talking about chieftaincy, we discovered that there are three Chiefs in Atakpame, and the Paramount Chief is that of Gnagnan, the one we paid a visit to. And in this area of Gnagnan, four families can claim chieftaincy. Which means that succession is a rotating one.
Etézan is the biggest traditional festival during which many traditional dances are being performed to honor their ancestors and gods.
On this note we returned home and arrived around 7 PM. A very pleasant and useful day!
Egbatao, TransAfrica guide