What we’ve learned so far about the Ivory Coast
This month we learned many fascinating things about the culture, history and achievements of both the Ivory Coast as a country, and our local community: Communauté ivoirienne de la Grèce.
We learned that the West African country’s political capital is Yamoussoukro, while its economic capital and largest city is the port city of Abidjan. It is the world’s largest cocoa producer, and is ranked first agricultural country in Africa. It’s the fourth fastest growing country, economically, in the world, and in Ranking FIFA Africa Côte d’Ivoire maintains 11th place. The official language is French, with local indigenous languages also widely used.
Prior to its colonization, Ivory Coast was home to several states, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, and Baoulé. The area became a protectorate of France in 1843, a French colony in 1893, and achieved independence in 1960. The first Ivorian civil war was 2002-7. The 2010 presidential election led to the 2010-11 Ivorian crisis and the second Civil War, severely damaging the country. Since then, Ivory Coast has been organised into 12 districts plus two district-level autonomous cities.
We learned about the country’s traditional dances, how masks play an important role in ceremonies, about the Kingdom of Sanwi, which declared Micheal Jackson their King in 1992, and about the film ‘Black and White in Colour’, which won an 1976 Academy Award. We also learned about Ivorian superstitions, the ‘La Cascade’ waterfall, about popular Ivorian foods Garba and Alloco, and how the most popular music styles are hip hop and reggae. About how Ivory Coast is a secular state, with freedom of religion and peace between faith groups, and about their football team, Les Éléphants, which won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1992 and 2015.
Moussa is the president of the Communauté ivoirienne de la Grèce. The Ivorian community meets regularly with Greek Forum of Refugees to exchange ideas to improve the community, and each year organizes the Ivorian-Greek evening for integration and diversity. The community has been involved with many projects, including winning the first edition of ‘Another Youth World Cup Greece’, organizing a Christmas tree for children, hosting a beach party each year, and taking part in big events such as the Raise Your Voice festival 2018 (Athens).
The Ivorian Culture Month concluded with a fantastic party to celebrate and share many of these aspects of this amazing country.
Photo Credits: Angeliki Stamataki