samedi 18 octobre 2008

African fetish markets

Under the heat of the african sun, in Lomé, Togo, stands one of the weirdest, most fascinating and disturbing places in the world : the Akodésséwa fetish market.

Sellers come from far to offer ritual sculptures, animal bones and body parts, potions and powders to both locals in need of the remedies advised by their healer and tourists in search of curiosities. They can allegedly get anything you want... even human remains, illegally dug out of graves. They will always find something to sell to cure any illness you might have, to make your wife/ves or dog come back, or transform your flacid tralala into a mighty dingdingdong of steel.

It is believed by locals that these sellers make a heavy use of magic to attract customers to their stands, by pronouncing incantations or throwing powders in the air (I have to take a course with these guys !). It is therefore advised to visit a sorcerer before going there, to get protecting potions and not get fooled ! Honestly, don't you think you'd look sooo stupid trying to cure that cancer with a hyenna's leg, when everyone knows it's a girafe's nose you should use ? Hahaha *wipes a tear* !

It is the world's largest place for all your voodoo and african magic needs, but similar ones can also be found in Mali, Benin, Congo, and probably most african countries. Of all the foul-smelling rotting body parts, the most popular are of course the various animal heads (hence the nickname "heads market") and the famous monkey hands. Due to the poverty of people in this region, many have seen those markets as opportunities and became hunters, tragically endangering some species like that crazy little buddy, the Bonobo monkey (98% human, 100% sex machine).

Tourists should not be blamed for this, as most customers are locals buying this as medicine. Actually, it seems that the number of visiting tourists has been decreasing those last years and many tour companies have stopped organising visits of this markets because of the strong reactions of people too sensitive to stand the view of a dead cat's or dog's head for sell...

2 commentaires:

Mary a dit…

While on the "Body parts" subject, Fragonard Museum has re-opened last saturday !! I have to go there (and later travel to Africa to see one of these weird markets ..)

By the way, nice blog !

Quentin a dit…

Yep, I visited it some years ago and it's a must-see, full of freak foetus in jars and disturbing scorched bodies in artistic positions... Really weird and fascinating !
Thanks for the comment :)