General News of Tuesday, 26 December 2017
There was political tension in Togo following series of anti-government demonstrations in within the last two months demanding for the immediate step down of the sitting President, Faure Gnassingbe.
However, a visit to Togo revealed the political tension did not deter citizens in the West African Country from jamming in grand style during this year’s Christmas.
Merrymaking on the beaches of the capital, Lome, during Christmas has been an annual affair and this year’s was no exception.
Through my hotel room window, I could spot the Togo Star Beach, The Governor, Dingo’s Beach and many drinking spots lineup on the coast of Lome popularly called the ‘Coco Beach’.
Locals, foreigners and revellers come here to have a feel of the sea breeze while they sip on drinks coupled with mouth-watering local, African and continental dishes.
As the Christmas festive season gets in full swing, spot and eatery operators were seen in the early hours of the day busily preparing to serve their customers with the best of services.
Popular meats on display were chicken, grilled beef, gizzard and kebab; these am told are the delicacy of most patrons here in Lome, though some prefer pork. Tilapia and some West African cuisines were not left out on the menu.
At about 5pm, I took a walk on the beach to have a feel of how Togolese celebrate Christmas. I met Adèle Germaine, who had to wrestle me from a competitor upon my arrival at the ‘Togo Beach Spot’.
She tells me her mum has been in this business for over a decade and laments “sales during this year’s Christmas is unmatched to the previous years” hence the struggle for clients.
Germaine attributed the low sales to ”the economic crisis bedevilling the francophone country” but expressed optimism sales would improve in the coming days especially on “New Year’s Eve and new year day”
Nevertheless, hundreds paraded the Coco Beach for the yuletide. I was, therefore, a bit baffled about why patronage of food was low though there was a great number of people having a jolly Christmas.
My curiosity led to me to interact with one of the drinking spot operators, Micheal. He told me “Togo’s famous beer ‘Pils’ was in high demand” during the yuletide though he also indicated a decrease in sales on Christmas.
Some acrobats also took advantage of the yuletide to make some cash, an adult and a teenage girl were seen displaying their acrobatic skills to the admiration of the ‘jolly crowd’. Their marvellous performances paid off, some patrons handed in some cash to the little girl.
However, the celebrations were done amidst police visibility. Armed security officers known were strategically positioned within every 300 meters distance.