Tag Archives | Togo

WHO WAS BEHIND AFRICA’S FIRST COUP?

Why You Should Care: Because French meddling in African affairs has left a lasting, debilitating legacy. “The night may be long but the day comes. And that big day, so much desired, now has arrived …” Sylvanus Olympio, the first president of the independent Republic of Togo, was a gifted orator. This was clearly on display when he led the Togolese in the celebration of their independence in April 1960. He gave a fiery speech with ringing phrases like “masters of our destiny.” Some people did not like his rhetoric, or him, at all. And 33 months later, they struck. OLYMPIO WAS NEVER OUR FRIEND. JACQUES FOCCART, FORMER ADVISER ON AFRICAN POLICY TO THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT The Atlantic Ocean sends its waves crashing onto the beach of the Togolese capital, Lomé, just as it did on the night of Jan. 13, 1963, when President Olympio was either sleeping or working on a speech he was going to deliver to his counterpart in Liberia, William Tubman. His house was separated from the beach only by a single road. Versions of this story differ on details. But the main lines are clear. Olympio, either sleeping or working, is disturbed, shortly after midnight, by a noise […]

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