During this Carnival among the action you will find re-enactment of scenes from when the country was under French Colonial rule, Ivorians take great pride in showing off their culture in the annual Popo Carnival.
The carnival in Bonoua is the Ivorian’s version of Mardi Gras and runs for a week in the east of Abidjan. It is one of the most well-attended events in the Ivory Coast.
Derived from at first a celebration of the cultural heritage of the Aboure people, the Popo Carnival involves gastronomic competitions, Miss pageants, sports days, a festival of traditional dances and reflection workshops among other activities.
Popo translates as ‘mask,’ allowing participants to design their own bright and colourful decorations to take part in the parades.
Young men from the Aboure tribe present war dances for generations, while they also re-enact scenes of forced labour in the days of the colonial period.
These performances bring back particularly harrowing memories for many - men cower on the floor as those who play the parts of the taskmasters stand over them with batons and sticks at hand, ready to strike.
The girls and women of the ethnic group also get involved in acting out some of the past, as they walk through the streets colourfully clad.
The Ivory Coast officially became a French colony on March 10, 1893. Slavery was eventually abolished in 1905, but it wasn’t until 1958 that the country became an autonomous republic within the French Community as a result of a referendum.
The Ivory Coast became independent on August 7, 1960.