We’re not used to protesting in Akparé, it’s a calm area of Togo. When the conflict in November resulted in several people being injured, the youth of the city decided to find an alternative, non-violent way to get the government’s attention.
Here, we have a good football field, but we can’t play once night falls because there’s no electricity. It’s extremely frustrating: most young people are unemployed and they have nothing more to do when the sun sets. Accordingly, we decided to organise this game [in the evening of December 24] with headlamps and flashlights to set out the limits of the field. It’s a way of showing just how ridiculous the situation is.
Video uploaded to YouTube by TogoVi, a collective created in 2010 by activists, professional journalists, and citizens.
I’m 30, and yet the only electricity I’ve ever experienced in my city came from generators. When one of us has enough money to purchase a generator, we share it with our families and friends, who use it to recharge their phones and computers, or to warm up. And since we overuse them, they quickly break down.
I’m an activist for the Union for the Republic [editor’s note: Unir, the party of Faure Gnassingbé, Togo’s president] and during the legislative elections of 2013, I supported the party’s candidate, who promised to bring electricity, running water, and better roads to my city. Six months later, we still have none of that. When a father doesn’t provide food or any other distraction, a child feels abandoned. This is how the people of Akparé feel.