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Colorful Scenes From The Ivorian Mardi Gras: Ivorian tribe acts out harrowing scenes harking back to colonial rule as carnival comes to town

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‘Remembering the dark days’
Ivorian tribe acts out harrowing scenes harking back to colonial rule as carnival comes to town

  • The Popo Carnival in Bonoua is the Ivorian’s version of Mardi Gras and runs for a week in the east of Abidjan

  • Popo translates as ‘mask,’ allowing participants to design their own bright and colourful decorations

  • Men from the Aboure tribe present war dances for generations and play out cruel scenes from colonial rule

3307852e00000578-0-image-a-28_1460304215929These scenes depict some of the harrowing experiences the Aboure people had when Ivory Coast was under French Colonial rule

Re-enacting scenes from when the country was under French Colonial rule, these fascinating photographs show Ivorians 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 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.

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Young girls from the Aboure ethnic group attend one of the parades during the Popo Carnival in Bonoua3307791000000578-0-image-a-35_1460304663024Young men from the Aboure ethnic group present a war dance for generations celebrations

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 labor 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 half-naked.

33077c8e00000578-0-image-a-44_1460304868166Faces are somewhat sterner in this photos, as the men from the Aboure perform the war dance complete with weapons

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The carnival of Bonoua is the Ivorian’s version of Mardi Gras running for a week, offering locals the chance to dress for the occasion

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An Ivorian takes part in a parade on the last day of the 35th Popo Carnival in Bonoua, around 40 miles south of Abidjan, Ivory Coast33076d8800000578-0-image-a-49_1460304879637Young girls from the Aboure ethnic group join the line to re-enact some of the culture and tradition of their background

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. Ivory Coast became independent on August 7, 1960.

3307734900000578-0-image-a-50_1460304884081Despite some aspects of the festival remembering some of the harsher aspects of their background, there is still opportunities for those involved to celebrate their culture
33077d3b00000578-3532700-image-a-52_1460305265384The carnival in the Ivory Coast is one of the most well attended events in the country where the young and old can get involved
3306929300000578-3532700-image-a-55_1460305275138The Popo Carnival involves gastronomic competitions, Miss pageants, sports days, a festival of traditional dances and reflection workshops 3306935800000578-3532700-image-a-57_14603052797461These fascinating photographs show Ivorians showing off their culture in the annual Popo Carnival33077e3b00000578-3532700-image-a-58_1460305286462People take pictures of a young girl from the Aboure ethnic group attending a parade
Customs and traditions are celebrated in the carnival, which bursts onto the streets with fire and an array of colour3306934f00000578-3532700-image-a-62_1460305779303This participant is perhaps working up the courage to meet fire as hundred watch the colourful procession330693db00000578-3532700-image-a-64_1460305787522Popo translates as ‘mask,’ allowing participants to design their own bright and colourful decorations to take part in the parades

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The festival originally started off as a showcase of the culture and traditions of the Aboure people, but now it is an important national event that is in its 35th year

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