Togo is a small French-speaking country in Africa with over seven million citizens. During the 16th century, Togo became the center for slave trade, earning the title of “The Slave Coast”. And just as with any other country that has experienced any form of colonialism, Togo has suffered the crippling ripple effects of colonialism in a developing country.
After gaining its independence in 1960, Gnassingbé Eyadéma served as president for 38 years, after a successful coup in 1967. After his death in 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbé became president. This form of selfish Monarchy operating in a democratic nation, has subjected Togolese to a dictatorial regime that suffocates any kind of economic or political progress.
Farida Bemba Nabourema, a young social activist has remained fearless in the opposition of the dictatorial regime of the Gnassingbé dynasty. In 2011, she co-founded the “Faure Must Go movement” which has now become the slogan of the struggle in Togo. Farida heavily relies on social media to get the word out about human right activities going on in the country and uses it to seek the international attention required to help promote the struggle, with the hope of getting some reasonable results.
In September 2017, when the anti-government protests in Togo was about to commence, the government shut down internet to stifle protests that might go on online, which would expose the unrest in the country to international communities, as well as fuel any other offline protest.
Farida, during that period spear headed conversations online about the protests and Togolese’s displeasure with the current government. All her fight against this dictatorship rule came with a cost. Farida was bullied for being a woman spear-heading such human right protests, in an attempt to stigmatize her. She was labelled as disturbing the peace of the Togolese government.
She has dedicated her life to fighting the military regime in Togo, Africa’s oldest autocracy. She lost ties with her family, who feared the government would want to get back at Farida for “disturbing their peace” by killing them, so they asked her to mov out, which she did. Since then she has been on exile, living in places not more than a month, out of fear of being traced.
Listen to her speak on : Is your country at risk of becoming a dictatorship