Exploring The World’s Largest Fetish Market In Lomé
Bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north, Togo boasts of several tourist attractions and I should mention that it is also the birthplace of popular footballer Emmanuel Adebayo.
Lome, the capital of Togo located in the Gulf of Guinea, it is not quite a large city, but populated with some familiarity with Lagos, Nigeria, in terms of traffic and trucks plying the road.
Togo is known for its palm-lined beaches and hilltop village and most importantly, the biggest voodoo market in the world, Akodessewa Fetish Market.
Dated back to the 17th Century, Akodessewa Fetish Market is located at Akodessewa, a district of Lomé. Marche des Feticheurs as it is called in French, offers traditional talismans and remedies relating to the voodoo religion.
Voodoo is very much alive in Togo as at least 60% of the people still practice irrespective of the other religion they worship. And this enables the existence of the market.
The fetish market was not busy when I visited the market at 10 pm, but gradually the place became flooded with buyers and sellers.
A market is an open place gives room for sanity and reduces the smell from the dead animal mixed with herbs. However, the stench that welcomes you from the entrance of the market prepares you for what to expect inside. The putrid smell oozing from decayed body parts of different animals stacked together on tables might sicken you and discourage you from going further into the market.
The skulls and other body parts of animals looked like they have been there for ages while some looked freshly processed. Despite the smell, the sellers and buyers looked unbothered as they went about their businesses.
The market is very large with divided stalls and huts which are said to be the fetish priests’ consultation hall. Customers come to the market to consult the fetish priest, seer or psychic and traditional doctors who prescribe items to buy for their rituals.
On the wooden tables in each stall lay the parts of embalmed animals like wolves, dogs, dried snakes (all types), horsetails, porcupine, and many more.
Also hanging from the ceilings of each stall are charms, cowries, folded pieces of clothes, horsetail, dolls and other items used for rituals.
A seller and a fetish priest’s son, Dakko, who attended to me and my tourist friends said the market only supplies items for white magic and not black magic.
He explained that they make fertility charm, and favor charm. However, the one that caught my interest is his love charm. Dakko said people come to the market from every part of the world regardless of race and tribe to buy body parts of dead animals as prescribed by their traditionalist or consult the in-house priest.
The talismans and charms sold in the market are good for treating everything from the flu to cleansing spiritual curses. Items in the market cost from CFA10,000 (N 6,163) and above.