7 Things You Know About Benin

24th July 2020 BY Ivor Moyo

1)Location Benin is a West African country bordering Nigeria to the East, Togo to the
West, Burkina Faso, and Niger to the North and Atlantic Ocean to the
 Benin is named after the body of water on which it lies – the ‘Bight of
o Porto-Novo is the capital city. It was an important port for the slave trade
led by the Portuguese Empire. The last ship of slaves departed from
present day Benin for Brazil in 1885.

2) Historical context i.e Independence
 Benin gained independence on 1st August 1960 from France and became
the Republic of Benin. It was formerly known as Dahomey, a name of the
15th Century kingdom that occupied the territory.
o Benin was the first country in the 1990s to make the transition from a
dictatorship to a multiparty democracy. Today it is one of the most stable
countries in Africa.

3) The People…
 The official language of Benin is French, with several indigenous
languages such as Fon, Bariba, Yoruba and Dendi also commonly spoken.
 Vodun or Voodoo as commonly known outside the country, is practiced by
17% of the population and is recognized as an official religion
o Benin is generally regarded as the birthplace of this religion, and the name
‘Vodun’ itself means ‘spirit’ in the local Fon language.

4) Food or Culture related fact…
 Unlike in most parts of the world, snakes in Benin are revered, particularly
the Royal pythons. They even eat and sleep in people’s homes.
o The Temple of Pythons is a small room of 12 square meters (130 square
feet) that houses 50 adult royal pythons.

5) Natural resources
 Cotton is gold in Benin! It constitutes 80% of the country’s export.
 The country is also famous in the world for carved wood masks.

6) Nature i.e environment related such as national parks and rivers etc
 It is home to “The Venice of Africa” Probably the largest lake village in
Africa built on stilts. With a population of around 20 000 people
o The Tofinu people, who took to the lake to avoid Fon warriors who were
capturing slaves for sale to European traders, created the village around
400 years ago. They named their settlement Ganvié, which means ‘we
survived’ in the local language.

7) Interesting projects such as pure crazy investments:

 Some Beninese are scared of taking pictures. They believe that a picture
steals a part of the soul.