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During the last decades of the twentieth century, wealthy villagers could afford tin roofs and some even telephones, while in the cities, large houses, cable television, western dress, and restaurant dining were hallmarks of success. The Fourth Republic provides for a constitution modeled on that of the Fifth French Republic, with the president, the prime minister, and the president of the National Assembly being the three chief posts.
The constitution limits the president to two successive five-year terms, although he has amended the constitution frequently in the past. Leadership and Political Officials. President Gnassingbe Eyadema came to power by force inthough he was implicated in the assassination of the first president, Sylvanus Olympio, and played kingmaker from until coming to power. There were no obvious successors within his party—the Rassemblement du Peuple Togolais RPT —at the end of the twentieth century.
After the national conference, Eyadema made the transition to being a democratically elected leader, though the presidential election was condemned internationally as flawed and fraudulent. A one-party state from untilTogo experienced a renaissance in multiparty politics, though political in-fighting beleaguer the chances of the Committee for Action and Renewal and the Union for Democratic Change UDC.
The leader of the UDC, Gilchrist Olympio, widely considered to have won the presidential election, lives in voluntary exile in Ghana. Social Problems and Control.
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Large-scale social upheaval followed the political violence of — and approximately one-third of the population moved to neighboring countries.
With the political deadlock, relative calm returned. The cancellation of all international aid projects and withdrawal of most nongovernmental organizations, however, put strain on the economy. Unemployment, unsustainable wages, and poverty rose rapidly. Crime increased, particularly violent robberies and car-jackings.
Most educational institutions were on strike throughout much of — Togo has a small army and minimal naval and air forces. Eighty percent of the gendarmerie and 90 percent of the military are of the Kabye ethnic group. Most regularly go unpaid and set up ad hoc roadblocks to extort money. The French and Chinese were the leading suppliers of military hardware to Togo from the latter portion of the twentieth century to the present day. Social Welfare and Change Programs Welfare is almost nonexistent, though pensioners who paid contributions to the Francophone cooperative system continue to receive payments.
Voluntary service organizations, such as Rotary, Lions, and Zonta continue to operate. The Bank of Africa in Togo was constructed during a period of architectural innovation. Customary divisions of labor generally do not still hold in Togo, though men do most heavy construction work. Women perform almost all other manual labor in towns and villages, though less machine work, and control small market commerce.
The Relative Status of Women and Men. Women, though having attained legal equality, remain unequal in all walks of life. Women and men are kept apart in most social gatherings.
Women usually eat after men but before children. Discrimination against women in employment is common practice and widespread. Women have little place in political life and less in government programs, though there is a ministry allocated to women's and family affairs. Only women descended from ruling tribal families, successful businesswomen, or women politicians enjoy privileges equal to that of men, more won than granted.
Togo recently banned the practice of female genital mutilation. Marriage, Family, and Kinship. Traditional systems of social organization are significant in the daily lives of Togolese.Togo Wedding in Germany
Kinship systems provide networks for support and are visible during all major life-cycle ceremonies. Marriage practices vary throughout Togo according to the ethnic group, though organized religions and the State have altered the ceremonies of even the most secluded villages. Social disapproval of ethnic exogamy is lessening, though the government unofficially discourages it. Marriage law follows French legal statutes and requires an appearance before a magistrate for all state apparatuses to be in effect.
Customary marriages, without state sanction, are still widespread. A bride-wealth, but not a dowry, remains important throughout Togo. Polygyny is officially decreasing, though unofficial relationships uphold its role. The basic family structure is extended, although nuclear family units are increasingly commonplace, particularly in urban areas. In most cases, the man is the supreme head of the household in all major decisions. In the absence of the husband, the wife's senior brother holds sway.
The extended family has a redistributive economic base. Inheritance laws follow French legal statutes in the case of a legal marriage.
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In the event of a customary marriage only, customary inheritance laws are enforced. Most ethnic groups in Togo are patrilineal by tradition or have become so as a consequence of colonization. Kinship is largely patrilineal throughout Togo and remains powerful even among Westernized, urban populations. Village and neighborhood chiefs remain integral to local dispute resolution.
Infants are cared for by their mothers and female members of their households, including servants. Among some ethnic groups, infants are often only exposed to the father eight days after birth.
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Vaccination against all childhood diseases has been strongly encouraged by the government. Child Rearing and Education. Until the age of five, children remain at home. Initiation ceremonies occur from this age and throughout adolescence. After the age of five, all children can commence school, providing they can pay the school fees.
On average, boys are three times more likely to complete primary schooling than girls.
This discrepancy increases into secondary schooling and is most marked in the rural central and northern regions. Secondary schooling is more common in the south, and numerous private and public schools offer the French baccalaureate system. Often children are sent abroad during strikes. Togo has one university, located in the capital, and it offers first- and second-level degrees in the arts and sciences, as well as in medicine and law.
Etiquette Public displays of affection are seldom. Men and boys hold hands, but not boys and girls. Courting remains private and is not generally arranged by parents except among some ethnic groups; for example, the Tchamba.
Old people and village elders are highly esteemed, though the climate of political fear has brought the undue influence of youths.
Eating is done most often with the right hand, though among the bourgeoisie flatware is prevalent. When guests arrive, water is offered and the traditional greeting—asking about the family and their health—ensues. Since the inception of the mandate, freedom of religious worship has been protected by law. The French interpreted this to include animistic African religions, and this perhaps partly accounts for the popularity of traditional vodou cults and rituals.
Throughout the country, many different forms of Christianity and Islam are practiced. Roman Catholicism is the most prevalent form of Christianity. Various American Baptist sects, the Assemblies of God, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Eckankar have been making inroads among urban and rural populations alike. Islam is virtually paramount in the north. Religious officials, whether Catholic priests or vodou sofo, are held in the highest esteem in both rural and urban settings.
They are always invited to bless traditional ceremonies as well as building projects or any new initiative. Traditional healers also hold sway, and—in the wake of the AIDS epidemic—are regaining popularity. Death and the Afterlife. A Togolese funeral is a most important event. Wildly extravagant by Western standardsfuneral celebrations are a daily occurrence. Marching bands, choirs, football tournaments, banquets, and stately services are as fundamental as an expensively decorated coffin.
Funerals often take place over a month or more, and families frequently sell or mortgage land or homes to pay for the funeral of a beloved and elderly relative.
If the person dies in an accident, however, or some other sudden tragedy AIDS, for examplethis is considered a "hot death," and the funeral services are concluded more quickly, with little circumstance. Medicine and Health Care Similar to other underdeveloped, tropical nations, Togo's population is challenged by numerous health problems, including parasitic, intestinal, nutritional, venereal, and respiratory diseases. Public health problems are exacerbated by inadequate waste disposal, sewerage, drinking water, and food storage.
In the s, life expectancy at birth was fifty-one years, though this is declining steeply with the onset of AIDS. Malaria, commonly referred to as palu, remains the leading cause of illness and death. Traditional healing methods and preparations continue to be the most widely used form of health Houses like these in Tata village house a large number of Togolese citizens. Frequently medical treatments are coupled with visits to the local vodou house or fetish priest.
The Arts and Humanities There is little government support for the arts in Togo, beyond the rudimentary presence of a Ministry of Culture and the poorly funded and maintained departments of the university. The State of the Physical and Social Sciences There is little government support for the physical and social sciences in Togo, beyond the existence of a Ministry for Scientific Research and Education. Private organizations and nongovernmental organizations provide various services, and a private academy of social sciences was created.
Historical Dictionary of Togo. Les Musulmans au Togo, Three main forms of marriage co-exist in Togo: According to the Togolese Family Code, constructed as a compromise between the law of custom and the French Law, a marriage performed by a traditional chief is validated as legal if reported to the municipal government.
Under this condition, the traditional marriage is as valid as the civil marriage performed by a government official. The Family Code, however, does not validate a marriage performed by a Christian priest as legal Pokanam Couples can perform all three of these forms of marriage either in a relatively short time or throughout the duration of their marriage.
Often, the customary marriage is the first one, followed by either a Christian one, a civil one, or both. The practice of polygamy has persisted over time despite different attempts to eradicate it. However, in urban areas, polygamy has mainly survived because spouses adopt separate living arrangements.
A husband in a polygamous union visits his wives; often, he lives with one wife, and in addition, he has another wife in a different area of the city. In about 34 percent of women between fifteen and forty-nine years of age were in polygamous unions in urban areas and 47 percent in rural areas Anipah et al.
A growing number of young men, even if they have university degrees, are finding it difficult to find employment. They cannot afford to marry and start families. One result is a growing number of pseudofamilies, in which the husband lives with his parents and the wife and children live with the wife's parents. The couple stays in this separate living arrangement hoping for better days when they can afford housing and live together.
Informal unions exist also with women having a status of a mistress. In difficult economic circumstances, a relationship with a man usually married can improve a woman's financial situation and is part of her survival strategy.