Togo Population

By | May 23, 2021

Alphabetized adults: 63.7% (2018, HDR)

Major religions: Trad. Rel. 50%, Christianity 30%, Islam 20%

Urban population: 42% (2018, HDR)

Life expectancy (female / male): 62/60 years (2018, HDR)

Gender Inequality Index: Rank 140 of 162 (2018, HDR)

Number of births: 4.38 / woman (2017, estimated)

Child mortality (under 5): 73/1000 live births (2018, HDR)

Ethnic structure

The population is made up of more than 40 different ethnic groups. Sometimes very different lifestyles, creeds and languages. As a result of the colonial borders in Togo that were finally established by European governments around 1900, many of these ethnic groups are now divided between two countries. The different developments in southern Togo and northern Togo result in a potential for conflict that both the colonial governments and the independent Togo used for their policies. Togo was spared civil wars and major interethnic conflicts, as in some states in West Africa.

According to militarynous, the people of southern Togo have had contacts and trade relations with Europe and America for over 500 years. Missionaries, merchants and colonial administrators settled in the south, founded schools, promoted handicrafts, trade and infrastructure, while the north was more or less left to its own devices until the 1960’s. It was not until the Eyadéma era that the north, especially its home region, was specifically promoted. Important key positions in politics, the military, business and administration were filled with Kabyé from the Eyadémas ethnic group, which was received critically in other parts of the country. The author Toulabor describes in the article “The dinosaur of Lomé ” the “ethnopolitics” Eyadéma and the staged “Togolité”, the creation myth of the Kabyé. An article by icilomé is devoted to tribalism while the author G. Tété in Letogolais dialectically looks at the correct wrong North-South question.

Special manners are cultivated between some ethnic groups, joke relationships, a kind of ritualized taunts or verbal provocations with ethnic stereotypes, which can help to reduce latent tensions. This form of communication also exists within the family, between sister-in-law and brother-in-law. In the traditional rural milieu there are other institutionalized methods of conflict prevention.

The Afro-Brazilians take a special position a, former slaves from Brazil, who returned to West Africa in the 19th century and who held a privileged position economically. An article describes the Afro-Brazilians in Togo using the example of the Olympio family 1882–1945, whose best-known representative was Sylvanus Olympio, the first president of Togo. Another group, small in number but of economic importance, are the Lebanese who have immigrated over the past 125 years. Indians and Chinese also play an important role in economic life.

Konkomba dancers Togo

Linguistic diversity

A map gives an overview of the distribution of the different languages in Togo and the neighboring countries. The languages of the Adja-Ewé group are spoken by about 45% of the total population as their mother tongue, the languages of the Tem-Kabyé group by about 30% and the Para-Gourma languages ​​by 15%. It should also be mentioned here that many Togolese are bilingual or multilingual. The official language is French, which, according to the Francophonie (2010), is spoken by only around 2,250,000 people, which corresponds to around a third of the total population. The national languages ​​are Ewé and Kabyé.

A very good overview of theAfrican language families and African languages ​​also offer the pages of Wikipedia.

Some of the missionaries (Westermann, Spieth, Mischlich) who came to the country over a hundred years ago turned out to be excellent linguists and so Ewé is one of the best-researched languages in West Africa. Information on Ewé can be found in the World Atlas of Language Structures, which also contains information on several other Togolese languages. Mina (also: Guin / Gen) is the Ewé dialect of the Aného region, which spread very quickly in the markets of southern Togo and became the lingua franca there. A complete Mina grammar (118 pages) is the result of a collaboration between L. Ako and Ph. De Barros. The linguist Zakari Tchagbale published a profile of the Tem. Various information about Kabyé can be found on the blog sur la langue et culture Kabyè.

Children and young people

It is still common in Togo for children and young people to work in the household, in the fields, in the markets or in the workshops. Girls in particular are affected by this, as they often do not even start school. Children from large and poor families are often sent to relatives to work in the fields or in the household. This corresponds to the traditional solidarity community and contains positive aspects. Unfortunately, there are repeated cases of children being exploited and mistreated. The child trafficking, which has made Togo in the headlines again and again in the past, should also be seen against this background. In Lomé, young girls and women sometimes work under the worst conditions. Even physically handicapped children often have to carry a heavy burden, as they are often locked up and neglected are.

Superstition is still widespread and children are sometimes accused of witchcraft and then subjected to brutal exorcism rituals or even killed.

When naming the children, the names of the days of the week on which the children were born are often chosen. This custom is very popular with the Ewé, Kabyé and Tem (here only with the girls). The birth of a child is also accompanied by certain ceremonies. But the modern state also wants a newborn child to be registered at the registry office within 45 days.