Didier Drogba, Truth Commissioner

Cote d'Ivoire's newly-appointed commission counts 11 members, with footballer Didier Drogba one of them, representing the country's diaspora.

Didier Drogba, 2011 (Wiki Commons).

It is clear that truth and reconciliation commissions are half-successful attempts at inventing half-baked feelings of national identities (turning a blind eye to economic restoration in South Africa; with some self-interested pressure from above in Rwanda). So it is interesting to note that Côte d’Ivoire’s new president Alassane Ouattara reasoned that one of the first things his country needs is a TRC. The newly-appointed commission counts 11 members, with footballer Didier Drogba one of them, representing the country’s diaspora.

“Without being a football player,” he tells BBC Sport, “I’m not sure you would be sitting here talking about my country.”

The “expensively but understatedly dressed” (qué?) player said ‘yes’ when former Ivorian Prime Minister Charles Konan Barry called and explained him he needed Drogba to help him bring peace in the country. Drogba says: “The war that happened a few months ago was crazy. It was unbelievable for all the Ivorians. We couldn’t believe it was happening and we need to sit together and speak about it to make sure it is the first and last time.”

Let’s hope Drogba is right. (Anyway, this may be the beginning of a new career back home for the aging footballer. We do know that part of his football legend is that he brought a momentary peace during the civil war of the early 2000s.)

But taking into account other recent commissions’ track records, we can only wonder why Drogba took the bait. The Ivorian TRC will succeed when it manages to expose and dismantle the grip the concept of being ‘Ivorian’/’autochtonous’ holds on the political debate, and thus on its people. It would be no small feat.

Further Reading

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The film “Africa Mia” (2019), directed by Richard Minier and Edouard Salier, explores the musical connections between Cuba and Mali.

Wyuyata’s story

While Sierra Leone has come very far in its fight against sexual violence the question of safeguarding victims especially children needs urgent attention.

The politics of elegance

German historian Daniel Tödt wrote a history of the Congolese évolués. In this interview, he talks about the historiographical interventions of his book and the role of Patrice Lumumba in the history of évolués.

Bring Patrice Lumumba home

The return of Patrice Lumumba’s remains must not be an occasion for Belgium to congratulate itself, but for a full accounting of the colonial violence that led to the assassination and coverup.

Back from Safari

If you hadn’t noticed, we were on our annual break from just before Christmas 2021 until now. We are back, including with some inspiration.