Ouagadougou is the undisputed capital of the African cinema. Every two year Ouaga hosts the international Fespaco festival end of February or early March. When we came back from our trip in 2013 the festival just started. We did not visit the festival, because we ran out of time and don´t understand French that well to fully enjoy the films. We saw a lot more foreigners in town. Our guesthouse was fully booked. In the lobby of the Azalay we saw people buying their passepartouts.
The biennial pan-African Fespaco film festival began in 1969, when a few African film-makers came together to show their films. Nowadays hundreds of films from Africa and the diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean are showed. Meanwhile Fespaco has become an essential pillar of Burkina Faso’s cultural life. This major African cultural event attracts also guests and celebrities from around the world.
The national museum is located in a huge fenced area with many buildings in African style. When we visited in 2013 the area was still under construction. We could only visist a hall with masks from all over the country. We got an comprehensive explanation of a guide of the museum.
Other interesting items of the museum must be ancestral statues and traditional costumes of Burkina Faso’s major ethnic groups, but we were not able to see them. On our way out we discovered another hall which was open with with woven fabrics from the country.
Opening hours from 9am till 12.30pm and from 3pm till 5.30pm, closed at sunday and monday.
Not far from Ouagadougou is the Mossi village Kokologo. We visited Kokologo in a day trip in combination with the holy crocodile lake Bazoulé. .
The Mossi chief's palace is built in 1942 by the Mossi king, Naba Boulga. It is an impressive example of Sudanse architecture. After Naba Boulga his son Naba Kaongo lived in the palace. When we visited we learned that this king died a few weeks ago. There was not chosen another king yet, so we could not visit the palace inside and had only a look at the outside. Later we somebody told us that the king had to commit suicide, because he fell into disgrace with his people.
We walked around the palace. The palace is surrounded by the huts of the village, built with mudbricks and covered by thatched roofs. We met some villagers, had a small talk and saw a small open air school.
Except the great sculpture park, started in 1989, there happens a lot more in and around Laongo. We talk about the so called Opera Village, the combination of a concerthall, a cultural studycentre, a school, a hospital and accommodation for artists and visitors. This is the dream and brainchild of Christoph Schlingensief, a German opera, theatre and film director, bur also writer and performance artist.
The Government of Burkina Faso has provided 14 acres of land. The dream of Christoph Schlingensief became true in Feburary 2010, when the first stone was laid. In the same year Schlingensief died in an accident in the age of 50 years. His wish was that others would complete his project and dream.
I learned about the Opera Village from my German friend (The_Capricorn at VT), who supported the village already for some time. The Festival au Desert en exile (usually annual in the Timbuktu area in Mali) was supposed to take place in the Opera Village in February 2013. So we decided that this coincidence was a good reason for a visit to Laongo. The Festival was cancelled, but the tickets for the plane allready booked.
The architect of the project is Dièbèdo Francis Kèrè from Burkina Faso. He is doing a great job building the village. I love the designs and the use of local materials. Meanwhile the school is ready and in operation. The hospital was almost finished during our visit. The opera complex has still to be started.
One of the teachers invited us in the classroom. He is an artist and educated the children in painting. The children are from the three surrounding villages. The chiefs of the villages were involved to send 50 preschool children in the aged of 6 to 7, equally divided in boys and girls.
Usually the girls are in the minority at primary schools.
In almost the middle of nowhere you will find a sculpture park. The area has a rich outcrop of granite, varying from grey to pink. The Ministry of Culture got the idea of inviting Burkinabé and international sculptors to meet here and carve the rocks. This remarkable outdoor gallery of rock sculptures started in 1989.
The first year 18 sculptors from 13 countries came to Laongo, for example from Canada, Iran, Mali, UK, Switzerland. Many more events followed the next years with other sculptors from other countries. Take your time to see the 180 sculptures scattered in the natural surroundings of the area.
At the gate you can find suggestions for routes. We took a guided tour. It was well worth to get the detailed information about the sculptures from our guide. The park is open from 8am till 5pm. Admission is 2500 CFA.
Not far from Ouagadougou are some sacred lakes with crocodiles. We visited Bazoulé in a day trip in combination with the Mossi Kings palace in Kokologo 20 km more west. .
At the entrance of the site is a colourfully painted artisanal centre with weavers, wood and bronze workers. Before we visited the crocodiles we took our picknick lunch in the shady garden of the adjacent campement and restaurant.
After lunch we walked with the guide to the lake. The entrance including the guide is 1500 CFA. We decided not to bring a chicken to feed the crocodiles. The AssociationTourism et Development de Bazoule (ATDB) takes care for the site. On the way to the lake are notice boards, colurfully painted about the life of crocodiles. Here the guide gave us an comprehensive explanation. At the lakeside you can come very close to the crocodiles. The guide told that nobody has ever been bitten by a crocodile. We trusted him and could make good pictures of the crocs.
The Government of Burkina Faso has provided 14 acres of land for the realization of the opera village. The dream of Christoph Schlingensief (http://www.schlingensief.com) became true on 08.02.2010, the day of laying of the foundation stone.
The architect of the project is Dièbèdo Francis Kèrè. He is an architect and development activists from Burkina Faso. Thanks to a grant from the Carl Duisberg Society, he moved to Germany, where he studied architecture at the Technical University Berlin.
In Laongo, the municipality of Ziniaré, the opera village adjoins an existing Sculpture Park founded in the beginning of the 90s. Sculptors of all over the world are invited every year to create their art at the site.
The school complex is already in operation, the clinic will be completed soon, the construction of the opera complex will be started soon.
Christoph Maria Schlingensief (born October 24, 1960 in Oberhausen, † 21 August 2010 in Berlin) was a German film director, theater director and stage director, writer and performance artist.
Schlingensief died on 21.10.2010 in the age of 50 years
From where do the children come from ?
The children come from the three surrounding villages Tamissi, Laongo and Ziniaré in
a radius of four kilometers.
The pupils are not yet official signed in. Prerequisite for enrollment was the presentation of a birth certificate and a valid vaccination certificate.
Contrary to the frequent demand, it is not an elitist principle according to which the children get selected. Definitely, the children do not come from a better home and / or are not the children of politicians.
As the demand was slightly larger than the available places, the chiefs of the three communities were asked to send 50 preschool children in the aged of 6 to 7.
The size of the classes is limited to 50 children, so that better learning conditions than in regular classes with an average of 94 children per classroom could be achieved.
In addition, it was also asked to send 25 girls and 25 boys. Girls in regular schools are under-represented in Burkina Faso. The proportions of girls often are even below ten percent.
It was told, that the assistance of the chiefs worked great, and no kid had to be rejected.
The opera village school is operating now with exactly 25 boys and 25 girls per classroom.
In the center of the Mossi village Kokologo King (Naaba) built in 1942 his clay-palace . It is a archetype and masterpiece of clay architecture .
The palace is surrounded by the farmsteads The rural architecture of the 'huts' are mud bricks covered by thatched roofs.
Unfortunately, a audience with the King was not possible as he had to suicide a couple of weeks ago, because he was fall in ungraciousness by his folk. I think, retirement would have met the demands as well, but 'other countries - other customs'
Anyhow, it was worth to go there to stroll a little bit around to take memorable pictures.
This day trip can be also combined with a stopover at the Sacred Crocodiles of Bazoulé wich is not far away.
Crocodiles in the wildlife of Burkina you can see on many other places. We took the opportunity to see the sacred crocodiles in Bazoulé as the place is near to Ouagadougou and can be made easily on a day trip in combination with Kokologo - The King's Palace witch is just 20km far westerly.
Hey, you can come really close to the crocodiles, you can almost touch them. The local gamekeeper told that no one has ever even been bitten by one of them !
So don't hesitate to do a close contact and shoot your best pictures.
At the entrance gate you will find shadowy lounges in a acceptable restaurant. You will find also a souvenir shop close-by
32 km north-east of Ouaga you can find exceptional arts by both Burkinabe and international artists from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, opened in 1989. Artists from all over the world get invited to join the yearly to create a piece of art from their choice of granite boulders that occur naturally in the area.
Take a guided tour to get the details of the significance of the individual works.
OH YES !
Africa can be hot. Ouagadougou can be blistering. To be able to combine a nice swimming pool, great food and ice cold beer - absolute heaven! The great folks at the New Monopole will make sure the only warm thing you will receive here is your welcome. The rest is all cold, hot or cool. The pool is great for families. It has a children’s swimming area and then a full pool for adults. They have a pool-side bar, lots of covered table areas and a very full menu. In fact I was really impressed with the menu. I ordered a beer and an omelette. I was ushered to a nice covered table and my ice cold Burkina beer was brought to me with some nice peanuts. Shortly after my delicious omelette arrived. I had a chance to see some of the other dished going out to other tables, and I can assure you this is an excellent place for a very good lunch. They seem to close around the late afternoon, so come for a swim and a great mid-day feast.
The covered table areas have themes and are named after several 'Tourist' destinations in the country like Nazinga and Laongo.
I did not take great pictures of the pool out of respect for the families swimming there when I visited. This is a great place for anyone. They have changing areas, toilets, nice grounds and a very welcoming atmosphere.
They also cater for business meetings here. Sure beats the office.
I still love their receipts. They say:
* Bar - Restaurant - Piscine (Swimming pool)*
There is not much to see here in Ouaga. 'Musee nationale de Burkina Faso' is where you can see the Burkina history, ' Musee national de musique afrique' is the place where you can learn about african music. 'Place de la Revolution' is another good place. Also ' Place des nations Unies'
Every other year there is the largest African film festival held in Ouaga. Its called the PanAfrican Festival of Cineama and Television in Ouaga. You should speak French to really enjoy it all, but its a wonderful chance to see films that you will probably never see again.
Next Festival is 25 Feb to 5 Mar 2005
If you go to visit the Church you will be able to see the strengh of it on the catholic people
Si vais a visitar la iglesia pdreis comprobar la fuerza que esta tiene entre la poblacion catolica