About Togo

Togo is a West African country with a 32 mile coastline along the Gulf of Guinea. Its neighbours are Ghana, to the west, Burkina Faso, which lies north, and Benin to the East. Togo has a tropical climate.

Find out more about Togo




Ewe French Kabiyé

Official language is French, although there are approximately 44 languages spoken across the country with Ewé and Kabiyé designated as national languages.


8.645 million (2021)


56,785 square kilometres

High Commissioner




Joined Commonwealth

Togo joined the Commonwealth in June 2022 after the country's application was approved by Heads of Government at the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda.

Episode guests

Patron Henekou

Patron Henekou

Poet, Playwright, and Cofounder of Festival International des Lettres et des Arts

Patron Henekou is a poet, playwright and cofounder of Festival International des Lettres et des Arts, an annual literature and arts festival featuring about 20 writers and artists from Africa and elsewhere at Université de Lomé, Togo, where he works as an Assistant Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing.

He has also served as the Director of the University Libraries and Archives from October 2019 to August 2023. His poems have appeared in anthologies such as Palmes pour le Togo (Senegal), Arbolarium (Colombia), and in several poetry journals such as Aquifer (US), Asymptote (US), Zócalo (US), etc. His recent books include Souffles & Faces 2 (Awoudy, 2022), Des cheveux et des ongles (Continents, 2021) and Vendredi soir sur la 13 (AGAU, 2021).

Patron has received several awards and fellowships. He won the second prize in the International Poetry Prize “Sur les traces de Léopold Sédar Senghor 2020” in Milan, Italy. In 2017, he was awarded a US Fulbright Postdoc Scholarship to the University of Nebraska, Lincoln’s creative writing program and was named the African American Fellow (now Langston Hughes Fellow) at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival in Florida in 2018. Recently, Dr. Henekou curated a weekly poetry feature for the US’s National Poetry Month (April) for the news and culture journal, Zócalo Public Square. He is a participant poet in the 32nd International Poetry Festival of Medellín from July 9 to 30, 2022.

When Sorrow-Song Descends on You

by Henino Vinoko Akpalu (b.1878-1974)

I shall sing you a song of sorrow.
When my turn comes, who will sing for me?
There is silence, earthly silence.
This way they said is how the poet dies.
Alas for someone who will bring him over the gulf
and he will come bearing along his voice
Only night shall fall; another day will dawn;
he will sing a song of sorrow.

The skull proclaimed: it is my mouth that sent me.
In the desert the rain beat me
soon the brushfire shall roar Over me.
Folks came asking for song.
Akpalu the poet asked: what song
shall I sing for you?
If I threw a long rope, night will fall.
Let me cut it short.
When you have a short sleeping mat
you do not nod in an easy chair
nor do you sleep on the earthen floor.
We are the owners of song.
Call the poet, call Akpalu from Anyako
he will cut it short, cut it very short for you.

Dalva, Dalva from here

by Patron Henekou

Dalva, your skin is an arena
where tom-toms and masked chants flood:
Kaleta Kaleta!
Kaleta gbo ke ke!
Dalva, there’s nothing between the devil and you, for sure.
Your ocean voice, written as it is in the afoxé ,
dance that the dark sky performs under your skin,
shines in my eyes like a connection,
a nightmare fished out from the oceans by Santana

which neither you nor I have traced on our shores
so far apart and yet so close.
what separates the waves of Salvador de Bahia from
TiBrava ’s anger is not the Atlantic waters
nor the spice which pokes them,
like salt in a wound.
I find you joyous, heart bursting with love,

despite the 500 and more nights buried in our blood,
and in the unexpected memory of the oceans, standing,
lines uncovered by my avid eyes, hungry for words as I retrace my steps
between the flowered rows in Lincoln’s Sunken Gardens.
Yes, in the streets of this town, aware of my minority,
during days peaceful and days deserted,
I chew my fear to the tune of Trouble in Mind.

The Last Photo with my Father

by Anas Atakora

At the threshold of the sitting room
On the only stair that separates the door and the floor
The device snapped

The father, his amaranth red bubu
The son, his navy blue
The earth, its ocher twilight
And two flowers on the right

A door opens into the darkness
To the left

Between my father and me
Physical contact never meant affection

It’s sacred to touch the other
For him
Touch serves three verbs
To pray. To heal. To magnify.

In the last photo with my father
His hand on my back
Was therefore the ultimate