« Farotage » : a problematic social practice in some African countries
Political, intellectual, artistic elites and businessmen in Africa and particularly in Ivory Coast and Cameroon (to mention only these two countries) have developed a new fashion of imprisonment of African society called “Farotage”. This is a social practice which consists in distributing cash money during public ceremonies with the purpose of attracting people’s sympathy or gaining reputation. This practice in which African social elites are actively involved is an ideal canal for the redistribution of funds generated through criminal activities such as corruption, theft, fraud, etc. Funds are openly distributed to artists during public performances. By so doing, the distributors here labelled “faroteurs” project on the lower social classes an image of super power men.
Philanthropic behavior can be good if well canalised! Humanitarian actions should be beneficial for those who are really in need. In this case, the source of income is improper and the distribution process is ethically problematic. The way funds are distributed by african “faroteurs” not likely to contribute to the development of the society, because they are invested neither in the construction of longstanding edificies nor in the support of sustainable projects beneficial to a larger community of people. Businessmen involved in “farotage” are generally less regarding regarding the working conditions of their employees. They hardly pay decent salaries to their workers. They are mostly concerned wih their profits, their public image. Therefore, the practice of “farotage” is likely to create a continuous dependence of lower social classes on “big men”. Instate of paying decent salaries to workers and secure their independency, African elites prefere to keep them in the position of dominated beggers. On this specific point, the analysis of Moussa Ka (2006) attached below on the behavior of some Ministers in Cameroon might be very instructive: http://www.bakchich.info/international/2006/12/07/le-farotage-in-49994
Surprisingly, the practice of “farotage” is gaining ground even in religious institutions. Through this phenomenon, priests and pastors accumulate fortune through the permanent impoverishment of poor people who should buy their recognition as members of the church community through open donations. The following video displays the negative effects of “farotage” on the relationship between religious authorities and believers.
Bouba Kaélé (2013) in one of his posts explained that in Ivory Coast, the vicious behavior is no longer practiced only by DJs or artists to get money from “stars”. It has reached all levels including schools, where parents and students often use it as a model during their performances or graduation ceremonies.
Good heart is nice when it is well oriented! We have to learn to work together and pull funds to support our projects not for “Farotage” as it is the case actually. Neither God, nor Western Nations, nor multi-national companies will solve African problems. The solutions are with us and we have to think about it.
Adrien Djomo, PhD