Trial: chocolate bitters

Trial: chocolate bitter


Chocolate is an all-purpose gift. I don't know anyone who doesn't like it. “But are we aware of the misery that “cacaomania” inflicts on Africa, which provides about two-thirds of the world’s chocolate production? asks Samy Manga. The author, of Cameroonian origin, educates us on the subject in just over a hundred pages. After reading this, you'll never see candy, sweet or not, the same way again. 

Through the story of Abéna, a ten-year-old Cameroonian, we discover the hard work of cultivating the precious bean, which annually brings in billions of dollars to the “green gold” industry, obviously established in “white countries”. From Abena's grandfather to the young Cameroonian, all aspects of their daily lives are steeped in the production stages of cocoa farming. Hundreds of hectares of forest are cleared, whole mountains of grass are burned, thousands of holes are dug at the start of each new agricultural season to sow the germinating cocoa beans. These beans had to be pampered with chemicals beforehand to guarantee their growth, with the consequences that one can imagine for these agricultural workers: epidermal diseases, respiratory infections, food poisoning, blindness problems, deaths clearly attributed to the repetitive handling of the products. chemicals, etc.

Up to torture

The village chiefs, teamed up with the white bosses who supply various hardware stores and other chemical products, have always denied the cause and effect relationship, preferring to blame the victims, who are supposedly responsible for their own misfortunes. In cases of poisoning, the village chiefs do not hesitate to torture the victims so that they confess their responsibility publicly. 

“To make these so-called witches speak quickly, beaten until they bled, after which they were given a taste of the penitential symbolism of Christ by hanging heavy wooden crosses around their necks. »

The young Abéna, who helplessly attended these public lynching sessions, took part in all the other stages of the production “before spending long weeks going back and forth between the large courtyard dryer and the attic, depending on when the sun appeared or disappeared over the days. “Until the day when the buyer finally shows up, “the white man with the silver briefcase”, the one who made all these planters of “the bean of sweat and blood” dream of unattainable happiness. < /p>

This is the brief interlude where the little hard-earned money is quickly spent on miscellaneous necessities. For the realization of dreams, we will have to wait.

The price of cocoa imposed

From the month of January, the infernal cycle of survival resumes. Meanwhile, wealthy white buyers were showing up to distribute new equipment, including fungicides and fertilizers, the costs of which will be subtracted from future income. 

“These gentlemen in suits and ties had the exclusive power to buy crops and set cocoa prices […], so it was impossible to escape them to try not to pay your debt. Not to mention the various vexations and other manipulations on the real weight and quality of the bean. Any dissent was worth an exclusion. It was then impossible to sell the production. 

These same white saviors did not hate, on occasion, to pay for young flesh. Their desires were orders.

Only the struggle frees

Chocolaté is a wonderful book, filled with legends and love. 

In the epigraph of this work, we can read this well-felt sentence of Thomas Sankara, revolutionary and president of Burkina Faso assassinated in 1987: “The slave who is not able to assume his revolt does not deserve that we feel sorry for our fate. This slave will answer for his misfortune alone if he has any illusions about the suspicious condescension of a master who claims to free him. Only struggle liberates. This also applies to Quebec.