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AfES Wraps Up With a Celebration of Beninese Culture

14 July 2018. The 2018 Africa Meeting of the Econometric Society wrapped up on a joyful note. During the Saturday evening dinner, performers from “3L IFEDE” and “La Nostalgie” took the stage with a selection of music and dance. ASE’s very own Wilfried Gnanvi took the stage later in the evening with an original song, and then yielded the floor to a hip-hop dance group. Leonard Wantchekon and some ASE student dancers then made a surprise dance appearance!

The following morning, conference-goers were up early for a visit to historical sites in Ouidah. Visitors first stopped at the Python Temple, a sacred place within the Vodun religion. Modern art at the Museum of the Zinsou Foundation was the next attraction, followed by several stops along the “Route des Esclaves,” or “Route of the Slaves.” This route contains the slave-trading stations leading up to the former main slave trading port, located near the Door of No Return.

Although the evening of dancing and the morning of tourism were far too short, the international attendees of the AfES thoroughly enjoyed their glimpse into Benin’s culture and history.

Pictured Above: The Door of No Return was erected in Ouidah in 1995 as a UNESCO initiative to mark the beach where slaves in the Trans-Atlantic trade were transferred to boats.

3L IFEDE opened up the evening with lively drumming.

The Yoruba-Nago Gẹlẹdẹ masks dance of southern Benin.

During the visit to the Zinsou Museum in Ouidah, participants learned about Mami Wata, the water divinity shown in the painting.

A visit to the former slave market, which is known as the “Place Chacha” after the nickname of Félix Francisco de Souza, a Portuguese-Brazilian slave trader.

A series of murals at the Zomachi Memorial illustrate the phases of the slave trade.

This memorial marks a mass-grave of slaves.