This article was translated by John R. Bopp

We’ve come across a small article with two photos about the development of Basque pilota in some towns in Togo, which led us to discover some extremely interesting things.

Let’s start at the beginning.  The website of the Togo 19 association has recently published an article about a group of young pelotariak in the town of Kati.  It’s one of the projects this association, which was founded by the teachers and a Togolese-born student of the Brive la Gaillarde School in Corrèze, Occitaine, France.  The Togo 19 association was created in the year 2000, and has established links with the towns of Wonougba-Seva, Akplolo-Konta, Agou-Yiboé, and Atiyi.

2010 : Nouveau fronton à l’école de Séva. (Togo19)
2010: the new jai alai court at the Seva school (Togo19)

The project to introduce Basque Pelota (automatic translation) in Togo got started in 2009, in action coordinated by the members of Togo 19 and of the Briviste Pilotari Club.  The project is having some interesting effects:

  • There is already Basque pilota activity in three towns in the area: Séva, Wutegblé, and Kati
  • In 2010, 8 children who played the sport attended the world championships held in Pau
  • The first pilota club in Africa is being planned
8 jóvenes togoleses pudieron asistir a los Campeonatos del Mundo de Pelota vasca celebrados en Pau (Togo19)
8 young Togolese got to attend the world championships held in Pau (Togo19)

There’s still a lot to do: you can tell just by looking at the dirt floors of the courts.  But the project is fantastic.  We couldn’t help remembering that entry where we discussed a small film in which you could see the sport being played in a Northern Basque village: Francia 1951: La Pelota es el Deporte Nacional Vasco (vídeo).  We hope these kids will soon be able to play in similar courts.

We’d like to highlight one thing we found especially interesting.  We’re referring to teh name of the club in Occitaine, right in the middle of France: Club Pilotari Briviste.  Our regular readers will know how often we say “the devil is in the details”.  Here again we have one of those “sinful” details in the word “pilotari”, the Basque name for the players of this sport, which shows the enormous respect these club members have for the origin of the game.  That respect is also shown in the colors they use on their website, where the “green-white-red” of the ikurriña dominate, announcing to the world you’re Basque.

All we can do is congratulate the Togo 19 association, Brive la Gaillarde, the students and teachers who participate, the Briviste Pelotari Club, and all those who are making this project happen.  We hope that soon Togo will have courts with appropriate floors, so the players can continue to develop their passion for the sport.

Togo 19 – 8/2/2015 – Togo/Francia

La pelote basque s’étend au Togo

Pelotaris en la población de Kati en Togo (Togo19)
Pelotaris in Kati, Togo (Togo 19)

Après les villages de Séva et de Wutegblé, c’est le village Kati, qui s’est lancé dans la pelote basque. C’est sous l’œil de Christine, de l’association “Espoir Vie Togo”, que s’est déroulée la première compétition.

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