Afternoon Afrobeat (#13): "Le Flambeau" by Elom 20ce

Elom 20ce. Image via T.I.A
Earlier today I posted about the recent protests in Togo over changes in government legislation. So to go along with today's Togo theme, I decided to bring you some politically conscious Togolese hip-hop.

Hip-Hop and Political Action
Youth have a way of relating to hip-hop music, and really just music in general. But perhaps it is artists like this one, Elom 20ce, and his politically-infused songs that have struck a chord with Togo's youth.

The threat that music poses to the top-down power of governments such as the one in Togo is evident. Collectif Sauvons le Togo released an opening statement at a press conference on August 16 in which one of their demands, besides withdrawing the recently made reforms, was the restitution of musical instruments and sound equipment that the authorities took from them during some of their June and July protests.

Togo's 'Arctiviste'
Although government censorship in Togo is minimal, the music industry censors itself by choosing not to play songs and artists with politically-infused messages. But that doesn't mean that political music is down and out in Togo.

Elom 20ce is one of the few Togolese artists whose songs have implicit political messages. Born in Togo, but currently living in France (at least from what I can tell), Elom 20ce describes himself as an "Arctiviste" - a mix between an artist and an activist. He raps in French so that his message can reach a wider audience and his messages are usually hidden beneath many metaphors, making it hard for those who don’t know Togo’s politics and society to catch his message.

The song posted below, 'Le Flambeau', is not necessarily a song about Togolese politics, but it does have a very political message about world politics that I really appreciate. 

If you like what you hear (which I'm sure you will), be sure to keep updated by liking his Facebook, following him on Twitter, and by checking out his Bandcamp and new website.

Some of the lyrics (and my English translation of them) include: 

"Les multinationales désignent les dirigeants occidentaux 
Qui à leur tour désignent nos Chefs d’Etat. 
Les coups d’état, bourrages d’urne, tout cela est calculé. 
Bush était à la Blanche Maison aidé par les armuriers et les pétroliers...."

Multinational corporations designate Western leaders
Which in turn means they designate our Head of State.
The coupes d’états, ballot box stuffing, this is all calculated.
Bush was helped into the White house buy the weapon and oil industry…

"Le 11 Septembre n’était qu’un alibi, 
Pour mener une Politique élaboré depuis long time. 
La C.I.A n’a –t – elle pas entrainé les Talibans ? 
Armé les Moudjahidines et fourni des armes bactériologique à l’Irak 
Pendant la guerre qui l’opposait à l’Iran?..."

September 11 was nothing but an alibi,
To conduct a policy developed for a long time.
Wasn’t it the CIA who trained the Taliban?
Armed the Mujahedeen and provided biological weapons to Iraq
While it was at war with Iran?

"Puisque la raison des enjeux géostratégiques est meilleure 
Que celle des libertés publiques, 
Alors génocide au Darfour, crise ivoirienne et Assassinats commandités depuis Moscou. 
Entre le серп и молот (la faucille et le marteau), 
La croix gammée a trouvé place 
Et пролетарии всех стран (les prolétaires de tous les pays) 
Désunis comme les Etats de la Terre mère."

Since geostrategic reasons are better
Than civil liberties
There is genocide in Darfur, Ivoirian crisis, killings in Moscow.
Between the hammer and the sickle,
The swastika has found a place
And the proletariat of all the countries
Are disunited states on mother Earth. 


  1. Anonymous7.12.12


    Kindly check the video of this track.




  2. klayve10.12.12

    like it!!


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