The Burning Torch for Protestantism.

West Africa: Togo


Irish missionaries based in Nigeria formed the first Orange lodge in West Africa before the First World War, with a view to promoting among new congregations the true spirit of Christian fellowship.

Inspired by the value of the principles of the order, Late Bro. Atayi, of Lome, with the support of Nigeria, formed the first Orange Lodge of Togo with a warrant dated September, 1915, issued from England.

During the Second World War the Lodge became Dormant. English language at meetings being an obstacle to the membership drive, French and local languages as supplement were adopted.

After several constitutional changes, with the sponsorship of England and Scotland and the approval of the Imperial Council, the Grand Lodge of Togo was inaugurated at Lome in March, 1983 by Wor. Bro. Rev. Martin Smyth, M.P., B.A., B.D.

With the moral and material support of other overseas Orange jurisdictions, Togo is making substantial progress, despite unfriendly attitudes of some of the evangelical Presbyterian clergymen.

Significant events in our jurisdiction include :-

. The surprise 12-hour visit to Togo in 1959 of Imperial Grand Master, the late Lt. Colonel T. Ashmore Kid.
. The visit of Mr. Tony Gray, a famous London-based author and journalist who was here in August 1972 for research work on world Orangeism.
. In 1983 the historic visit of M. Wor. Bro. Rev. Martin Smyth, M.P., B.A., B.D., who despite unbearable climatic conditions was able to complete his 14 day crowded programme.
. The friendly visit by the late Rt. Wor. Bro. W.C. Moody of Northern Ireland in January 1986.
. Sir Knt. Robert Warmsly of Glasgow, who was here in July 1988 on behalf of the Imperial Grand Black Chapter, to assist our RBP in lectures and floor work.

Presently Orange action in Togo is based on :-

. A positive Evangelism programme to which M. Wor. Bro. Rev. Martin Smyth is a financial contributor.
. A carefully balanced training scheme for the youth with the support of Victoria.
. Orange Sisters' philanthropic activities.
. "The Orange Fellowship" comprising all Protestants meeting regularly for prayers, social functions, lectures, video, etc., edits a monthly bulletin.

The generous gift of a literature van by brethren in Northern Ireland is enabling Togo Orangemen to carry out successfully a five-year development programme.

The victory of Protestants at the Boyne being the symbol of civil and religious liberties for all mankind, we thank the Almighty God that we also belong to this religious and patriotic order.

May we, by his grace, keep the true spirit of The Boyne - "No Surrender" so as to "Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

Most Wor. Bro. Emenyo Mawule K. Aboki Essien


Most Wor. Bro. D. Attoh Mensah, Grand Master & Most Wor Bro. E.K. Aboki-Essien, Past Grand Master.


Members of Juvenile L.O.L No.10 The Mercy at a church parade at Aheho in 1989.

Togo Orangewomen at a social gathering after a church parade in Aheho in 1984.

Symbolism of the flag colours.

Red: it is the symbol of the blood which was shed by Togolese people for Independence and of the blood which will be shed by the sons of the Nation in order to protect its integrity and sovereignty against all agressors. Today it ought to be understood as symbolizing of the martyrdom of our countrymen who died for Democracy and Legality, as is epitomized in young Tavio Amorin (1992) and many others. [The latter sentence, I think, must be a personal statement by the author.]

Green: by its freshness, green has been a symbol of hope through ages and civilizations. For a Togo rising from the ashes of colonization, green must convey hope for a better life, dawn of a new era. Today, this hope ought to be more alive than ever! For hope is a positive thought for the construction of the Nation. Green also is a symbol of nature, a symbol of Agriculture, which is basic for development. Like a young shoot, Togo, with its manifold possibilities and its irrepressible vitality, will bloom in full view of the world.

Yellow: it symbolizes the precious value of National Unity and also the maturity of Togolese people envisionning a common destiny. It is a symbol of our subsoil's wealth as well.

White: as in the depths of Africa, the colour white symbolizes Peace, Wisdom, Dignity, Light -- light of clear-sightedness and intelligence. Just as is shown in the solar spectrum, white light is the sum of all shades, and therefore a universe for all political colours and all hearts gathered in a common vigour in acting for Independence.

Let us now consider the five-pointed star:

First of all, it is the symbol of life. This life which is necessary for the development of each single being from the very beginning of his or her existence. So that the Togolese Nation may live forever, this star, through its reign -- the pentameter reign dear to Pythagoras -- will endow the Togolese with the life and strength necessary for their inner development and external blossoming. The white star flying out from the blood shed by our ancestors also symbolizes Liberty, which we gained together with Independence and must safeguard with Labour of our own hands in the service of the Motherland. Such is the meaning of our motto, "Travail, Liberté, Patrie" ("Labour, Liberty, Motherland"), in which the ordering of words is intentional.

Finally, let us consider the symbolism of the stripes and their distribution. There are five stripes. Just like the five fingers, the five stripes of the Togolese flag symbolize Action. Our determination to overcome every obstacle -- poverty, underdevelopment, neocolonialism, internal and tribal struggles -- must assert itself in everyday action. Alternating colours express the diversity of our peoples, whose harmony is only made possible through unity. Like the five fingers of one hand, the Togolese must draw strength for action from national unity and solidarity. This message is more topical than ever! [Another personal comment, I would say.]

As for the proportions of the emblem, Mr. Paul Ahyi has envisaged a "A rectangle of the golden section" worth 1.618 . As you can see, nothing has been left to chance!



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