The fairground of Abidjan: the nation inside a hotel

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Even on a bleak day during the West African rainy season, the modernist main tower of the Hôtel Ivoîre casts a luminous white reflection across the surface of the Lagoon Ébrié. At another angle, the tower throws a dark shadow over Blokosso, a village that survived the recent civil war unscathed because both sides believed it was protected by magic. The Hôtel Ivoîre is itself a kind of reflection or shadow, albeit in a different sense. Over its fifty year existence, it has been profoundly shaped by some of the most significant events and personalities in the history of Côte d’Ivoîre. Many of the nation’s hopes, dreams, fears, contradictions and conflicts have played out in one way or another in the building that V.S. Naipaul described as the ‘fairground of Abidjan’.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Specialist publicationNew African
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2013


  • Africa
  • conflict and security
  • War
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • political economy


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