Black History Month 2012: Le Vieux’s Ghost Town Capital

Félix Houphouët-Boigny built the largest church in the world in the middle of nowhere

Côte d’Ivoire

African-Americans are still recovering from the shocking news that a DNA test has confirmed that King Tut was of European ancestry.

As we celebrate Black History Month 2012, I have already drawn attention to His Imperial Majesty Bokassa I’s coronation as the first and last emperor of the Central African Empire in 1977.

The loss of Egyptian civilization to Caucasians is a huge psychological blow to the African-American ego, but fortunately there are indisputable modern examples of black greatness around like Jean-Bédel Bokassa’s coronation which more than compensate for the loss of the ancient black pharoahs and pyramid builders like Tutankhamun.

Few White Americans are aware that modern Africans have already surpassed the architectural glories of Ancient Egypt. In the last fifty years of independence, these African leaders have built monuments to black civilization even greater than the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Parthenon, or the Roman Colosseum.

From 1985 to 1989, President Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Côte d’Ivoire, or “Le Vieux” (The Old Man) as he is known in West Africa, transformed his sparsely populated home village of Yamoussoukro into the national capital and spent $300 million dollars to build the largest church in Christendom there.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro has a striking resemblance to Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Designed by the Lebanese architect Pierre Fakhoury, Our Lady of Peace is constructed entirely out of imported Italian marble and contains 7,000 square meters of hand made stained glass from France and 7,000 Italian-built, air conditioned pews. It can accommodate 18,000 worshippers inside the basilica and another 180,000 in the exterior courtyard.

It costs $1.5 million dollars annually to maintain the building in a country where only 37.5 percent of the population is Christian. Around 350 people attend mass every Sunday in Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro. The Catholic basilica is flanked by enormous deserted parking lots.

In addition to Our Lady of Peace, Houphouët-Boigny built a presidential palace in Yamoussoukro which like Gbadolite in the Democratic Republic of Congo was one of two locations in sub-Saharan Africa that could accommodate his Concorde jet. Two gold plated rams were placed at the entrance of the palace. There was a 12 foot moat for sacred crocodiles and a sacred elephant was kept on hand to wander within the walls.

The Houphouet-Boigny Foundation opened in 1989 with the mission to further peace in the world. The several floors of office space in the cavernous convention center are still almost entirely empty. The marble entrance gives access to an auditorium that can accommodate 2,000 people.

In order to travel to Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, you have to take one of several eight lane highways through town which are deserted of motorists. The jungle is encroaching upon the roads which is already giving it the desired effect of ancient ruined splendor. The streets in Yamoussoukro are reportedly full of potholes and the shopping malls are atrocious.

In spite of this, $3.6 billion dollars is being spent in Yamoussoukro to complete Houphouët-Boigny’s dream and build the National Assembly, 40 government ministry buildings, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, another presidential palace, the national television and radio headquarters and a new national senate there by 2013.

The saddest thing about Le Vieux’s extravagance is that he literally towers over his African contemporaries. Under Félix Houphouët-Boigny’s thirty three year reign, Côte d’Ivoire was the most promising country in sub-Saharan Africa. In the first two decades of independence, the economy grew by over 7 percent a year. Côte d’Ivoire was one of the fastest growing countries in the world.

Unlike his black nationalist contemporaries like Kwame Nkrumah, Félix Houphouët-Boigny was pro-Western, pro-White, pro-capitalist, and fiercely anti-communist. His policy of Françafrique embraced French colonialism as a positive good for West Africa. He relied on French foreign aid, French personnel and advisers, French military protection, and French investment to nurture and grow the Côte d’Ivoire economy while maintaining a dismissive attitude toward politics and democracy.

In this neocolonial role that (partially) observed the Iron Law of Race Relations, the number of French residents in Côte d’Ivoire rose from 10,000 at independence to 50,000. French businessmen were given every incentive to invest in the country. The investment code offered a five year tax holiday, ten years’ worth of exemptions from import duties on capital goods, and no limit to repatriation of profits on capital.

Côte d’Ivoire soon overtook Ghana as the world’s largest producer of cocoa. It became Africa’s largest exporter of coffee and a major exporter of pineapples, bananas, and other commodities. Agricultural production tripled between 1960 and 1980. Industrial production increased from almost nothing at independence to 700 enterprises with a profit of $3.1 billion by 1980.

The “Ivorian Miracle” came to a crashing end in the 1980s when over investment in public infrastructure projects like Yamoussoukro and the explosion of external debt collided with tanking cocoa and coffee prices. The cost of servicing the national debt became impossible to maintain. Côte d’Ivoire finally declared itself insolvent in 1987.

In the 19 years that have followed the death of Houphouët-Boigny in 1993, Côte d’Ivoire has been torn apart by a coup d’état and the First Ivorian Civil War and the Second Ivorian Civil War. The fighting escalated into a French and UN military intervention last year.

As with Emperor Bokassa I in the Central African Republic, the reign of Félix Houphouët-Boigny is nostalgically remembered in Côte d’Ivoire as a golden age and a time of peace and prosperity.

Note: This essay relies heavily upon Martin Meredith’s The Fate of Africa: A History of the Fifty Years of Independence.

If the Ivorian spending splurge and sovereign debt crisis sounds reminiscent of the Obama stimulus (without the economic prosperity), it should because America is on schedule to financially collapse in the same ignominious manner.

About Hunter Wallace 12387 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. President Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Côte d’Ivoire wasn’t such a bad guy, certainly not by African standards. His country was stable, prosperous (by African standards) and White French and other Europeans were safe to live and work there, President Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Côte d’Ivoire was a Francophile who loved most things French and tried to copy a lot of the grand, great things in France. President Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Côte d’Ivoire took a lot of abuse by Black African, anti White, anti colonial Marxists for promoting “neo colonialism” in his country – so what? Isn’t that better than life in Uganda under Idi Amin or Mugabe, or the tribal slaughters in Rwanda?

    So the guy built some expensive churches – so did the Papacy in the Renaissance.

    Give this Black brother a break – he did a decent job and was fair to our White kinsmen the French. I hope O.C. doesn’t join the Neo Cons in hating everything White and French – saying “The French hardly fought the Germans at all”.

    Yeah, the White French preferred the White Germans, White Danes, White Italians than Bolsheviki Jews, Algerian Muslim throat cutters – lots of rather “Racists” in France in a sophisticated French sort of way.


  2. Admittedly some African presidents did behave in the post Imperial period. But Cote D’Ivorie didn’t need a Basilica. St Pauls in London was pushing the financial limit.

  3. I actually don’t have a problem with this fellow at all. I wish him well. And the Cote D’Ivoire is where chocolate comes from.

  4. Thanks for those nice words Denise.

    I think it is good karma to give honest (not false) praise to decent Black people around the world and the truth is there are lot’s of decent Black people in the world….

    it’s the low life Nig**#*@ that we have to worry about.


    Chris Rock talks about the difference between decent Black people and low life Nig*#$@ in this classic commentary.

  5. The rest of the article will cover other buildings in the capital, the continuation of imperialism under Boigny, the contrast with Nkrumah’s Ghana, the eventual decline of Ivory Coast into economic collapse, civil war, and ethnic and religious strife.

  6. I can’t believe the comments I’ve read on this.

    The thing that’s striking about Africans is their instability and their inability to build anything sustainable. One never knows what’s going to happen next week.

    Here in America it took the so-called United States a century and a half to reach its impending collapse. And when it collapses you’ll see White men doing what they did after the Hurricane Katrina, rebuilding locally. Meanwhile, Africans, whether in Detroit or the Ivory Coast, make a lot of noise, kill people, and watch the asphalt evaporate.

    Adopting Catholicism or Christianity does not civilize Africans. Oddly enough, it was the ante bellum South that brought them up a bit on the civilizational scale, because they are, civilizationally speaking, children. Retarded children, no less.

  7. Just how far can you go in accepting the “good” black man? To the point where he wants to date your sister or daughter? If you say “no” you will be called a “racist”; if you say “yes” you are potentially contributing to the White genocide.

    Moreover, how often will the “good” black not make excuses for all the bad ones and not want to keep the gravy train going for them? Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas may not like NAACP but neither will repeal the “civil rights” movement. How many “good” black men would reinstate freedom of association prior to Brown v Topeka?

    Yes, I’m all for giving credit where credit is due but different races have to be kept separate. Integration and assimilation is fatal for White people. The last 50 or so years is ample proof of that. Is not massive non White immigration aimed at our genocide?

  8. … the economic system developed in cooperation with France was far from perfect. As Houphouët-Boigny described it, the economy of Côte d’Ivoire experienced “growth without development”. The growth of the economy depended on capital, initiatives and a financial framework from investors abroad; it had not become independent or self-sustaining. … During his presidency, Houphouët-Boigny benefited greatly from the wealth of Côte d’Ivoire; by the time of his death in 1993, his personal wealth was estimated to be between US$7 and $11 billion.élix_Houphouët-Boigny
    Would the guy have made a good embezzling mayor for Detroit or Washington DC? If Occidental Dissent readers praise this black dictator, then I feel like Heinrich Himmler at a bar mitzvah. The world is now in a culture war among Christianity, Islam, secular humanism, cultural Marxism and materialistic libertarianism. The non-white races and ethnic groups are rapidly destroying or mongrelizing the white European races. Pro-white white people belong to various groups: Kinism, Christian identity, pagan or neo-pagan, neo-Nazi, neo-fascist cultural Christian, etc. A study of demographics indicates that Christianity in some form is the best hope for large, stable families of White people.
    Chairman Mao had a little red book of quotations.
    Is there a battle of Race-Preservers-for-Jesus against Race-Mixers-for-Jesus? Should Kinists develop a “Little White Book of Kinist Principles”?

    None of the Southerners with I discussed the matter believed that Blacks were equal in intelligence to Whites or in their ability to build or to maintain a civilization, but they could not quite bring themselves to regard Blacks as vermin to be eradicated. That just wasn’t Christian. To Be, or To Be Nice

  9. All I said was that sone African dictators did behave themselves. That’s all.

    Personally if I were Cecil Rhodes I’d have exterminated them and save my descendents the bother.

  10. The difference between Ivory Coast and its neighbors like Ghana and Guinea is that Houphouët-Boigny understood the incapacity of Africans to maintain civilization and the country enjoyed about twenty years of prosperity because of its neocolonial relationship with France.

  11. He was like the Booker T. Washington of the region. Kwame Nkrumah was the W.E.B. DuBois. In fact, DuBois actually moved to Ghana and died a communist there on the eve of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.

  12. Lebanese business makes up 35 percent of Ivory Coast economy

    BEIRUT: Lebanese expatriates in Ivory Coast account for 35 percent of the African country’s economy, the head of the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce for Trade and Industry in Abidjan said Monday.

    Joseph Khoury’s remarks came at a conference with Foreign Minister Ali Shami and the director general of the Foreign Ministry Haitham Joumaa in Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast, during Shami’s four-day visit to Ivory Coast, the National News Agency reported.

    The conference focused on the role Lebanese play in Ivory Coast’s economy and the need to strengthen and preserve that role.

    “Lebanese own 50 percent of the industrial sector, 99 percent of malls, and 80 percent of the fish trade and export industry, 60 percent of the construction sector, 75 percent of the import and export in wood, and 70 percent of the publications sector,” Khoury said, adding that Lebanese own 4,000 institutions that provide labor for 300,000 workers.

    In April, 8,000 Lebanese expatriates fled the war-town Ivory Coast as many were caught in the crossfire of fighting between newly elected President Alassane Ouattara and former president Laurent Gbagbo, who had clung to power after his election defeat.

  13. “Hunter Wallace says:
    February 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm
    Lebanese business makes up 35 percent of Ivory Coast economy

    BEIRUT: Lebanese expatriates in Ivory Coast account for 35 percent of the African country’s economy, the head of the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce for Trade and Industry in Abidjan said Monday.”

    I knew there was an underlying reason………

  14. Yet again, the myth of the Good Negro.

    People, you may know a Good One. There may be honorable ones. There may be some who say the right things. They may even believe them. But every one is a threat to the White race. They all hate us. Every one of them must be excluded from our gene pool, our homes, cities and countries. Complete separation is the only solution.

    They are the enemy. That’s all you need to know about them.

  15. For every good negro from Tuskegee to Ivory Coast there are ten bad ones plotting to be his successor. Ivory Coast is a great example of what happens when you judge by individuals instead of by racial types.

  16. Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas may not like NAACP but neither will repeal the “civil rights” movement. How many “good” black men would reinstate freedom of association prior to Brown v Topeka?

    And neither will Juan Williams. Who revealed recently his true allegiance.

    Don’t let the smoke of these magical negroes ever cause a tear in r eyes. They will ways revert to being a negro. There is no negro in America that gives a shit about White People.

  17. Should read:

    They will always revert to being a negro. There is no negro in America, and especially in media, that gives a shit about White People.

  18. You guys are plain stupid. I am a Ghanaian with English ancestry! The Ivorians are suffering from racist policies of some Frenchmen who were as stupid as you guys. Until 1876 no European Army conquered us and 80 years later we were free. We are building an efficient democracy based on Nkrumah’s legacy which the Ivorians cannot match. The fact that white supremacy and racial purity counts in your mind is because you guys were not breast-fed!

  19. 313Chris

    Unless you have forgotten how to eat bananas or you really are not suffering from credit crunchitis.

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