Abidjan's food and music festival brings people together, as Ivory Coast nears its first election since 2010, which fueled a brief civil war. Sharon Reich reports.
If you can grill it, you'll probably find it at Ivory Coast's annual Grill Festival in Abidjan. The wafting smell of coal and the sound of drum beats draw thousands from all ethnic groups to the celebration. Bonding over common passions is particularly important for Ivorians as their country prepares for its next presidential election. Memories of a civil war that killed nearly 3,000 after the 2010 election results were contested ... are still fresh. SOUNDBITE: Antoine Loba, Grill chef, saying (French): "The festival brings the whole population together. Men and women from Ivory Coast and all other communities meet here to celebrate in a common atmosphere and we forget everything that happened in this past period of crisis. This brings everyone together." SOUNDBITE: Mohmed Dramane, Festival goer, saying (French): "I had never attended a grilling festival party before. It's my very first time and I'm really moved to see what is happening now. Everyone is at ease, there is a good atmosphere, there is unity, and I think that if it could be like this every day I would truly be happy." And that's a sentiment that festival goers hope will carry over to the election on October 25th.