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Ivory Coast likes big butts and it cannot lie

The country’s fashion for large bottoms leads to some people taking drastic measures.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

SOME LIKE CREAMS, others pop pills or splash out on padded panties. In Ivory Coast where “big is beautiful” bottom enhancers come in all shapes and sorts, and at any cost.

Emaciated catwalk queens are no role model in this West African nation which a few years ago wiggled its collective derriere to the tune of a smash hit titled Bobaraba — meaning “big bottom” in a local language.

“You need to have good hips to be dubbed a beauty in Ivory Coast,” said a saleswoman named Sarah.

Men like women with a bit of bottom best.

Round is beautiful because it symbolises wealth and health, said political scientist Jean Alabro. It also heralds “happy pregnancies” due to “the crucial role played by buttocks” in deliveries, he said.

At Abidjan’s biggest market a shop-owner who gave her name only as Evelyne does a busy trade in “grossifesse” (butt booster) or “botcho” cream.

In Ivorian slang, or “nouchi”,  “botcho” means “vast rear end”.

The cream, which pot labels variously say is made of cod-liver oil, honey or shea butter, sells like hotcakes, and a couple of boxes stacked high with the cream lie on the floor waiting to be dispatched to neighbouring Ghana.

“It’s my best-seller”, said Evelyne, and does far better than her pots of “nice breast” cream or tubes of “bazooka” to “firm up and enhance men’s members.”

Dozens fly off the shelves a day, she said, despite the fact that at €23 to 38 a shot, it remains expensive in a country where annual income is around €100 a month.

‘Guaranteed results’

“Not a single customer’s come back to complain,” she added, saying “you can guarantee a result after 30 days’ use.”

It’s not like those pills where you puff up and then deflate.

Padded panties and butt boosters on the other hand are less of a liability, and far cheaper at €14 a piece at Kader Camara’s store.

“They’re relatively new on the market,” he said. “In the old days, women used to sew several loin cloths together when they went dancing.”

Spices

He also has thigh enhancers for women with skinny legs that are known as “pistols” because they slip on and off, he said, mimicking the way a cowboy moves his gun in and out of a holster.

Another technique involves Maggi instant broth cubes, that staple of African cuisine, but as a suppository rather than as food.

In Democratic Republic of Congo, where the practice is thought to have begun, a song has been written about the wonders of instant broth and bottoms.

“Women think it will add volume because it’s greasy,” according to spokeswoman for the broth company. “But the broth is only for cooking.”

Women with financial means have the option of booty-boosting surgery abroad, and Parisian plastic surgeon Robin Mookherjee, who flies to nearby Dakar every month, claims to have treated “hundreds of women patients” from west Africa, notably from Ivory Coast, for €3,000 to €4,000 an operation. 

© – AFP 2016

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