Greetings in Togo
“In the region, elders, first of all, life [expectancy] is what, 45 to 51 years old? So, if you are lucky enough to live to be 60, you are revered because you are wise. You‘ve lived enough to have enough experience to share your misfortune with the younger generation. And for the most part people seek [them out] for advice. And when you go to visit the village for a business, be it humanitarian or mil-to-mil, it’s good to go say hello to the elder of the village. It’s a sign of respect, but it also [opens] doors that otherwise would have remained closed to you. Yes, in this part of Africa, people with gray hair, gray beard, of [a] certain age are respected and sometimes revered. You treat them with respect. You take [off] your hat, you shake hands with them, sometimes you hold the elbow, as a sign, shake hands with them with both hands [as a] sign of respect. You sit, try to sit lower than the elder, and you listen. Do not interrupt. You may ask questions, but you don’t interrupt.”
In this video, a Togolese expert discusses greeting elders in Togo.