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"Chocolaté - Le goût amer de la culture du cacao" (Chocolate - The bitter taste of the cocoa culture)

Updated: Mar 14

Last October, I had the privilege of meeting Samy Manga, who generously autographed his book "Chocolaté - Le goût amer de la culture du cacao" (Chocolate - The bitter taste of the cocoa culture) published by Les Éditions Écosociété.

Here's my summary:

"Chocolaté" - The bitter truth behind our favourite sweets

In his latest book, Samy Manga reveals an often-obscured aspect of our sweet pleasure: the exploitation of African cocoa planters by chocolate multinationals.

Abéna, the protagonist of this story, was immersed in this culture from an early age, working alongside his grandfather on the cocoa plantations of Cameroon. A witness to the human and environmental devastation caused by this industry, he embodies the struggle against an inequitable and devastating system.

The cultivation of cocoa, a source of pleasure for millions in "rich" countries, reflects a bitter reality in Africa. From the clearing of forests to the sale of "sweat and blood" beans to "white men" the road to cocoa is paved with suffering and exploitation.

Multinationals are singled out for their role in this system of exploitation. Despite initiatives to fight child labour, the vicious circle persists, with disastrous socio-economic consequences and a growing ecological threat.

Through poetic prose, Samy urges collective awareness, revealing the injustices of the chocolate industry.

"Chocolaté" is much more than just a story. It's a call to action, a cry of rage against exploitation and injustice. By exposing the truth behind our favourite sweets, Samy Manga invites us to reflect on our consumer choices and take action for a fairer, more sustainable world.

Through Abéna's eyes, we discover the reality of the workers behind the scenes. It's time to give them a voice and turn our love of chocolate into a commitment to social and environmental justice.

Together, with ECOSHIFT and other players in the sector, let's commit to changing the course of this story: chocolate should never taste so bitter again...

Samy Manga, ethnomusician, sculptor and environmental activist from Cameroon, is an Ecopoet promoting Green Writing for ecology and biodiversity. Artistic director in Lausanne and founder of ÉCOPOÈTES INTERNATIONAL.


edited in English by Tim MORCH, Freelance Writer

ECOSHIFT builds scalable supply chains for smallholder farmers with end-to-end traceability for verification and compliance with EUDR and other standards.


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