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Burkina Faso’s Grin de Thé Acts as both Refuge and a Resource Space

On the vibrant streets of Dassasgho, a popular neighborhood in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, a unique phenomenon thrives — the so-called Grin de thé, a French phrase that describes a gathering of a group of friends. The Grin de thé in Dassasgho serves as platform for university students and other young people to engage in lively debates, share jokes — and even question societal decisions and policies. Here, the usual hierarchies that structure social relations are blurred, allowing for an open dialogue that reflects the pulse of the community. In a nation grappling with linguistic transitions, the grins have emerged as crucial sanctuaries for free expression amidst the brewing linguistic and geopolitical intricacies.