Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sleepwalking Land (Mozambique): Couto crafts a surreal tale about hopelessness but also about never giving up in civil-war era Mozambique

Sleepwalking Land

Loved It Because: Mia Couto has crafted a surreal, engrossing tragic tale of the hopelessness of life during the fifteen year long civil war that consumed post-independence Mozambique.  I went into this novel knowing little about Mozambique's history apart from a broad knowledge regarding the brutality with which Portugal ceded independence to its colonies.  

Reading this novel won't give the reader even a brief overview of the country's civil war, instead Couto focuses on pulling the reader into the pysche of those affected most by war--the ones not doing the killing--the women and the children.  Early on, Kindzu the narrator relates one of the most bizaree stories that I've ever read--his younger brother is forced to live in the family's henhouse bu their insane father, and then forced to act like a chicken--for so long that he eventually becomes one and disappears.  This type of magical kafkaesque storyline is repeated throughout Sleepwalking Land, as the oprhaned narrators (yes, plural) struggle to exist in a country that is dying under their feet.  The very idea of life turns Kindzu into a fatalist as he remarks at one point: "the best things in life are those that don't lie ahead"--meaning that pleasure and meaning can only be found in distant memories or in the most immediate present.  

Read This For More:
2103 Paris Review Interview with Mia Couto
2015 Guardian Interview with Author
Sleepwalking Land (2007 Movie is free with amazon prime)



*One of my Reading Around the Continent books--the full list is here.
 **See our 20162015 and 2014 Reading Lists.

NOTES:

15  Kindzu is the worst as pronounced by his mother

16  Mozambique likened to a beached dying whale

17  An Indian doesn't have black friends

20  Sincerity is a childlike virtue

22  Wish to be men of no race--men of an ocean instead

33  The elephant as a symbol of the dying land

35-43  Recounts surreal ocean journey and a dream-like conversation with his dead father

40  Desire and journey to become a naparama (witch doctor of sorts)

41  Mozambique's plight is blamed on the country forgetting its ancestors

53  Mozambique's fate is that of a mat: "History will wipe its feet on our back" 

60-7  Surreal Skellington episode on repopulating Mozambique

62  'dreams are letters we send to our other, remaining lives'

75  in the end we all yearn for connection

105  The cause of the war: to license robbery...'death was necessary so that laws could be forgotten'

108  narrator's role from the beginning: a dreamer of memories, an inventor of truths...a sleepwalker like the land where I was born

157  "the best things in life are those that don't lie ahead"

158  the solitude and loneliness of war: "that's what the war had done:  now, all of us are alone, the dead and the living.  There's no nation anymore."

176  cunning = hyena = death

192  "those who suffer most in war are those not involved in the killing"  it's the women and children




Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Last Will and Testament of Senor da Silva Araujo (Cape Verde): Read It for a Melancholy Latin Take on Love in African Cape Verde

The Last Will and Testament of Senor da Silva Araujo (Cape Verde)


Read It Because:
This translated piece of Cape Verdean fiction is beautiful, sad, and meandering as it examines the life of a poor peasant boy made good as a successful business owner.  Senor da Silva's life unfolds in a non-linear, often-dreamlike fashion at times as we follow his life through the reading of his last will and testament.  The strength of this novel lies in its examination of  themes both broad and mundane. The author offers the reader a glimpse into the way in which the independence struggle affected the lives of the ordinary businessmen and local politicians as da Silva struggles to position himself to prosper however the struggle might end up.  Far more interesting, though, is the investigation by da Silva's illegitimate daughter (suprise!) into a mysterious (and perhaps fantastical) love obsession named Adelia.  As the details surrounding Adelia are slowly revealed, a melancholy shadow falls over the life of da Silva as he grapples with love, rejection and loss.   The reader is left to wonder: was Adelia actually real or was she a mad creation by a man unable to find his place in Cape Verdean society and life in general?

*One of my Reading Around the Continent books--the full list is here.
 **See our 20162015 and 2014 Reading Lists.

























My notes:

35  political independence struggles

37   identity within the independence struggle//Araujo finds himself changed after traveling abroad
39   positives and negatives of technology
42   dreams of service and global aspirations
80   people's pleasure of cheating the state of its money
84   on the weight of solitude
87-88    idealization of Adelia
91   enough to know you exist
92-3   "life is a naked woman" linked to his fear of impotence
95   no one can live in our pain
96   In Praia Branca--the people are all witches
98-99   'sic transit gloria mundi' --- 'thus passes the glory of the world' or 'worldly things are fleeting' his triumph over Adelia
103   nothing more challenging for a man than making love for the 1st time//also examines the idea of a memory stripping one bare
128   author's thesis on the culture of San Vincente
134   Was Adelia real?  She was never found...
137   Dona Chica denies him ever loving any other women
145   Araujo gets swept up in events and is afraid of his pasts
150   a sad lonely ending for Araujo--in essense, paying for his sins
152   last words: "watch out for the door Adelia"

Monday, November 28, 2016

Allah is Not Obliged (Ivory Coast--Cote d'Ivoire): Loved it Because It's Brutal, Funny and It Mentions...

Allah is Not Obliged

Loved it Because: Well it's hard to say that you 'love' a book about child soldiers but Kourouma has crafted a first person narrative that is brutal, funny, and which mentions your 'father's cock' (i.e., faforo) about a hundred times.  Allah is Not Obliged is the tale of a young Ivorian boy named Birahima who becomes a child soldier of misfortune--killing and pontificating his way across West Africa.  

The author is from Cote d'Ivoire but the narrative skips across the porous borders of its neighbors.  This is a decidedly West African novel...less about a country and more about a phenomenon--the rise of the child soldier.  The best portions of the novel are the quasi histories of the different countries--Kourouma boils down the essential tenets of the political and warfield battles in an easy to read and digestible manner.  Take his summary of Sierra Leone:


While all this corruption was going on and all these coup d’états were happening one after another, on the sly, people were plotting a bite-that-has-no-teeth (among Black Africans a nasty surprise is known as ‘that which bites but has no teeth’) against the corrupt scheming regime of Sierra Leone. Walahé! Completely on the sly, completely in secret. Foday Sankoh, Corporal Foday Sankoh was about to bite Sierra Leone using no teeth. Corporal Foday Sankoh introduced a third partner to Sierra Leone’s dance. Up till then, everything had been simple, very simple: there were only two dancers, only two underhand partners, the government and the army. If the dictator in power got too corrupt and too rich, there was a coup d’état and he was replaced by a general. If he hadn’t already been assassinated, the dictator took the money and fled without further ado. When the guy who replaced him got too corrupt, too rich, there was another different coup and someone else replaced him and, if he hadn’t already been assassinated, he did a runner with the liriki, the cash. And so on. Foday Sankoh fucked up this private dance when he introduced another whore to the dance: the people, the poor people, the Black Nigger Native savage Sierra Leonean bushmen. First off, who is Foday Sankoh, Corporal Foday Sankoh? Gnamokodé!  Foday Sankoh had to do was cut off the arms of as many people, as many of the citizens of Sierra Leone, as possible. Every Sierra Leone prisoner had his hands cut off before being sent back into the territory occupied by government forces. Foday gave the orders and methods and the orders and the methods were enforced. The ‘long sleeve, short sleeve’ policy was put into action. ‘Short sleeve’ was when you cut off the whole forearm; ‘long sleeve’ was when you cut off both hands at the wrist.

Were I teaching African history, these little snippets would be the perfect way to break up a dry lecture.  
*One of my Reading Around the Continent books--the full list is here.
 **See our 20162015 and 2014 Reading Lists too!

Links for Further Reading:
NPR: A Chatty, Pensive, 'Rude As A Goat's Beard' Child Soldier
Words Without Borders Book Review
The Guardian's Book Review: Welcome to the Jungle

My Highlights:
Allah is Not Obliged by Ahmadou Kourouma
You have 28 highlighted passages

First off, Number one … My name is Birahima and I’m a little nigger. Not ’cos I’m black and I’m a kid. I’m a little nigger because I can’t talk French for shit. That’s how things are. You might be a grown-up, or old, you might be Arab, or Chinese, or white, or Russian—or even American—if you talk bad French, it’s called parler petit nègre—little nigger talking—so that makes you a little nigger too. That’s the rules of French for you. Number two … I didn’t get very far

Number three … I’m disrespectful, I’m rude as a goat’s beard and I swear like a bastard. I don’t swear like the civilised Black Nigger African Natives in their nice suits, I don’t say fuck! shit! bitch! I use Malinké swear words like faforo! (my father’s cock—or your father’s or somebody’s father’s), gnamokodé! (bastard), walahé! (I swear by Allah). Malinké is the name of the tribe I belong to. They’re Black Nigger African Savages and there’s a lot of us in the north of Côte d’Ivoire and in Guinea, and there’s even Malinkés in other corrupt fucked-up banana republics like Gambia, Sierra Leone and up in Senegal. Number four … I suppose I should

‘This is simply another ordeal which Allah has sent you (an ‘ordeal’ is ‘a severe or trying experience intended to judge someone’s worth’). If Allah has ordained that you be miserable here on earth, it is because he has reserved some greater happiness for you in paradise.’

You don’t have to have been to the place of excision to know they cut something out of the girls. They cut something out of my mother, but unfortunately maman’s blood didn’t stop, it kept gushing like a river swollen by a storm. All her friends had stopped bleeding. That meant that maman was the one who was to die at the place of excision. That’s the way of the world, the price that has to be paid. Every year at the ceremony of excision, the djinn of the forest takes one of the girls who has come to be initiated and kills her and keeps her for a sacrifice. The girl is buried there in the forest. The djinn never chooses an ugly girl, it always picks one of the most beautiful, one of the prettiest of the girls to be initiated. Maman was the prettiest girl of her age, that was why the djinn chose her to die in the forest. The sorceress who was the excisor was

Bambaras are called different things like Lobis or Sénoufos or Kabiès. Before people came to colonise them, they didn’t wear any clothes. They were called the naked peoples. Bambaras are true indigenes, the true ancient owners of the land. The

Even if the man and woman getting married are black, and they both wear black clothes, if they never do sex together then it’s a white marriage—a mariage en blanc in French. It

The woman is always wrong. That’s what they call women’s rights.

Yacouba was badly hurt and put in hospital, but Allah made him better because Yacouba performs the five daily prayers every day and was always slitting the throats of sacrifices. Allah made him better because his sacrifices were fitting. (Among Black Nigger African Natives, if you say ‘the sacrifices were fitting’, it means you got lucky.)

Refugees had it easier than everyone else in the country because everyone was always giving them food, the UNHCR, NGOs, everyone. But they only allowed women, kids younger than five and old people. In other words I wasn’t allowed in.

But he never smoked hash. The hash was reserved for the child-soldiers, on account of it made them as strong as real soldiers. Walahé!

According to my Larousse, a funeral oration is a speech in honour of a famous celebrity who’s dead. Child-soldiers are the most famous celebrities of the late twentieth century, so whenever a child-soldier dies, we have to say a funeral oration. That means we have to recount how in this great big fucked-up world they came to be a child-soldier. I do it when I feel like it, but I don’t have to. I’m doing it for Sarah because I want to, I’ve got the time, and anyway it’s interesting.

Allah is not obliged to be fair about everything, about all his creations, about all his actions here on earth. The same goes for me. I don’t have to talk, I’m not obliged to tell my dog’s-life-story, wading through dictionary after dictionary. I’m fed up talking, so I’m going to stop for today. You can all fuck off!

The dictator Samuel Doe started off as a sergeant in the Liberian army. He—Sergeant Doe—and some of his friends were fed up with the arrogance and the contempt that the Black Nigger Afro-Americans, or Congos, showed for the indigenous people of Liberia. ‘Indigenous people’ are the Black Nigger African Natives ‘originating and living or occurring naturally in an area’. They’re different from Black Nigger Afro-Americans who are ‘descendants of freed slaves’. The descendants of the slaves, also known as Congos, acted just like the colonists in Liberia. That’s how my Harrap’s defines ‘indigenous people’ and ‘Afro-Americans’. Samuel Doe and some of his friends were fed up of all the injustice that rained down on the indigenous people of Liberia in independent Liberia. That was why the indigenous people revolted and it was why two indigenous people plotted an indigenous conspiracy against the arrogant colonials and the Afro-American colonialists.

They were very inconspicuous right up to the fateful day (‘fateful’ means ‘destined to happen’) 24 December 1989, Christmas Eve 1989. On Christmas Eve 1989, they waited until all the border guards at Boutoro (a border town) were dead drunk, a hundred percent drunk, then attacked them. They quickly overran the Boutoro border post, massacred the border guards and took all their guns. Now that the border guards were dead, the officers pretended to be the border guards and got on the phone and called army headquarters in Monrovia. They told headquarters that the border guards had fought off an attack and requested reinforcements. The army dispatched reinforcements. The reinforcements walked straight into an ambush, they were all massacred, all killed, all emasculated, and all their weapons were seized.


When you haven’t got no father, no mother, no brothers, no sisters, no aunts, no uncles, when you haven’t got nothing at all, the best thing to do is become a child-soldier. Being a child-soldier is for kids who’ve got fuck all left on earth or Allah’s heaven.



the UN asked the CDEAO to intervene. The CDEAO asked Nigeria to do humanitarian peacekeeping. (‘Humanitarian peacekeeping’ is when one country is allowed to send soldiers into another country to kill innocent victims in their own country, in their own villages, in their own huts, sitting on their own mats.) Nigeria


Prince Johnson was the third big important rebel warlord. He had exclusive rights over large parts of Liberia. But he was a prince, meaning he was a nice warlord because he had principles.



And for what? To make sure the new arrival isn’t a devourer of souls. Prince Johnson didn’t need any soul-eaters, he already had too many of them in his district. It was a haven for soul-eaters. (Black Nigger African Natives claim that at night Black Africans turn into owls and take the souls of their nearest and dearest and go off and devour them in the branches

And, even though Allah never leaves empty a mouth he has created, things were tough. Really tough! Faforo! He started out by attacking

Among the dead were three child-soldiers. Three of the Good Lord’s children, according to the saint. They weren’t friends of mine. Their names were Mamadou the Mad, John the Proud and Boukary the Damned. They died because that’s how Allah wanted things. And Allah is not obliged to be fair about everything he does. And I’m not obliged to say a funeral oration for these three child-soldiers.

battle lasted several days. The attack lasted so many days that there was even time to alert the ECOMOG peacekeeping forces, there was even time for them to get there. The peacekeeping forces didn’t keep the peace, they didn’t take any unnecessary risks. They weren’t bothered about details, they just fired shells at random, they fired shells at the people doing the

attacking and at the people being attacked. They bombed every part of the town, the natives’ quarter, full of Black Nigger African Natives, and the miners’ quarter. When everything was demolished, when no one was moving any more, not the attackers or the attacked, the peacekeeping forces stopped massacring. They picked up the wounded. The wounded were evacuated to their field hospitals. They drew up a report about the status of forces on the ground. That was their role, their mission, their duty. They ascertained that it was Johnson’s territory. Therefore Johnson was awarded control of the town and took over running the mines. The dead

Sierra Leone is a small fucked-up African state between Guinea and Liberia. For a century and a half, from the start of the English colonisation in 1808 right up to independence on 27 April 1961, the country was a haven of peace, stability and security. Everything was simple back then. From an administrative point of view, there were two only types of people: first, British subjects including colonial English toubab colonists and the creos, or creoles; and, second, there was the ‘protected subjects’, Black Nigger Native savages out in the bush. The creoles were descended from freed slaves who came over from America. Walahé! The Black Nigger Natives worked as hard as wild beasts. The creoles got all the jobs as civil servants in the government and managers of the commercial businesses.

And the colonial English colonists and the thieving double-crossing Lebanese pocketed all the money. The Lebanese didn’t show up until much later, between the two big wars. The creoles were rich intelligent Black Niggers who were a lot better than the Black Nigger Native Savages. A lot of them had law degrees and different kinds of diplomas like doctors. When independence came on 27 April 1961, the Black Nigger Native savages got the right to vote and ever since then Sierra Leone is nothing but coup d’états and assassinations and lynchings and executions and all sorts of trouble, a big-time fucked-up mess on account of Sierra Leone is rich in diamonds and gold and all sorts of corruption. Faforo!
While all this corruption was going on and all these coup d’états were happening one after another, on the sly, people were plotting a bite-that-has-no-teeth (among Black Africans a nasty surprise is known as ‘that which bites but has no teeth’) against the corrupt scheming regime of Sierra Leone. Walahé! Completely on the sly, completely in secret. Foday Sankoh, Corporal Foday Sankoh was about to bite Sierra Leone using no teeth. Corporal Foday Sankoh introduced a third partner to Sierra Leone’s dance. Up till then, everything had been simple, very simple: there were only two dancers, only two underhand partners, the government and the army. If the dictator in power got too corrupt and too rich, there was a coup d’état and he was replaced by a general. If he hadn’t already been assassinated, the dictator took the money and fled without further ado. When the guy who replaced him got too corrupt, too rich, there was another different coup and someone else replaced him and, if he hadn’t already been assassinated, he did a runner with the liriki, the cash. And so on. Foday Sankoh fucked up this private dance when he introduced another whore to the dance: the people, the poor people, the Black Nigger Native savage Sierra Leonean bushmen. First off, who is Foday Sankoh, Corporal Foday Sankoh? Gnamokodé!

Foday Sankoh had to do was cut off the arms of as many people, as many of the citizens of Sierra Leone, as possible. Every Sierra Leone prisoner had his hands cut off before being sent back into the territory occupied by government forces. Foday gave the orders and methods and the orders and the methods were enforced. The ‘long sleeve, short sleeve’ policy was put into action. ‘Short sleeve’ was when you cut off the whole forearm; ‘long sleeve’ was when you cut off both hands at the wrist.

The seven people were: the doctor, the generalissimo’s aide-de-camp, Yacouba, Sekou, Saydou, Sekou’s coadjutor, and me, Birahima, the blameless, fearless street


Monday, November 7, 2016

An African in Greenland(Togo): Loved it Because It Was Unlike Anything I've Ever Read: Young Togo boy makes good in the tundra of Greenland



Loved it Because: It was unlike anything I've ever read.  This is the fantastical post-independence autobiographical tale of a young Togolese boy that leaves his 25 siblings on a whim (basically) and starts a 12-year journey from his native country to the chilly northern reaches of Greenland.  I say 'basically' because it all started after he saw a book on Greenland in a missionary book store in his village.

This is also one of those books where you turn the last page and read through the final words and are left stammering 'but what next, what happened next when he returned to Togo?'  Alas, it's difficult to find much on his life after this journey--at least it's hard to find much in English.  So perhaps I will return to this post in the future when I have more time to slug through the french websites (we are smack dab in the middle of a PCS right now).

The book's strength comes from the author's candid and frank observations of the Inuit and Greenland culture, particularly when he compares it to his own upbringing in Togo.  He approaches each new locale with an enthusiasm and curiosity that is incredible.  This leads to situations that are at times hilarious and at other times quite disturbing.  One example is a truly bizarre girlfriend swapping situation that he stumbles into and which he just can't handle.  But it is because of his openness to assimilate into each village that he finds people sharing with him in ways no passing visitor would ever experience.  This includes an in-depth look at the Inuit idea of souls in people, animals and things--particularly the process of hunting and harvesting whales.

At the book's conclusion it is Kpomassie true explorer spirit that draws him back to his homeland--having dived into so many incredible experiences, he feels a duty to return to his people to share what's he seen, tasted and felt.  Lucky for the reader, he also decided to write it all down as well.

*One of my Reading Around the Continent books--the full list is here.
 **See our 20162015 and 2014 Reading Lists too!

Further Reading:
Radio Canada French Interview with Kpomassie
Interview with author 30 years after the book's publication
Introduction to novel online version
Review Highlights

Notes:
9    Togo authority hierarchy
22   on 'waiting' in Togo
37  food taboo's role in harmony or discord
50  power of paternal aunt's in Togo
53   Ghana sparks independence hopes in region 1959
57   6 year journey out of africa
58   post-independence visas popup where they weren't previously
63  independence of adventure
71   8 years after leaving Togo he finally leaves Copenhagen for Greenland
102  inverse authority structure in Greenland vs. Togo with children at top
110  Greenland version of morality with open relationships/sexuality
112  Greenland as a welfare state of Denmark
118  Equality in the Arctic
121-2  Greenlands's only prison and the prisoners are free during the day
125  Eskimos with ancient divide as either seal or fish-eaters
137-8  fishing for seawolves
140   Polar hysteria
161  1969 international eskimo airing of grievances
157  brutality of hiskies
174  on fanaticism and friendship
208   Eating raw seal
232   wife swampping as an eskimo survival mechanism
243   Greenlanders think falling is hilarious
275   Ridicule as sport in Greenland
276   Effects of family all sleeping together with children
280   burial rites, souls
282     More on souls
284     Eskimo conception of souls versus Togo conception
285-6  Whale hunting and the animal's many uses.  Also includes discussion on 'soul capture' and draws comparison to lion hunting in Togo
289     Differng roles of sacrifice and unit between Greenland and Togo
293     Why he returns back to Togo--a sense of duty to his countrymen

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Morocco-Madagascar Connection

Not many outsiders know about the 60 year-old Madagascar-Morocco connection.  I first discovered it when I was looking on google maps and noticed a Mohammed V street in downtown Antananarivo running along the eastern side of Lake Anosy.  With the Francophonie Summit fast approaching (to be held in Tana this November), there are rumors that a Moroccan king will once once again return to Madagascar--this time it will be Mohammed VI...with an entourage of 300.


























Having been interested in Morocco since I lived there in 5th grade I decided to do a little digging (it's worth noting that there's close to nothing written about King Mohammed V's (pronounced as Mohamed Cinq) exile in Madagascar in English.  Everything that follows has been culled from multiple French sources).

 It turns out that France exiled the Sultan Mohammed V to Madagascar from 1953-55--a plan that backfired on them--only intensifying anti-colonial sentiment and violence.  In fact, as one of the US political officer's in Rabat at the time recalls, the French literally grabbed the Sultan out of his palace in the middle of the night (20 August 1953) and put him on a DC3 airliner.  But of course, he didn't fly direct to Morocco--the HuffPost Maghreb (didn't even know that was a thing did you?) has an interactive overview of the actual path he took.

His first stop was on the island of Corsica where he initially refused to exit the plane because he thought he was going to be executed. This was after a 7 hour flight on the spartan aircraft during which the royal family were only offered hastily-made ham sandwiches.  He then stayed for two weeks in the prefecture palace before the French decided to move him to the southern countryside of the island at the hotel du Mouflon d'Or--the hotel is still open today, you can check out its circa 2000 website here.  Evidently, however, the cold mountain air affected the Sultan's health so on 24 October they moved him to northwest end of the island in the town of Ile-Rousse where he stayed at the Hotel Napoleon Bonaparte.  When Count Clauzel visited the Sultan there he remarked on the Sultan's pitiable state as he lay about unshaven. He coordinated with the French government to embark the Sultan and his family to Madagascar on a DC-4 on or about 27 January 1954 (with a brief stopover in Brazzaville)

Upon his arrival in Antananarivo, the Sultan, his two sons, his six months pregnant second wife, and his 8 concubines were moved 170 km south to the town of Antsirabe.  The French originally put his family in the empty military center before moving him to the Hotel des Thermes.  The move to the hotel was prompted by the impending arrival of the Sultan's first wife (and their three daughters)--he needed more room!   Known for its thermal baths, Antsirabe turned out to be an ideal location for the Sultan who was worried because of his second son Moulay Rachid's heart condition.

The "View from Fez" blog has a nice short writeup on the Hotel des Thermes in Antsirabe where the Sultan M5 spent most of his time.

There's been a decent amount written about M5's time in Antsirabe.  Evidently, the Sultan had a religious routine but his two sons and their friends got into a lot of trouble spending money on credit. chasing women and getting into fights.  Another familiar sight was the Sultan's harem parading through town Indian file all veiled up.  The Sultan was such a regular sight in town that most locals didn't even look twice at him.  Three months after he arrived the princess Lalla Amina was born there in Antsirabe (she died in 2012).

On 6 November 1955 he would finally be called to Paris to sign an accord with Prime Minister Antoine Pinay as a precursor to Moroccan independence.  Leaving Antsirabe, they ended up giving much of their possessions to local staff and friends to include their sewing machines...so there's someone in Antsirabe with the royal family's sewing machine today.  The Sultan bade farewell to Antsirabe, driven north in a Ford auotomobile driven by his oldest son--leaving one to wonder: where is that car today?:


Pinay and M5
10 days later, he would return to Morocco after an exile of more than two years.  Some four months later on March 2, 1956 Morocco would officially won its independence from France with M5 ushering in a constitutional monarchy and a very gradual shift from French influence.


AUTHOR'S NOTE:  All that said, the initial thing that opened up this rabbit's hole (i.e., the google map random viewing of Mohammed V boulevard) might not even be legit.  Until a year ago, anyone could go onto google map maker and name any vacant streets in Antananarivo themselves.  I did this myself which you can read about here.

References and links for further research:
TELQUEL: The True History of the Exile of the Alouites
MAGHREB HUFFPOST: The Exile of Mohamed V
SLATE AFRICA: The True History of the Alouite Exile
ASSTN OF DIPLOMATIC STUDIES AND TRAINING: French Colony to Sovereign Naiton
JEUNE AFRIQUE: Mohamed V's Life in Madagascar