The Bougsemtenga district

The Bougsemtenga district

The origin of the name of the district is Bouktenga, which is associated with two meanings. First, bougtenga literally means “happiness district” in Mooré. During the installation of the first inhabitants from the village of Manga (located in the Center-South of Burkina Faso), the Head of the kingdom – the Mogho Naaba – had demanded that his guests be welcomed in a “peaceful place”. Secondly, the name of the district refers to the notion of boudtenga, “land of justice”, since it is from this district that all the legal decisions of the kingdom originated.


The Bougsemtenga district is one of the first places of residence in the city of Ouagadougou. Old district, its history tells the social, political and cultural organization of the kingdom of mossé. Gounghin, the district in which Bougsemtenga is located, is known as the “Tapsoba” district and once represented the location of the warriors of the Mogho Naaba and its Minister of Defense.

Today, the Bougsemtenga district has some economic, social and cultural infrastructure. Its population, young and cosmopolitan, lives largely from the profits it derives from its craft and commercial activities.


If the Récréâtrales were born in 2002, it was not until 2006 that they settled permanently in the popular district of Bougsemtenga. The 2008 edition thus represents a real turning point in the evolution of the festival because, for the first time, everything takes place in rue 9.32. Nicknamed since then “rue des Récréâtrales” by participants and local residents, this street, which is periodically transformed into an open-air theatre, is today the trademark of the district.

The Récréâtrales team has made the appropriation of the dynamics of the project by the district one of its major axes. Initially, the emphasis was placed on the development, on the fringes of the creation period, of the public spaces of the district and of a certain number of family courtyards transformed into reception areas for mobile broadcast stages. It is therefore families from the neighborhood who receive at home, during the Festival Platform, the performance spaces, as well as the public who wish to attend. This device offers an unprecedented opportunity to attract to the stages audiences linked to families, to the neighborhood, who do not constitute the usual audience for theatrical creation in Burkina Faso.
The development of the project also led to the implementation of several activities with local residents:

  • The creation of jobs, the Récréâtrales entrusting a certain number of tasks to the inhabitants of the district (drivers, ticket office, reception of festival-goers, logistics, etc.).
  • The organization of small light catering facilities (sale of skewers, juice, grilled corn, etc.) for residents and festival-goers. These devices were entirely thought out with the local families who took charge of them and received significant benefits.
  • The development of workshops with the children of the neighborhood, part of the residences taking place during school holidays.
  • The realization of a rainwater drainage system in a series of courtyards.
  • The establishment of a waste collection and treatment system, to prevent the increase in frequentation of the district from having negative impacts in terms of pollution.

After consultation with the inhabitants of the district and the local authorities, it appeared necessary to provide a formal framework for consultation between the promoters of the project and the representatives of the various components of the population of the district. This framework took the form of a neighborhood committee initiated in October 2011. The essential mission of this committee is to formulate strong proposals for the rooting of the activity in the neighborhood, for the maximization of the positive effects for the environment. local and for the strengthening of social dialogue and citizenship that the project can bring to the Bougsemtenga district in Gounghin.


The creation of the Théâtre des Récréâtrales in 2017 opens the possibility of offering the inhabitants of the district a space to express themselves and take part in the project via the artistic and not only via the organizational aspect.