Oti Region

THE TRADITION AND CULTURAL HERITAGE OF OTI REGION – DAMBAI 

 INTRODUCTION   

The Oti Region is one of the six regions created in December, 2018. The region was carved out of the northern part of the Volta Region and was inaugurated on the 14th May, 2019 at Dambai as its Regional Capital. 

The Region is often described as a microcosm region, which means that if someone wishes to visit Ghana but constrained by limited resources or does not have enough time, visiting just the Oti Region will satisfy the curiosity of the traveler. This is because Oti Region has almost everything that other regions have and moreover, there are things that are unique only to the Oti Region, one can sustain itself with little resources. 

The Oti Region shares boundaries with Bono, Savannah and Volta Regions as well as republic of Togo. It is also dominated by the River Oti on its western flank. 

The River supports a thriving fishing production and is a popular recreational area. The regions has a total area of 13,233 Square Kilometers and its area of extra-ordinary scenic beauty such as the rolling hills and valleys, rocky outcrops overlooking the lake Volta and lagoon, rivers and waterfalls make for one of nature’s attractive gifts to Ghana.

There are several ethnic groups in Oti Region. Evidence of this is visible in how its capital city, Dambai is made up. The tribes that can be found in Dambai include the Nchumuru, Zabarama, Hausa, Kotokoli, Ewe, Konkonba, Basari, Ada and the Fulani. As a result of this, the languages spoken in Oti Region vary widely. This depends on which area is densely populated by which tribe.

The Region is made up of eight political administration districts assemblies.

  1. KADJEBI: It was initially part of the Jasikan District until it was created in 1989 with its capital Kadjebi which took over the initial name of Akan District to

present Kadjebi District. The district comprises eight (8) traditional areas, that are Kadjebi, Asato, Ahamansu, Dodo, Ampeyo, Pampawie, Dappa and Papase respectively and they speak twi as their local language.

 

FESTIVAL

1. AKWASIDAE KESIE:

This festival is celebrated by the Akans every year in the District. The festival is been counted and celebrated on Sunday, the last forty-two (42) days before the end of the year. On the eve of this festival the chiefs and people of every traditional areas meet at the chief’s palace to commence the celebration, where libation is poured by the chief linguist and those to special occasion are Frontonfrom, Kete, Adowa, Osite dance are performed till midnight to end the first part.

This is in the remembrance of the ancestors who lost their lives in wars and the attire is mourning clothes only.

2. DAWURO KESE FESTIVAL:

This festival is for the people of Kedjebi as traditional festival which has a story of cultural heritage and environment. The people of Kadjebi were pushed by wars acrossed the Volta river our 300 years ago and finally settled at mountain Karikera (pronounce as “Kera”east of present Kadjebi) and angry at the preservation of her glory through neglect and pollution (allegedly by adversaries) only stream running through the town caused an epidemic.

The populace dwindled and the enemies took advantage of reducing the population to harass its people. Then, Nana Akompi, the chief in consultation with an oracle at that time caused a big gong-gong “dawurokese” to be made. The gong-gong was said to have mesmersing and demoralizing effect on the enemies. 

It was instructed that spiritual and physical cleaning should be carried out each year, the women of Kadjebi swept the town with a special leaf shouting in the process “Yere pan yade” meaning to away sickness as a form of Passover. The relevance and success of Dawurokese today is due to its capture of the past traditional values and modern requirement, environmental issues are threatening today, therefore, the forest and rivers must be preserved. The theme for Dawurokese festival appropriately selected is based on judicious use of the forest and streams.

This festival is celebrated in very three (3) years by the people of Kadjebi in remembrance of the ancestors of the area.

 MARRIAGE CEREMONY

In the Kadjebi District, all the eight (8) traditional areas, that is Kadjebi, Asato, Ahamansu, Dodo, Ampeyoo, Pampawie, Dapaa and Papase, they all practiced the Akan type of marriage ceremony.

For example, when the two couple met and agreed for marriage, the man would inform the parents about the acceptance of the woman for marriage. A woman would be sent to the woman’ parents for the release of their daughter for marriage to their son. And this would continue for three (3) consecutive times. The woman’s parents would also call their daughter and deliver the message to her and when accepted, a day would be fixed for the ceremony. The chiefs and elders and relatives and other people would assemble at the head of the woman’s family house for the ceremony.

Seven pots of palm wine, one native mat, red band and an amount in envelop would be provided for the rites.

One pot of palm wine would be given to the man’s friend to be shared among the youths who help the man in the marriage activities. The remaining six post would be poured in one big pot. The elder of the family would pour libation and an elderly woman would also pour hers. They would ask the ancestors and God’s guidance for a successful marriage. 

The rest of the drink would be shared among the gathering. The chiefs and elders would advice the couples on how to live peacefully in their marriage home. Both families would thank the chiefs and people present for their response to the success of the ceremony.

OUTDOORING OF NEW BORN BABIES

Outdooring of babies is held on the 8th day after the baby was born. The parents of the baby would invite the chief, elders and people concerned of the town to grace the occasion. The naming ceremony is done at the head of the family’s house at 5:30am, when libation would be poured for god’s protection and a name would be given to the new born baby.

As custom demands a little drop of drink, water and salt would be dropped in the mouth of the baby. This signifies that the baby when grown would drink water, eat salt and drink any kind of drink of choice.

Then donations would be made to the child either in cash or kind.

  1. JASIKAN: Being one of the eight districts in Oti Region, Ghana. Originally created as on ordinary district assembly on 10th March 1989, with its capital Jasikan and the people are Buem who speak Leleme language.

FESTIVAL 

  1. BUEM LILU FESTIVAL: this word Lilu means yams. Apart from its meaning, it is easy to pronounce and sound sweet in the ears.

It is told that when the Buems finally settled on this land under their great leader king Aburam I, the first crop they cultivated was the Yam. It’s therefore became their stample food among them.

Annually, a festival was held in its honour. Rice became the second crop of the people which they cook on festive occasions as well.

The objectives of the festival are as 

  1. To thank the gods of the land for showering their blessing upon them throughout the year.
  2. To honour their ancestors and their Black Stool.
  3. To feed their gods and ancestors.
  4. To reunite the citizens of Buem, reminding them of:
    • The famous demonstrative story of Unity as demonstrated by the first king Aburam. VIZ THE BROOM, the symbol of unity.
    • Their individual civic responsibility towards the welfare of the Buem State.
  5. Lastly, to attract the attention of the general public in Buem to self-help projects in support of government.

STRUCTURE OF THE FESTIVAL

The celebrations are held as follows:

  1. Celebration by individuals and children born on odd positions (Twins, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 11th, 13th, etc ..children)
  2. Celebrations by fetish priests.
  3. By individual Traditional Rulers in their various towns.

It is hoped that all these events will cover a period of three (3) weeks, prior to the final date of the grand festival at the Omanhene’s town Bodada by all the Traditional Rulers and their people. The Buems do not have a fixed date for their yam festival. Early in each year, at a meeting of the Traditional Council, the date shall be fixed.

As usual, the annual festival is normally celebrated in the second week of the month of October every year by the people of Buem; and the date can vary from time to time.

OATH OF ALLEGIANCE

All the divisional chiefs shall re-affirm their oaths of allegiance to Omahene at the grand durbar of the festival with a live sheep or ram and drinks.

GRAND DURBAR:

This is normally held on Saturdays during the celebration. It is characterized with maiden and optional speeches by renowned personalities invited to the festival. Then, the festival ends finally amidst cultural drumming and dancing in joyful colours.

  1. BUYI OKA FESTIVAL (CONTRIBUTE TOWARD DEVELOPMENT)

This festival is exclusively celebrated by the chiefs, elders and people of New Baika within Buem traditional area. It is celebrated in March every year; and it takes three (3) days for celebration.

Activities such as town cleaning, health walk, health talk, film show and games are organized on the eve of the festival. Since the aim of this festival is to raise fund towards development of the Town, a grand fund raising durbar is organized to culminate the activities of the festival in grand style on the third day of the occasion. 

TABOOS: As traditions demand are the excluded from use, approach or mention because of the sacred quality of an object, action etc. 

There are days connected with a river called River Dayi or Edze which separates the two farm lands at Dzolu in Buem traditional area. Those who do not cross river Dayi before, they get to their farm are prohibited from farming or digging the ground on

Thursdays. The Thursday in the local dialect is called “Adolimei”. Those who cross the river Dayi before they farm on the land are prohibited from doing so on Fridays. The

Friday is called “Liyei” in Buem dialect.

So, the Thursday and Friday or Adolimei and Liyei are observed as Holy Days of the gods of the lands.

On Friday, no one washes items with soap in the river Dayi or go fishing on it. Reward and penalty rites: all rites whether for reward for good harvest or for penalty such as death that occur on the land around Dzolu town are performed on Thursdays or Adolimei.

All rites whether for reward or penalty that occur beyond the river Dayi have to be performed on Fridays or Liyei.

Anyone who violets the taboos will face the penalty from the gods of the land and the river. For example, anyone who washes in River Dayi on Friday with soap may have snake bite at the place of washing.

BENEFITS: by observing the taboos ensures good harvest or yield from the lands. And for the River Dayi, it allows both aquatic plants and animals to be free from human disturbances on Fridays. 

  1. NKWANTA NORTH: Being one of the District Assembly within the Region with indigenous and settlers are the following tribes.
PEOPLE/TRIBE  FESTIVALS           PURPOSE
a. CHORKOSIAWASA It is celebrated in January and it is to welcome a New Year
b. KONKONBALINULJIL It is celebrated in August after  the harvest of the new yam. This festival is to welcome a new yam
c. KABRE KAENA       This is also celebrated in August to welcome a new  yam
d. KOTOKOLIADOSSAThis is celebrated to choose a  leader in times of War, Men are fortified and then engage in battle of knives during the festival and whoever survives the cut of the knife is selected to lead in times of war.
e. NAWULI ODAKPAIt is celebrated in December to  purify the gods of the land and it is done after the guinea corn harvest
f. BASARE 

 

 

NAPONTE GINGARIt is celebrated to welcome a  New Year. 

MARRIAGE IN KONKONBA 

Konkonba practice a polygamous marriage where a man can marry as many women as he can afford. This they claim is to have more hands to help in his farming activities and many children of both sexes to exchange for wives and inheritances. Four kinds of marriage are practiced under the polygamous system namely; infant betrothal (lipiichoil), exchange marriages (lipiikpeln), preferential marriage (libondeln), and widow inheritance (likpepiigaal).

With the infant betrothal, a baby girl aged from birth to ten years or sometimes yet to be born girl is betrothed or promised in marriage to a male who is her senior by a few years, or sometime much older. Two men who are friends may betroth their baby or a brother child to the friend and the gesture must be reciprocated by his friend.

The mother has no say when it comes to marriage under the betrothal and exchange marriage system. A man can take a married woman to be an in-law in waiting and this is made known to the woman’s husband and his kin. The process would then begin with the man having to engage in yearly farming, usually pepper or groundnut for his prospective mother in-law. If the first delivery is a girl, she automatically becomes the betrothed wife of the man otherwise he waits until a baby girl is delivered. 

As part of the bride price, the son in-law would each farming season send not less than ten young men to work on the father in-law’s farm. A piece of plot is usually allocated for him to complete work on it. This is to be done for nine consecutive years alongside the drink and paying for a pot of pito (nnyulicho dabuul) brewed by the mother in-law each year beginning from the sixth year of the girl. Other forms of bride price include payment of corn of any appreciable quantity and sending a pot of pito anytime there is funeral.

The Bichobob, Nankpando, and some Bimonkpem clans are noted for infant betrothal and exchange type of marriages.

Exchange marriage: is a system where two men exchange girls; the exchange maybe either sisters or daughters, actual or classificatory to the men. If the girls to be exchange are infants, they are commonly promised to youths who though exempt from paying bride price, still owe some service to the father in-law. Girl who reach puberty and are to be exchange are more likely to be given to older men. An old man with younger or no sons is especially like to change his daughter for a wife for himself sometimes against the wish of his wife who has no say as to which woman her husband can marry after her.

Arrange marriages are contracted through an agreement between two families to surrender their son or daughter into marital union. Often times the bride and the groom would be known to each other after all necessary rite have been performed. The groom is then asked to get to know his wife after which a date is fixed for marriage. The choice of a partner by parents is often acceptable to the children who consider it to be the best and the couple has no choice but to make their marriage work.

When such arrange marriages run into trouble, the two families actively take part in finding solutions to disputes. Clans noted for arranged marriage are; Bidondom, Bigbem, Benefieb, Kpaltiib, Sanguutiib, Kotoultiib and Chaaltiib.

Preferential marriages are also practice where an adult male has the option to choose his bride for himself, but only from the families favored by their parents. The choice to be made by the man is therefore his own, but he is limited by his parents to their preferred categories of kin. Unlike infant betrothal, under preferential marriage, the man makes live to the woman whiles she lives with the parent before an approach is made regarding marriage. If the parents of the woman accept the request, then the pride price is paid and the woman moves to join her husband. Any resistance by the woman’s parents would compel the man to elope with the woman after which respected men and women who are acceptable are sent to plead.

This is to demonstrate the groom’s respect for his in-laws. The girl’s parents would normally agree since their move is just to show how much their daughter is of value to them. It is also to test how much the man really loves their daughter to take her as a wife. A woman speaks of her husband’s clan as hers and in entering a family as wife stands in specified relations to the kin group to which her husband belongs. A bride is known in Konkomba as ochakpen. Konkomba say a woman does not marry one man. Indeed, a girl is sometimes betrothed not to a specific husband but to an elder who would give her to which ever of his sons old enough to marry. The practice shows that the marriage relation is conceived primarily as one between a woman and a family.

When the time is due for the bride to go to the husband, an elderly lady or a young man from her husband’s family is sent to go for her. She stays there between three to six days for more depending on the preparedness of the mother in-law to release her daughter. In many instance, the men would have to put pressure on the mother in-law to organize and see her daughter off. On the eve of their departure, the most senior man of the clan (uninkpel) would say a libation prayer in the evening to invoke the spirits of the ancestors and the clan gods for a safe journey, happy marriage and to open her womb for unlimited child delivery. They leave the next day around 5am without a luggage for the bride except a hand bag containing her personal effects. In some cases, the bride will pose some problems on the way if she does not accept the marriage. Since settlements are small communities apart, and about a half day journey, on foot, a bride may at a point ask to be allowed to attend natures call. In the process she crawls further and finds her way to different direction. She would normally join her lover she kept with whiles in the father’s house. The lover may send her back to the parents for the sake of peace but if he decides to elope with her, then conflict is an avoidable. After a week, the bride would have to wash all the young men’s (binachipom) clothing and they would in turn farm for her.

The final ceremony which demonstrates the bride’s relation to her husband’s clansmen in “nngaan lisamboln” which means a day of cooking. On this day, the bride, assisted by the sisters who visit her for the purpose, cook for the husband’s clansmen and their wives and children. Considerable quantities of food prepared from corn with meat from game and domestic animal are distributed on two successive days, all provided by the bride’s family especially the mother. The quantity of food distributed to each person marks the closeness of her relation to him or her and the status of the individual within the kin group. In general, one may say that the largest share go to the men most likely to inherit her should she be widowed. 

After the birth of a child, sexual intercourse is forbidden until the child can walk. If the parents indulge in intercourse it is believed that the child already born would die. On the other hand extra marital intercourse on the part of the mother is believed would not lead to the death of the baby though a child conceived in adultery would have difficulty giving birth to unless the mother mention the adulterous man. If the name of the lover is mentioned, the mid wife (umamaam) would communicate this to the woman’s husband who would also inform the most elderly person (uninkpel) of their community. The uninkpel would intend summon the young men (binachipom) and pass on the information to them. The adulterous woman’s husband would try to pay back by also making love to a woman on the other side and if the trend continues without attempts to halt and settle the issue, it may finally result in feud, ending up in clashes and loss of lives. A considerable number of women are pregnant when they go to their husband’s house as bride. This is understandable as they do not practice any form of contraception. There is a word obombo, which means a child who does not know its father or a lover’s child.

Konkomba believe that after a woman’s menstrual period the first man to have sexual intercourse with is responsible for any pregnancy that my result. They have no idea about menstrual cycle and ovulation. Husbands show no sign of the slightest displeasure at the pregnancy of a bride. Indeed, it is widely accepted that if a girl becomes pregnant by their lover the husband would get his wife sooner, together with the child, a situation which pleases most men. 

Children are closely monitored and care for by their mothers (nna) at a tender age until they are weaned. After that an elder sister if any of the baby’s mother’s sister becomes responsible in the child’s care when the mother is engaged.

Children are left to plat around the compound imitating their parents in their roles up to age six. They go into drumming and dancing, role of husband, wife and children with the men engaged in farming activities whiles the women carry, out house hold chores. From age seven, some of the boys become shepherd boys while others follow their senior to farm. The boys alternate on weekly basis as they believe that when shepherd boys are not introduce to farm work, they would grow up to be less industrious. The girl after age six plays a dual role by keeping a younger baby and also assisting her mother on her farm work and in the preparation of meals. 

The child has a close relation of the mother’s kin (weetiib). As a youth he occasionally visits his mother’s clan and plays a major role during funeral celebration and other rites. One of other role where that child can play a major role is a rite of child bearing where a perceived barren woman after going through the ritual is made to receive some whips from nephew of the clan. The belief is that barrenness is traceable to the woman because a man who is sexually active must have children with the wife. Otherwise the cause would be attributed to spiritual forces working against the family.

When one is rejected by the father’s kin serious misconduct such as rape or witchcraft, his next home would be the mother’s paternal home (weetiib). The weetiib has no choice but to accept the person as one of their own as any displeasure will remain a curse that no nephew can ever seek refuge with that clan and the infraction of this tradition would have dire consequences to the clan.

A child should be trained to work hard both on the farm and in the house. While respect and obedience is shown in behaviour towards adults in the house and outside. Children should be quick and ready to respond to the elders call and always greeting appropriately. Helping visitors and giving them hospitality are signs of a respectful and well brought up person. A male youth who earns a recommendation of being very respectful by two or more people is likely to be called by a parent and made a prospective son in-law or instantly given a betrothed wife.

The link between two men who have married women of the same clan is called nnaatoh and their children would be nnabo to each other. All women married into a family are called co-wives (yuantiib). All co-wives are expected to behave in a friendly and cooperative way to each other with their children and in their household and farm work. 

It is considered desired that a married woman should have one or more of family sisters living near her in her husband’s community. Women from the same clan marrying men within one family are maantotiib and maantoh, their friendliness and cooperativeness are intense. When a man dies, his wives have to observe a year or more in mourning during which time they would wear a white cord around the neck as a sign. It is believed that any man who lies with a woman wearing this white cord would die.

Widows necessarily observe a taboo on sexual relations until such time that their husband’s funeral ceremony is performed. The widows are inherited within the husband’s minor lineage and most frequently within the husband’s nuclear lineage.

There is no levirate among Konkomba, such that upon the death of her husband, the woman’s children with the second husband belong to him not to the first husband.

A man cannot inherit his own mother, nor does a man inherit the son’s wife. A woman married as a widow may become a senior wife in the household in which she is inherited if she is older than the present husband’s wife. When a man’s wife dies he does not have to go through any rites but would only on moral ground observe some quietude for the burial of his dead wife.

It is noted that the traditional family system has been undergoing a drastic re-evolution in the light of the changes in the value system. The introduction of new religion especially Christianity and Islam in the 19th century greatly impacted the traditional functions of the family.

The choice of marital partners, stability and marriage, the gradual decline of polygamy and the increasing nucleation of the family has become predominant. 

NB: this is the part of one of this research work which focuses more on the ways of marriage of the Konkomba. The later aspect will focus on the problems some of their ways of marriage pose to them. If more of the youths are still in accordance with these practices. This will take two perspectives; that is from the male perspective and the female perspective. 

  1. NKWANTA SOUTH: it is one of the Municipal Assembly in the Region with a lot of settlers and the indigenes. The settlers are the Konkombas, Ewes, Kotokolis, Kabre, Losso, Basari and Nawuli etc…….

The indegines tribes are as follow:

  1. Adele
  2. Challa
  3. Akyode
  4. Ntrube

The festivals celebrated by them are; 

  1. GIDIFON: The oral meaning is new yam which is the annual yam festival celebrated by the people of Adele in the Oti Region of Ghana; to welcome the new yam after their harvest often their major farming seasons.

And it is a taboo for the Adele people if the rituals are not performed to welcome the new yam nobody in the Adele land would not eat it until it is performed. 

The Adele as an ethnic group that has a unique culture, which is very important to socio-cultural development. The origin of the blessing bestowed on the Efuroko Stool. It is a belief that the crops are imbued with supernatural powers before consumed, the powers that had been specially being for “Efuroko” Stool and ancestors might feel slighted. Therefore its consumption become taboo and instant death or other calamities await any Adele and any stranger within the traditional area for that matter and necessary that year. They acknowledge the stool and the supernatural being in the festival. The yam festival is celebrated from August to September every year. The Gidofon festival is therefore meant for religious and social event, it is also used to state matters and act of charity for orphans, aged, widows and more helpless people in the society. Also the occasion is the renewal of the blessing of the stool and ancestor spirits with thanks giving. There is also drumming and dancing among others during the festival and welcome new yam with hope, confidence and peace. The chief priest usually meets at Dadiase and plan for the date for the customs and celebration of festivals. All chief priests go back and gather some tubers of yam to “Dikpogo” on the mountain top, and up their they pay homage to the ancestors in the shrine at the place with a special food prepared with yam mashed called “Ego or Aposie” in two colours white and red; whilst the white is for the living and the red for the ancestors. From Dikpogo all chief priests go back and do the same thing in their community, in the community the “aposie” prepared but pouring libation, killing of animals and used the meat of slaughtered animals for yam fufu; the aposie should be spread at all corners of the community. 

Evening, after eating, all kind of traditional dances and drumming are performed. Such as ogyege, atrikpe and didutebye dances can also be performed at funerals, outdooring, marriage and festivals. 

ORIGIN OF ADELE

Adeles are Guans by origin and migrated from Benin to Tog under the King Agorkoli leadership. Seven men escaped from him to a place called Digikpa and from there three went to Togo and four to Ghana, that’s why there are Adeles in Togo and Ghana respectively. 

The current chief of Adele in Ghana is known as Nana Anto Opoku the paramount chief and the seat is located at Tutukpene.  

  1. CHALLA:

The people of challa migrated from Eastern part of Nigeria to Ghana in Amurifa around the Kyobobo Mountain. They divided themselves into groups to settle at different areas in the present Nkwanta south Municipality. Odomi, Keri and Kue and some move to Togo and Benin. 

FESTIVAL:

Malader is a festival celebrated by the people of Challa to praise the gods, this is done every year in December/January. They have good days and bad days. When the good day falls in bad days, then, they celebrate it in January and it is done in their different homes personally. 

This is celebrated to thank their gods for good harvest and also taking care of the old people and twins and give promise for the new year on that day with presenting working tools such as hoes, cutlasses, guns and many more for blessing. 

From “Challa Togo” the food they eat most is millet, which is grounded on a stone and use for meal.

Language is challa but they are Guans. Paramount chief is Nana Okusu II being the past while the present chief is Nana Kanawu Kyedre Addo III and their seat is located at Odomi.

iii. GYOGYIBELE: is the annual yam festival celebrated by the people of Akyode, in the       Oti Region of Ghana. The Akyode as ethnic has a unique culture which is very important to socio-economic development.

The origin of the celebration is at where the gods has allocated them. So, the chiefs have to acknowledge the fetish priest of Brukum stool. Brukum then blesses the wild yam and change it to normal yam with varieties which produce big tubers. It is believed that the crop is ambushed with supernatural powers before consuming it. Its consumption becomes a taboo when not blessed by Brukum stool, instant death or other calamities await any Akyode person or stranger in the community or traditional area. For this matter it has become necessary that every year they acknowledge the stool and super natural being during the festival.

The yam festival is celebrated every year from August to October. The Gyogi or yam festival is therefore both a religious and social event and it is also used to settle disputes and ask for charity for the aged, widows, orphans and other needs.

It is an occasion for the renewal of the blessing of the stool and the ancestral spirit thanksgiving. 

There is also feasting, drumming and dancing among the people during the festival. After celebration the embrace a special day called Gekpaga is set aside for the cleansing of the stool and announce the date of the gyogible to the citizens (native). Indigenous villages and other Akyode communities will dance throughout the night. The following day a special yam is prepared and mashed into consumption called Gyofanya. This Gyofanya is then carried to the durbar ground.

The Gebunonowura called overall chief priest pour libation to the ancestors and offers them the gyofunye, after the libation, all the divisional chiefs and sub-chiefs take oath to the overall chief priest, music and dancing follow till the following day. 

It is also important for the paying of homage to the ancestor’s shrines at the various groves, Brukum in shrine gegon in Chilinga and Gegyoga in Abrewankor.

Type of dance for Akyode Gagyebe is ogyege. The dance can be displayed at outdooring, funeral and festivals. Types of food; konkonte, yam fufu, amorogbi and kpakro. Cloths is animals’ skin and calico.

Akyode paramount site is shrine. The paramount is Nan Obonbowura Sewura Lupowura.

Akyode are Guans. These people migrated into the volta valley from Mossi region of Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. The Akyode language is called Gikyode’ the migrants divided into two, some in Ghana and others in Togo. There is a custom about Akyode.

When a woman gives birth in Akyode land the custom does not allow her sleep on a comfortable bed till the umbilical cord removed from the child, the mother does not eat any good food except “kpakoro”.

The rituals caused about a slave woman who was abandoned when giving birth and after birth no food and bed through that she died. Before she died, she swore that “Any man or woman who delivered must not have any good food except Kpakoro and also no comfortable bed for the person to sleep on before he or she has baby alive.

So now if an Akyode man marries a stranger woman, the man is to perform the Sacrifice or else the child will die.   

  1. BIAKOYE DISTRICT:

The propel of Biakoye District are Guans and has five predominant tribes such as Nkonya, Bowiri, Akan, Ewe and other settler. (Hausas, Barares, Kabres, Kotokolis). The major languages spoken are Guan, Twi and Ewe. Unlike the Guans, the Ewes are found mostly in communities along the Volta Lake. Other group includes the Hausa, Basare, Kotokoli and Kabre reside in the district with major dialects spoken are Nkonya, Twi, Tiwuli and Akporsor.

Also there are five traditional areas in the district which are

  1. Bowiri, 2. Tapa, 3. Akposo,    . Nkonya    and   5. Worawora.
  1. a) BOWIRI PEOPLE: the people of Bowiri migrated from Moree in the Central Region of Ghana. Bawuli is the name but now called Bowiri.

FESTIVAL: FUSSIKUR is the traditional festival and it is celebrated to

commemorate the migration of Bawuli (Bowiri People) from their ancestral home of Moree in the Central Region of Ghana to their present location, Bowiri

Amanforo/Moree New Town). It is celebrated annually during the first quarter of the year between February and March and it is a week-long celebration.

Activities for the event are:

The first Friday is confinement of chiefs, Queen mothers and Priests.

Tuesday is the day of wailing

Wednesday is the day of sharing Traditional good.

Second Friday is the day of cleansing and purification of Black Stools.

Thursday is the day of trip to old settlement and shrines on Mountain Fortorkpa. 

Saturday is Grand durbar of chiefs and people of Bowiri Amanforo. 

The Durbar procession starts from the palace through the principal streets of the capital. The people move in order of their towns and clans each carrying the Divisional chief in a palanquin. These are led by the Asofo Groups amidst drumming, singing, dancing and musketry.

After all have converged at the Durbar Ground, the Omanhene approach is announced and his palanquin is the last to arrive at the Durbar Ground.

The Senior priest pours libation to invoke the ancestral spirit and declares the durbar open, as the celebration lamp is slaughtered. 

The divisional chiefs and Queen mothers pay their homage to the Omanhene (Okatakyie Nana Kwame Adom) who wishes them his blessing and pledges his support to them. 

Invited guests and dignitaries are permitted to pay homage to the Omanhene. After all messages are read, the Omanhene State Address is heard and then comes when the Asafo group through very spectacular Asafo dancing to portray their bravery and the security of the Bowiri Kingdom. 

All social and religious groups also take part in this all important Durbar. 

THE BORIWIMAN FESTIVAL

Hyirebo

Period:  Annual festival that rounds up the Oman calendar and celebrated in  the first week of April.

Significance:  The Hyirebo Afahye is the national festival of the Moree Amanforo  (Mmowere New State Guans) in the Biakoye District of the Volta Region. The celebration of this festival commemorates peace and sanctity. Truly it is the celebration of peace and the sanctification of the state to ensure progress unity and continuity in the land the good God gave to our ancestors.

LINE UP OF ACTIVITIES: IT IS A WEEK LONG CELEBRATION AS FOLLOWS: 

Sunday:  All non-residents return home to prepared for the celebration.  
Monday:Meeting and communal labour in the various towns and communities.
Tuesday:       

 

 

It is the Great Taboo day and no laborious work is done in the fields.  Only family/clan meeting are carried out.
Wednesday: 

 

 

Wailing day: the people in all towns “wail” their fallen and departed  heroes and loved ones. Various morning rituals are performed in all  clans.  
Thursday:  Eating ceremony: all families feast by eating and drinking. Animals  are slaughtered for this purpose.
Friday: Climaxing the feast is the Washing and Smearing of white clay. At  dawn all the families, women and children first, then men last bath in the river to signify cleansing. This is followed by the White Clay Smearing all over their bodies to signify sanctification. By now all the people arrive from the various towns amidst drumming and singing of festival songs. Huge processions by clans and towns converge at the durbar ground. The Paramount Chief (Omanhene) and his Divisional Chiefs receive ovation from their subjects. The durbar activities include speeches, and address by the quest speaker. An appeal for funds is made to raise money for social development. Various dance groups perform to entertain the large gathering. By evening the durbar is brought to an end. 
Sunday: Thanks-giving day: An interdenominational thanks-giving service is  organized to glorify God in honour of His sovereignty over his own  people-Bowiris.

HISTORY OF HYIREBO

When the Mmowere Alata Guans (Moree Alata) conquered the land they now live in and name it Mmowere Amanforo (Moree Amanforo) meaning Mmowere New State because they had migrated from an existing Mmowere State and founded a new Mmowere state (Mmowere New Town). They instituted this festival as a proclamation of the Mmowere OManforo (Bowiri Amanforo) state and it has remained so ever since.

TAPA TRADITIONAL AREA

BRIEF HISTORY OF FRIKOOSO FESTIVAL

  1. Frikooso Afahye is celebrated annually by the Akan (Twi) speaking people of the Tapa Traditional area in the Biakoye District of the Volta Region.
  2. The Ashantis first invaded this territory with their forces in 1869. Their attack was repulse by the people of Tapa, by rolling stones on the Ashanti forces from the top of the mountain on which the Tapas settled killing and maiming most of them.
  3. The Ashantis came back a second time led by one Kwame Agyepong with a large force in 1873. This was after the Tapas had refused to give items of homage to the Kwahu bearers of Asantehene.
  4. Frikooso a low hill 3Km north of Tapa Abotoase was the battlefield where the people of Tapa, Worawora, Buem, Bowiri, Asato and other allied forces met the Ashanti invading forces. The battle was the fiercest and bloodiest in the history of Tapas and their allies. It claimed the lives of many of our ancestors as well as the lives of the Ashanti invading forces.
  5. The Tapas and the allied forces eventually won the battle and drove the Ashanties back to their Kingdom. The people of Akroso helped to ferry the Ashanti forces across the Volta River and Asukawkaw River. For fear of crossing the rivers, the Ashantis did not pursue expansion of their Kingdom in the area again.
  6. However, after the Frikooso battle, the Ashantis cleverly, connived with Krachi Dente shrine and captured the paramount chiefs of the Tapas, Nana Kwabena Kwaakye (dubbed Kakye) and took him and his retinue of Kumasi.
  7. Krachi Dente was the most powerful fetish shrine at the time which was consulted by Ashantis and people form far and near. Therefore, when the priest invited Nana Kwabena Kwaakye (Kakye) to the shrine, Nana readily obliged. The Ashantis laid ambush and captures Nana and his retinue to Kumasi.
  8. A large swarm of bees followed Nana Kwaakye and his retinue to Kuamsi and hanged in all the trees under which Nana and his people were arraigned before the Asantehene, Kofi Karikari. When the Ashantis saw the bees, they knew there was danger ahead. Nana Kwaakye (Kakye) was asked to narrate his history. Nana traced the history of his people that they were Ashantis who first settled at Buabenso and then Akrosfuom in Adansi state and served the Adansihene Nana Kwaframoa Yenkyemadu. Nan Kwakye’s ancestors migrated from Adansi during the DenkyiraAshani/Adansi war (1697 – 1701) to Akyem Abuakwa (Kyebi) to Atibie Kwahu and through the Afram Plins to our present abode.
  9. The Asantehene saw that Nana Kwaakye and his people were his own subjects therefore Nana Kwaakye and his people were set free. The Asantehene congratulated him and gave him some stool regalia including a palanquin, a state umbrella and a sword of office. 9 men and a woman to help breed and to replace the lost in the battles. Nana Kwaakye was made his Asantehene’s Nifahene and charged him with the responsibility of leading the Akans living beyond the Volta.
  10. The name Tapa was adopted by our ancestors from the top of the mountain where they first settled. They saw that the top of the mountain was flat (a plateau) so they said in Twi “aha ye tata paa” out of it came Tapa which was pre-fixed to all our towns and villages formed there-after.
  11. The people of Tapa Traditional Area celebrate this festival with their allied neighbours to commemorate and remember their ancestors for their bravery, bloodshed and sacrifices to give us this land and our freedom.

AKPOSO – GUAN FESTIVALS

The main festival of the Akposos, is the annual Akposo OVAZU festival. It is an annual harvest festival for the Fonio Crop (Digitaria Leptorhachis) which is locally called “OVA”. 

Harvesting of the “OVA” crops stars in October and ends in December. The Ovazu festival is therefore celebrated between the months of October and December and also a thanksgiving festival during which thanks are given to Uwolowu / Ayanuva, the Almighty God; and also to the Seven (7) principal Akposo gods amongs which is Wetu, the biggest of the Akposo deities. 

Other minor festivals include yam festival which is usually celebrated at the clan or family level. It is also a harvest and thanksgiving festival. There are also festivals for smaller gods / deities by the people of particular towns or clans/ families. 

The seven (7) Kposo gods have separate dates on which the worshipers celebrate them annually and pray for better times in the coming year.

Some Akposo – Guan towns and villages where these festivals may be observed include Akposokubi, Akposo Kabo, Akposo Oklabe, Akposo Alifi, Akposo Obeve (Asukawkaw), Akposo Okanease and Akposo Akloklowa.

WORAWORA

Tradition confirms that the founding fathers of Worawora in the Oti Region originally belonged to the Kuntenase group of people who emerged from Asantemanso near Asumegya. Therefore, they are Akan people.

FESTIVAL:

The Akwantutenten festival is an annual festival celebrated by the chiefs and people of Worawoa in the Biakoye District in the Oti Region of Ghana and they are Akans. The festival is usually celebrated in September.

This festival is celebrated to mark the exodus of the people of Worawora who migrated from Kuntunase in the Ashanti land to their current abode. The festival involves a pilgrimage to their former settlements up the hills where they overlook the hills at which foot where their present settlement location.

 

NKONYA: 

The people of Nkonya are located in the Biakoye district in the Oti Region. Nkonya Ahenkro is the district capital and the rest of the towns are Tayi Nchumuru, Ntumada, Wurupong, Tepo, Ahodwo, Asikyibe, Bumbulla.

FESTIVAL:

ADEAKWASI DEA: This is celebrated six week down the calendar from on Adea for the remembrance of their ancestors, (past heroes and leaders).

THE KRACHIS: In Oti Region, there are three districts of Krachi, which are the Krachi East with its capital Dambai, Krachi Nchumuru with its capital Chinderi and Krachi West with its capital Kete – Krachi. 

The oral history of Krachi people of Oti Region were Esti people who lived somewhere near Awutu on the coast. They migrated to Larteh Akuapem to join a number of Guan speaking people who had established pocket communities there. At Larteh, they became heavily indebted to Akyem overlords who used to send messengers to collect tributes in the form of anything which they favoured.  

Because of these exactions, they divided to pull out, when they noticed by the Akyem overlords who teased them by saying “Ka-akye-won” meaning they had become insolvent. It was a corruption of this statement that the people had the name Ka-Akye, anglicized  Krachi of today.

Krachi is an amalgamation of Guan origin from Larteh and Prang.

Gyamboae clan were the first to settle on the land, hence the head chief became the land owner who exercised much control over other chiefs of Krachi, however the chiefs in turn appeared to be independent of one another and ruled their respective traditional clans. It is broadly true to say that before the Germans took over the administration of Togo (1896), Krachi was a well – organized state and dominated with the superstitious influence of Fetish Dente. The Priest exercised theocratic rule over the chiefs and the people.

The Krachi speak of the deity as OKESEPONG (Greate Okese).

Its original home used to be at Larteh Akuapem, but the Dente Spirit vanished under mysterious circumstances and came to reside permanently at Krachi.

In 1887 a young girl, Korkor, at Larteh became possessed by the Fetish Dente who expressed his wish to return to Larteh his original home to revive the dwindling fortunes of the deity. Since it onvolved certain barbaric rituals, she was prevented by the authority. The ban virtually sounded the death knell of the deal. Famed for its miracle in those days, the dente Fetish became protector of a number of hostages known as AKABUFO who fled from their oppressors to seek for refuge and were settled at KeteKrachi, Boamator and other places, except Kantakofore which was the residents of Krachi royals. 

FESTIVALS: 

Yam festival for all the Krachi people as their annual festival to welcome the new yam and thanksgiving for good harvest. The celebration is in September every year. During the celebration, they showcase their cultural heritage with a lot of social activities. 

Krachiwura, the chief of Krachi Nana Mprah Besemuna III always climax a weeklong celebration at the durbar.  

Further, about the chiefs and their governance structure in the communities are the same. Ranging from the Paramount chief to Divisional and Sub-divisional chiefs to Adikrofo and elders. And assisted by their Queen mothers. 

RELIGIONS: The people of Oti are classified in the three main religions in the country such as Christian, Islamic and Traditional religions, just that the Christian religion dominated with a lot of Christian denomination in the Region compared to the rest two religions.

GAMES: 

People of Oti engaged in some traditional outdoor games like Ampe, Alikoto, Oware, Chempe, Zanzama, Alasa, Pilolo and Chaskele.

CONCLUSION:

 This research has pointed out some traditional values, traditions and cultural heritage in the Oti Region. 

It has also projected their importance in terms of social, cultural, heritage, religious and political life of the people. As cultural heritage and traditions are the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that community, groups and some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. 

These are manifested in the following domains:

  1. Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage.
  2. Performing arts.
  3. Social practices, rituals and festive events.
  4. Knowledge and practices concerning nature and universe
  5. Traditional cuisine and craftsmanship of ownership of cultural property.

Planning is about foreseeing the future and making provisions for it. It is in this direction that the needs and aspirations of the Oti Region being an infant stage of development were brought together through a very participatory way by involving the major stakeholders at all stage of gathering this information. 

TRADITONAL FESTIVALS CELEBRATED – OTI

NO. FESTIVALS DISTRICTS PEOPLE PERIOD PURPOSE
1LISSIBIAKOYEBOWIRIAUGUST/SEPTMARK GOOD HARVEST
2ADEA & AKWASIDEABIAKOYENKONYA6 WEEKS. LAST 42 DAYS TO END THE YEARCELEBRATION TO & REMEMBER THE DEAD AND THE PAST HEROES AND LEADERS
3AKWANTUTENTENBIAKOYEWORAWORAOCTOBERMIGRATION FROM KUNTUNASE IN THE ASHANTI
4YAA ASANTEWAA OVAZUBIAKOYEAKPESOANNUALLY HARVEST TIMEREMEMBRANCE OF THE DEAD.  9PAST HEROES AND LEADERS
5FRIKOSUOBIAKOYETAPA – AMANYA ABOTUASEOCTOBERMARK THE BATTLE VICTORY ON MOUNTAIN
6YAM FIBIAKOYENKONYASSEPT – OCTHARVEST OF NEW YAM
7SENKYEBABIAKOYENKONYASNOV – DEC.CROSSING THE SENKYE RIVER BY THE ANCESTORS
8FUSIKOR / HYIREHBOBIAKOYEBAWIRIVARIES FROM TWON TO TOWN ANNUALLYHEROES & LEADERS
9DAWUROKESEKADJEBIKADJEBIEVERY THREE (3) YEARS’ TIMEBRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER
 

 

10

AKWASIDEAKESE KUNTUKUNUKADJEBIALLTHE LAST 42 DAYS TO END THE YEARREMEMBRANCE OF HEROES AND LEADERS
11AWASANKWANTA NORTHCHORKOSIJANUARYWELCOME NEW YEAR
12LINULJILNKWANTA NORTHKONKOMBAAUGUSTHARVEST OF NEW YAM
13KAENANKWANTA NORTHKABREAUGUSTWELCOME NEW YAM
14ADOSSANKWANTA NORTHKOTOKOLIPERIOD DECIDED BY THE GODS  CELEBRATION TO CHOOSE A LEADER IN TIME OF WAR
15ODAKPANKWANTA NORTHNAWULIDECEMBERPURIFY THE GODS AFTER GUINEA CORN HARVEST
16NOPONTE GINGARNKANTA NORTHBASAREJANUARYWELCOME NEW YEAR
17NANABAKRACHI- WESTKETE KRACHIPERIOD DECIDED BY THE GODSHONOUR THEIR GODS
18YAM FESTIVALKRACHI -WESTENTIRE (ALL)SEPTEMBERANNUAL HARVEST OF NEW YAM
19AKWASIDAEKRACHI – WESTKETE KRACHITHE LAST 42 DAYS TO END THE YEARBRING TOGETHER THE CHIEFS AND THE PEOPLE
20ODWIRAKRACHI – EASTASU KAWKAWAUGUST TO SEPTWELCOME NEW YAM ANNUALLY
21YAM EDWOKEGYIKRACHI – EASTCHONKENOVEMBERWELCOME NEW YAM ANNUALLY AT BORAI-NCHUMURU
22KIDIBOMNKWANTA SOUTHNTRUBOS 

 

OCTOBER

TO PROMOTE UNITY AMONG THE PEOPLE
23MALADENKWANTA SOUTHCHALLASMARCH/APRILTHANK THEIR ANCESTORS FOR BUMPER GIUNEA CORN HARVEST
24GIDIFONNKWANTASOUTHADELESAUGUST/SEPT.WELCOME NEW YAM ANNUALLY
25GYOGYIBLENKWANTA SOUTHAKYODESOCT/NOVTHANK GOD FOR GOOD HARVEST
26KABRABI YAMKRACHI -NCHUMURUANYINAMAESEPTWELCOME NEW YAM
27SONKORKRACHI –NCHUMURUBEJAMSEAPRILWELCOME NEW YAM
28CHONKE YAMKRACHI NCHUMURUBORAENOVEMBERWELCOME NEW YAM ANNUALLY
29GUINEA CORNKRACHI NCHUMURUKAKRAKAJANUARYPURIFY GODS FOR HARVEST
30YAMJASIKANBUEMSSEPTEMBERWELCOME NEW YAM ANNUALLY

CULTURAL OR TOURIST SITES IN THE OTI REGION – DAMBAI

NO SITES NAME LOCATION DISTRICT REMARKS
1VOLTA LAKENKONYA – AHODWOBIAKOYEWATER TRANSPORT
2VOLCANIC LAKETOWUROPONG NKONYA TAYIBIAKOYEFISH FARMING TOURIST SITE
3SHRINES & FETISH HOMESNKONYA NTUMDABIAKOYEFOREST RESERVATION TOURIST SITE
4RIVER ETIKPE (RIVER COVERED WITH VEGETATION AND LOOKS LIKE FOOTBALL PITCH)NKONYA TAYIBIAKOYEHEALTH HOME AND TRADITIONAL MEDICINE
5KABO FOREST RESERVENKONYA NTUMDABIAKOYERELAXATION AND SIGHT SEEING
6MONKEY SANCTUARYNTUMDA – ADZAMANSABIAKOYEFOREST RESRVATION, TOURIST SITE
7OTOLILI ODUMASE OTO RANGEBOWIRI – ODUMASEBIAKOYEFOREST RESRVATION, TOURIST SITE
8ANCIENT GRAVES OF DINOSAURS CAVES OF ANCIENT TIGERS HISTORICAL EARTHENWARE POTSNKONYA – ASAKYIRIBIAKOYEPRESENCE OF MINERALS DEPOSITS UNTAPPED/ SIGHT SEEING RELAXATION AND SIGHT SEEING
 

 

9

TOMBS OF UNKNOWN GERMANS WHO DIED IN THE COLONIAL PERIODNKONYA BUMBULLABIAKOYEHISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE
10STONE CAVEBAKPA-PAPASEKADJEBIHISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE
11OBULETEY CAVEASATOKADJEBIHISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE
12CROCODILE PONDKORUKADJEBITOURIST SITE
13EMBROIDED INSCRIPTION ON A ROCKBUTABEKADJEBIHISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE
14VOLTA LAKEDAMBAI-ASUKAWKAWKRACHI-EASTWATER TRANSPORTATION
15OTI RIVERDAMBAIKRACHI-EASTFISHING FARMING
16ASUPIN WATER FALLSADUMADUMKRACHI-EASTFISHING FARMING
17R/C SACRED SITE GHLOTOTOKUROANUKRACHI-EASTPRAYERS 
18FERRYDAMBAIKRACHI-EASTTOURIST ATTRACTION
19SHRINES AND FETISH HOMESKETE- KRACHIKRACHI-WESTHEALING AND TRADITIONAL MEDICINES
20AIR STRIPKETE- KRACHIKRACHI-WESTMODE OR AIR TRANSPORTATION ACROSS TOWNS TOURIST SITE
21SHIARI WATER FALLSSHIARINKWANTA SOUTHTOURIST SITE
22KYABOBO MOUNTAINODOMENKWANTA SOUTHTOURIST SITE AND SIGHT SEEING
23BREAST MOUNTAINKUENKWANTA SOUTHTOURIST SITE AND SIGHT SEEING
24KYABOBO NATIONAL PARKODOMENKWANTA SOUTHWILDLIFE AND TOURIST SITE
25MOUNTAIN CAVEJASIKANJASIKANTOURIST SITE AND SIGHT SEEING
26WATER-COMB TREEJASIKANJASIKANTOURIST SITE AND SIGHT SEEING
27KUTE WATER FALLSKUTEJASIKANTOURIST SITE
28WHITE CLAYBUDADAJASIKANARTIFACTS
29ANCESTRAL UTENSILS MADE OF STONESODUMASIJASIKANTOURIST SITE
30ANCESTRAL UTENSILS MADE OF STONESDZOLUJASIKANTOURIST SITE

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