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The Crime of Being A Dangme In Ghana

I am tempted to ask this question because it appears that all is not well with the dangme people in Ghana. Day in and day out I ask this question and I have prayed enough to reverse the trend with a lot of tongues speaking but nothing seems to change.In fact the dangme land is full of conflict from chieftaincy issues all the way to the family system. The youth are changing their surnames and pretend not to understand the language. If you speak the Krobo language to your colleague he or she will pretend not to understand and will prefer to speak the twi language.

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What is actually wrong with our people? It appears the youth refusal to speak the dialect and changing their surnames is all about the leaders and some parents irresponsibility’s to take care of their children, I know you reader you are also aware of this development in the dangme land but we cannot change our parents and our identity we are dangme people born with dangme blood!
Well for me am a dangme Man and proud to be a dangme man. I am made of a dangme gene and a dangme . What are you made of? I am made of a dangme gene.

Are the dangme people also endangered species as I may put it as everything is going against them just like the way black men are labeled as endangered species and more prone to prostate cancer. Hahahahaaaaaaaaaaa!

According to oral history, the people of Ada, who are called Dangmeli, are believed to have migrated from Tagologo near Shai-Osodoku in the Shai-Osudoku district. It has been estimated that several hundred years ago they initially settled at a place called Okorwhem in the south-western part of the district. After several years of inhabitancy, part of the people decided to move downwards to Togbloku and settled there. While staying at Togbloku, the founder of the Kudzragbe clan, Torgbe Adela Atsu discovered that Big Ada was a good place to stay and the Dangmeli and Togbloku people inhabited the area.

Ada,according to oral history backed by many historical edifices, was founded by an Adangbe man known as Lomowe jointly with an Ewe man known as TogbeHaviEtse( who is also the founder of the Kudzragbe clan of Ada).There exist authorities of oral history (concerning this particular facts) in Ada who could be contacted for further verification I learnt. In the olden days the people of Ada spoke two languages i.e. Ewe and Agdangbe. Ewe language was mainly spoken in the evening/night whiles Dangbe was spoken during the day.

Organization
The Dangme East District is conveniently located off the main connecting road between the Ghanaian capital of Accra and the Togolese capital of Lomé. Its proximity to Accra (about 120 km distance) and the good connection with public transport make the district an obvious holiday and short-trip location. The quality of the road is good compared to similar roads around the country. Away from the main roads, tourists without their own transportation can get around easily with car or motorcycle taxis or boats. Since there are no schedules or regular routes transport is less predictable but in general a lot faster and better adjusted to the passengers needs.
Approaching from the Volta Region, passengers can cross the river with the ferry that connects Anyanui and Ada Foah twice on market day every Wednesday.
Electricity and water supply was broadly introduced in the district in the 1990s which accelerated tourism development considerably

Countryside
The district’s coconut palm fringed coastline is 45 kilometers long and provides a living to many people that are employed in fishing and fish processing. However, this coastline is constantly being eroded by the strong tidal waves that are washing away or threatening several villages that are located close to the beach. In order to solve this problem, the construction of a sea defense wall is under way since 2010.

The long, sandy beaches are certainly some of the most important tourist attractions. However, there are certain obstacles such as the lack of toilets in the villages close to the beach and the consequence of using the beach as such. Also, garbage – mostly plastic – is piling up at the beach, some of it disposed there, some washed up from the sea by the tide.

Volta River Estuary
Ooh boy you will love this place as I paid a visit to the place and forget the Castro incidence and visit the place just make sure you obey instructions and I lodge at the Komodji guest house and I slept very well. Theplace dey be k3k3

Apart from the sandy beaches, another natural attraction in the district is the Volta River and its estuary. The Volta River forms the eastern boundary of the district before it reaches the Gulf of Guinea. The islands in the river and in the estuary are a wildlife paradise: marine turtles, birds, crocodiles and monkeys are some of the animals living there. The mangrove vegetation in the salty parts of the estuary is another attraction and an important ecosystem. It is however endangered by human activity along with rare animals that are often hunted down.
The estuary also offers the best conditions for water sports like sailing, canoeing, fishing, water skiing, wake boarding and jet skiing.

Another important water body and one of the most important salt mining areas in the country is the Songor Lagoon. Additional to visiting it and learning about salt mining it serves as a base for birdwatchers.

Weather
Temperatures are high throughout the year, ranging from 23 to 33°C, but the sea has a cooling effect. Rainfall is generally heavy during the major seasons between March and September. However, during the harmattan season the area is very dry with no rainfall at all. In general, humidity is very high due to the proximity of the sea, the Volta River and other water bodies.

Demographics

Because 82% of the population lives in rural areas the pressure on the land and on the resources is growing. Consequently, many young people are moving away from the district for the lack of job opportunities. The development of the district towards a tourism destination is expected to help reducing youth unemployment and change this migration trend. For this purpose special Youth Employment Programs have been put in place to provide youth with community jobs such as teaching assistants, health workers, environmental aids and agricultural workers.
The majority of the population works in theinformal sector. Apart from commercial salt mining companies that employ about 300 people at the Songor lagoon there are no bigger companies employing the local population.

Social security
There is no social security system in place that would help people with no income such as unemployed, children and senior citizens. So far, the traditional system of family support is still working in rural areas but gradually losing its basis as more and more young people move to the cities and turn away from the extended families, having only few children themselves.

Wellbeing
To combat the major health issues in the country a National Health Insurance Scheme (Ghana) was introduced in 2003 to ensure that all inhabitants have the possibility to contract a health insurance at a reasonable price. Only 3 years after the implementation, already 56% of the inhabitants of the district are covered by the health insurance.

Education
Although there are a high number of schools in the district, in the recent years a lack of pre-school facilities could be noted. This has been addressed and plans are in place to solve this problem.

Language
The local language in the Dangme East District is Dangme, also called Adangme. It is a Kwa language and is spoken by people in the Dangme East and Dangme West District. English is also spoken by nearly everyone since it is the official language of the country. Many people also speak Twi, and some Ewe (to communicate with neighboring people of the Volta Region who may speak Ewe).

Culture
The district capital Ada Foah, is located at the beach and river estuary. Ada Foah is also the major town and serves as the economic hub for the district. The Other major towns in the district are Big Ada and Ada Kasseh. The biggest event in the district is the annual Asafotufiam festival that draws big crowds of mostly domestic tourists to Big Ada and Ada Foah. Funerals also play a big role with their loud and colorful celebrations that take place every weekend. In general, religion and its practice – either Christian or traditional – are present in everyday life and can be witnessed by tourists. Especially the Taditional African shrines, Traditional African priest and celebrations present an interesting insight into typical African and Ghanaian life.

Local handicrafts such as basket weaving, pottery and rum distilling are carried out at various places in the district and sold on the markets. Salt mining was once the main economic actitivities of the indigenous till part of the Songho was sold to a private company. The art of building specially shaped coffins is a common and unique practice carried out in the district. Depending on the profession of the deceased, the coffin can be of the shape of a fish (fisherman), book (teacher) or sewing machine (tailor), to name but a few. Local food like (Makunkeluei – banku and tilapia) (Otim – Kenkey) and sometimes Fufu can be purchased at numerous places in the district. As in the whole country the people are well known for their hospitality and openness towards strangers. Less I forget the oysters and catfish to give you some selenium and omega -3 fatty acids.

Tourism
Asafotufiami Festival
Fetish shrines and priests
Traditional handicraft such as basket weaving, fishing, pottery, rum distillery, special coffins, tailors
Funerals and church ceremonies
Old trading fort at the seaside
Presbyterian Church and missionary cemetery
Markets in Kasseh and Ada Foah
Beaches along the coast and the river
Volta River Estuary
Songor lagoon
Sea turtle watching
Monkey and bird watching
Monthly Beach Soccer event
Monthly symposium on the ferry on topics such as education, tradition and health
Annual boat race on the Volta River

SE OR SHAI PEOPLE
The history of my people Seis a fascinating story of perseverance and resilience. The Se is part of a larger group of people known as the Ga-Dangme. The Ga-Dangme settled in the Accra plains, which include the capital of Ghana. The Ga-Dangme now occupy the Greater Accra Region of Ghana and are made up of the Se, Klo, Ningo, Kpong, Osu, Krobo, Gbugla, Ada and Ga.

Oral history documents that the Ga-Dangmes [Se, Klo, Ada, Osudoku, Gbugla (Prampram) and Ningo] migrated from Israel through Egypt and Southern Sudan, settling for a period of time at Simeh in Niger and then at Ileife in Nigeria. In the year 1100 A.D. they migrated again to Dahomey, Togo and later settled in Huatsi, where they stayed for a short time.

From Huatsi, they traveled to the eastern banks of the River Volta, originally named Jor. They managed to cross the Volta at a place between Old Kpon and Akuse, establishing settlements on the plains of Tag-logo, where they remained until 1200 A.D. They later migrated to the plains of Lorlorvor, between the Lorlorvor and Osudoku Hills.

Archaeological research at the ancient site of Se has shown that their settlement was already in existence by AD 1300 and that it had expanded into large townships by the 1500s. The Se witnessed marvelouswealth and development during the 16th and 17th centuries, primarily due to coastal trade with Europeans.

The Se kingdom continued to embellishment in the private Se (Shai) highland fortress until the end of the 19th century. A number of Basel Missionaries who visited the Se (Shai) hills verified eyewitness books on the government, culture, architecture, and pottery traditions of the locals. One missionary who visited Se (Shai) in 1853 recorded in his diary, “The Shai people are well-known potters and as one who knows something of pottery making, I was astonished how they make pots, as beautifully round as if they were turned on a potter’s wheel”.
It is in the area of herbal medicine, however, that the historic Dangme have left a most important legacy for Ghana as well as the world. According to archival records of the late 18th century, two Danish scientists, Paul Isert and Peter Thonning, researched Shaiethnomedicine. They composed some 2000 plant specimens, which were sent to Professor Martin Vaal of the Botany Faculty at Copenhagen University. Marked samples were distributed to herbaria throughout the world such as Britain, Denmark, France, Holland, Germany and Russia. Many of the wild and cultivated medicinal and nutritional plants collected and studied by Isert and Thonning from the Se in the Accra plains are still well-known and used by present day herbalists and nutritionists.

Throughout the 18th century and first half of the 19th century, the Government of Denmark, operating from Christiansborg Castle, exercised a loosely-defined “Protectorate” over most of the territories of Ga, Dangme and Ewe princedoms of southeastern Ghana. In March of 1850, Denmark sold its possessions to Britain and left the Gold Coast. The Danish Governor, Carstensen, and the British Governor, W. Winniett, together journeyed to the royal courts such as Se, Prampram, Krobo, Akuapem and Auna for the purpose of arranging the “transfer” of the different ethnic groups to their new colonial governor, Britain. The modification of colonial lordship did not augur well for the Dangme. Near the end of the 19th century, the relative peace and prosperity which the Se had enjoyed in their highland Kingdom came to an abrupt end.

In 1892, accusationstouched the British Administration that the Se (Shai), Krobo and Osudoku people living in the hills were offering human sacrifices to their gods – Kotoklo, Korle, Sabu and Nadu – and were sacrificing strangers for annual propitiatory rites. The British Governor, Griffith, sent a Regiment of colonial troops to the Krobo, Se (Shai), and Osudoku hills. The Dangmes were driven from their hill settlements in 1892. All the kings of the Se (Shai), Krobo (Yilo, Manya) and Osudoku people had to pursueaccommodation in their farming villages spread all over the plains. The forced dislocation of these ethnic groups had important effect upon them, from which they are still recuperating.

In Seland (Shailand), the overallpublic was dispersed in the plains west of the Se (Shai) hills where they had farms. Over the next two years, some reformed and founded a number of villages and townships that subsequently became the new Se (Shai) – Dodowa, Agomeda, Kodiabe, Doryumu, Ayikuma and Jopanya. Dodowa became a seat of government for colonial powers. The Se (Shai) played a significant role in the development of cocoa as the Gold Coast’s leading and most highly profitable commodity. Many Se (Shai) people migrated to work as farmers on palm and cocoa plantations in various regions throughout the country and were able to accumulate capital for the purchase of their own lands in diverse territories. The Se (Shai) can currently be found in over 160 townships throughout the nation.

Authorityor Governance of Se
Three Royal Houses or Divisions constitute the Se Kingdom: the Lekpedje, Heomerh, and Heowe. The largest Royal House (Division) is Lekpedje.

In matters of governance, the Se people are led by the stand-up committee which is a ruling body of the Se Traditional Council. Membership on the Se Traditional Council involves a process by which properly installed, recognized and presented to the Council which has the final authority to recommend individuals to serve. In recent years, I leant the Suapolor has determined that queens can also be represented in select areas of the Se Traditional Council.

Each of the Royal Houses has a Paramount Chief and two senior kings who serve on the Se Traditional Council. The Suapolor and Paramount Chief are automatic members of each royal house. The Suapolor is the pathfinder and waymaker who leads the state/kingdom. His Royal Majesty DrolorBossoAdamtey I, who was coronated in 1999, is the Suapolor of the Se Kingdom, leading his people beyond the twenty-first century into Peace, Progress and Prosperity. He is a catalyst for change and now with university of Professional Studies I leant as Vice Chancellor and currently released some scholarship funds for the se people.

All traditional groups or tribes have kings; therefore, they are part of a “Kingdom”. However, culture dictates that no kingdom or group of people brought together for a common cause can separate from the nation. Therefore, Se is a kingdom within the country of Ghana and is, therefore, considered an extension of the nation.

Sealso has our brothers in the eastern region. There is never-ending chieftaincy conflicts in the communities have pushed potential investors and has slowed development in some land. If you think it’s about time for the dangme land to take step and developed the land then join me to champion this course. Dangmes Wake up because you are sleeping! Our leaders must wake up because we have a lot of good things in the dangme and I don’t know what is actually wrong with our leaders? Is it because of creativity or lack of education? I leave it into your hands to judge and ask yourself what is actually wrong with being a dangme in Ghana. We are farfar behind!

Source:
Raphael obu

The writer is a registered Naturopathic Oncologist and the CEO of De Men’s Clinic & Prostate Research Lab, Founder of Men’s Health Foundation Ghana, Dodowa-Akoto House. President of DANGMES WITHOUT BORDERS.Tel :0541090045. E.mail:oburalph30@yahoo.co.uk

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Posted by: Ghana News -SpyGhana.com

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