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OF A PAST PRESIDENT, BROKEN BONES AND LOCAL VIAGRA

KOFI AKPABLI

If the listings in the title above seem an improbable combination, please rest assured that they are all obtainable in one little town of Ghana.  Indeed, there is more-  a solid slave trade relic in the form of an ancient mud wall also forms the landscape of this place.

 Hilla Limann

Hilla Limann

Gwollu in the Upper West Region became world-famous when a son of the soil, President Hilla Limann became president of the 3rd Republic of Ghana. I arrived in the town after connecting from Lawra through Han to Jeffisi.

Gwollu shares  a border with Burkina Faso. As I  approached my MTN phone  signal was indicating that I was in the Republic of  BF. Many in this place have their farms on the other side. The first town across the border  is called Garidua.

Gwollu is a quiet place with a 6-day market cycle. It is the capital of Sisaale West District. The town  is located 110 kilometres northeast of  Wa. The nearest big town is, Tumu which is about 32 kilometres away.

In  2006 the  national celebration of  World Tourism Day took place in this town. However, like in many parts of Ghana, the business of tourism is inadequately conducted here. A Tourism Management Committee used to be in place. The town has many attractions that are still relatively untapped. Let me begin with Hilla Limann of blessed memory.

One of the first thoughts that struck me was that if this was the United States and I was in the hometown of a past president, I would have access to the most modern library and resource centre that have been named after him. But this is Ghana, and here we tend to leave everything to God. Amen.

As things stand now, all we have is a tombstone to celebrate  this hero of Ghana’s 3rd Republic.  Himself a royal, the grave of  Dr Limann is located right in the middle of the palace.

This former president was born in Gwollu on 12th December 1934 . Limann completed his basic school education at the Government Middle School, Tamale in 1949. Between 1957 to 1960, he studied Political Science at the London School of  Economics and subsequently completed a Diploma in French at the Sorbonne University, France. He also obtained a University of London and a Ph.D in Political Science and Constitutional Law at the University of Paris.

Following the 1979 Jerry Rawlings, Limann was elected President on the People’s National Party ticket. He assumed office as president on 24 September 1979. He was deposed in a coup on 31 December, 1981. He thus was the only president of the third republic of Ghana. He remained active among the Nkrumahist political movement in Ghana until he died on 23rd January, 1998.

Dr. Limann may have carved a name for himself in our national politics but his people and their ancestors became great for their resistance to the slave trade. Across Ghana, not many communities were able to do that.

The ancestors of Gwollu fought gallantly to protect their people from slave raiders, who usually surrounded the village and set fire to the thatched roof.
The first wall was built in 1756 but it did not deter the slave raiders from capturing the people because they still had to go out of their homes to fetch water or go to their farms. The raider would then wait for both men and women to come out, making it easy for them to be captured. It therefore, became necessary for a second wall to be built to enclose water sources and farmlands .

Today, part of the Gwollu Defence wall still stands. There is a fence around it to protect it from total collapse.

One local institution which has also brought fame to Gwollu is a bone-setting clinic. Here, herbs and traditional rituals are used to completely heal broken bones. Legend has it that two rivals  in marriage Fulera and Abiba (not real names) lived in the same house, one day, the older one, Fulera took the pestle of the younger one, Abiba to prepare food and in the process the pestle got broken.

BONE SETTR

BONE SETTR

When the younger wife saw the damage, the older one begged to be forgiven but the younger one refused. Fulera even offered to buy her a new one but Abiba refused to accept and asked that Fulera mend the broken one.

Frustrated, Fulera then showed the pestle to the gods and called for help to mend the broken pestle; she tied the broken pieces together with a cloth and trusted that the pieces would join.

The next morning, the pestle was whole, she offered thanks to the gods, gave the pestle back to Abiba and concluded that if broken pestles could be mended then broken bones could be healed. The bone-setting centre was then set up to help heal people with broken bones.

People from all parts of Ghana come to receive treatment. I talked to one young man from Kumasi who said he is a footballer. He told me that he came  with a broken leg but now feels much better.

The man in charge, Issifu Abudu  is nearly 70 years. Abudu, learnt  the trade  from his father, who also learnt it from his father and so on up the generational  line. It thus is a family business and outsiders are not employed.  Almost daily patients come with all forms of  fractured bones.

Another essential service in Gwollu is what is known as the local ‘’Viagra’’ centre that uses herbal and rituals to cure  male potency problems. This is also a family traditional business and all sorts of men come with all sorts of penis performance ‘wahala.’

If you know Ghana like I do you would realise that one of the issues that tickles us has to do with enhancing our libido (whatever that means). Tell a young man who eats plenty of sugar to stop and he wouldn’t obey. But warn him that it will diminish his performance in bed and he would pay attention.

In our society well-respected men would ignore the ranting of a wretched herbalist but as soon as the remedies include ‘dindindi’ they approach as if they are buying a life saving drug.

Well, at Gwollu, people say it works ‘’pa pa.’’ But as for me, I went, I saw and my mouth remains shut.

[email protected]

The writer is author of: Tickling the Ghanaian-Encounters with Contemporary Culture and A Sense of Savannah-Tales of a Friendly Walk through Northern Ghana

Do you have a story or an article to publish? Please email us at [email protected].

Posted by: KOFI AKPABLI

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  • frank / 2014-07-22 17:51:05

    The potag president must be firm and request for the book & research. If indeed Ghana is broke...

  • / 2014-07-22 15:11:19

    Mr Twum Boafo is a disgrace to his own mother...

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