Sunday, January 20, 2013

NZEMA PEOPLE: THEIR UNIQUE KUNDUM/ABISSA FESTIVAL AND UNIQUE NZELEZU VILLAGE ON THE "SURFACE OF A RIVER"

Nzema people also known as Ndenye or Apollonians (in Ivory Coast) are an Akan people numbering about 328,700 people of whom 262,000 live in southwestern Ghana and 66,700 live in the southeast of Côte d'Ivoire. The Nzema are divided into the Evalue, Dwira, Ellembelle and Jomoro. During the 19th century Nzema was one region until the deportation of the ruler Kaku Akaa.
Nzema woman from Grand Bassam,Ivory Coast in traditional Nzema dress dancing with an effigy at Abissa Festival

 In 1857, young Nzema chief Kaku Aka warned all of the coastal chiefs about the gravity of settler activity regarding slavery. He independently galvanized the local chiefs to end slavery. He was captured by the British and exiled (http://www.jstor.org/pss/1161544). 
The Nzema are mostly farmers with some sizable numbers also engaged in fishing. Their sea boundary, Cape Three Point gave Ghana its oil-fields. The Nzema sea in giving Ghana crude oil has cemented the famous saying in Ghana that "The Best Always Comes from the West."
                Beautiful Nzema woman and fashion model from Ghana,Catherine Hermans Yankey

The language of Nzema people is also known as Nzima (in Ghana) or Appolo (in the Ivory Coast). Their various versions of the Nzema language differ only very slightly in very few insignificant ways. It shares 60% intelligibility with Jwira-Pepesa and is close to Baoule. There is however only one standard written Nzema language.
                    Nzema (Apollo) tribe kid in her tradtional kente dress from Grand Basam,Ivory Coast
                   at Abissa festival.

"The Portuguese who landed on the Nzema coast on the feast – day of St. Apollonia gave the name APOLLONIA, but in December, 1927, the indigenous name NZEMA was officially readopted as the Portuguese name meant little to the inhabitants. This paper has a limited purpose - to trace Nzema traditions of origin, migration routes and settlement patterns as derived from Ghana National Archives (GNA), the repository of official documents and historical traditions. The best account of this period is provided by C. W Welman: “Native States of the Gold Coast; showing us that the Nzema have a very long history.

There is the problem, of firmly establishing the ethnic identity of the nuclear Nzema, including the matter of determining the possibly early presence in the area of people speaking kwa-Akan or Kwa-Guan. However, entries from Provincial commissioner’s File, Sekondi, dated 25th October, 1924, indicates that “the Nzema language has an affinity with the Aowin dialect and with Gwira, Ajumoro (the dialect of the Apatem village) and Evalue (Axim).” Despite profound dissimilarities and a wide range of variation in their ancestral backgrounds, these heterogonous groups still share a distinctive substratum of cultural and linguistic identity with the Guan – speaking people of Ghana after their going off from the common ancestral society.

For more details on a close genetic relationship, see, for example, J, G Christaller (1881). D. Westermann (Berlin, 1922), and colin Painter – “the Distribution of Guan in Ghana” (Journal of West African Languages IV, 1967).

Oral traditions among the Nzema are unanimous on the point that their founding ancestors originally lived somewhere along the N’Zi River which runs parallel to the Comoe River in north-eastern Cote d’Ivoire. As the autochthonous people along the Comoe River became known as the “kimbu people” (later Akuamu people), the N’Zi dwellers were nicknamed the N’Zi people, hence Nzi-mba became corrupted into NZIMA.

During this period, there were strife and unrest in the neighbouring regions of Kankyeabo and Bouna near the Kong Mountains. For the Mande, at an unknown date and for reasons no longer remembered, invaded the region. They were ferocious fighters who were said to hack their enemies into pieces. This single catalysmic event, namely the invasion of the autochthonous inhabitants urged the Kumbu (Akwamu) people to migrate southwards to Heman, and was still wending their way through war-ridden territories till they arrived at the coast where they set up their first capital at Nyanawase. Shortly afterwards the Nzi-mba under their great leader called Annor Asaman, moved unobtrusively in a south – western direction, subsequently settling on the west coast in order to avoid being caught in crossfire.
                          Proud Nzema, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Freedom fighter and Ghana`s first president 

For a time there was a struggle with the people of Krinjaho and others in Cote d’Ivoire over the land lying between the Tano lagoon and the sea, an area which the Nzema had since effectively occupied for the past years. Upon their arrival on the west coast at Ahumazo near the Tano Lagoon, there were many shaded trees, so they moved to a place where they found a tall palm tree which didn’t bear fruits, and decided to settle there permanently. The new site was accordingly named BEYIN, meaning “tall Palm-tree”.

Certainly, the tribal history is dominated by one man who rose to an eminent position from the debris of internecine wars in the far north and finally settled his people at BEYIN. This man was Annor Asaman.

The first formative period of Nzema history really ended in his life-time. By then all the important settlements had been established. Annor Blay Acka might have succeeded the gallant leader, and reigned longer than his predecessor. When he died his brother, Annor Broma I succeeded him. He in turn was succeeded by Bua Panin who became a powerful paramount chief. The next person to rule was Amihere Panin in whose reign the Fort Beyin was built in 1691 by the Royal African Company at the invitation of the Nzema people. (King Charles II and James, Duke of York were members of the Company, successor to the defunct Company of Royal Adventures of England Training to Africa which promised to send 3,000 slaves a year to America)

Before Amihere Panin ascended the Stool, he was cultivating on a land where Atuani trees grew. His predecessor permitted him to build a new settlement at the site, and the place was named ATUABO (“Atuani” is plural). He lived at ATUABO with his followers. After his death, his nephew, Birimponi Kwesi was enstooled (Birimponi: means paramount chief in Nzema). The elevation apparently increased Beyin’s bitterness and made them more incensed against Atuabo Tradition further asserts that the Nzema welcomed some refugees from Asante led by Ahii Nobia. After swearing the Oath of Allegiance to Birimponi Kwesi they were settled at Abata. Through inter-marriage, it came to light that Abini Nobia practiced human sacrifice secretly.
Abini Nobia was ejected forcibly together with his followers and they escaped to Mowaso near Grand Basa – a settlement on St John River in Liberia.
                             Samia Yaba NkrumahBeautiful Nzema politician and daughter of Ghana`s
                              first president Kwame Nkrumah.

Successive Paramount Chiefs were Azu Ekyi (1700-1741), Annor  Breman II (1746-1789), Mensah Ohie (1789-1820). Kamma Panin was followed by his nephew Kweku Acka who preferred to stay at Atuabo where he had been nurtured by a respectable person on a farm land. It was soon detected that King Dweku Acka had tyrannical traits and perverted tasted for blood, and therefore chose to stay at Atuabo in order to evade surveillance at Fort Beyin.

He himself visited the Fort in 1828, and was very popular with the youth who nicknamed him “Ngutan” to which he responded “Omiamenia-ba”.

In 1835, a British man – of – war was dispatched to punish King Kweku Acka and his subjects for practicing human sacrifices. He remained quiet for some time when Captain Maclean was appointed Judicial Assessor 1843 – 1847. He then resumed the executions and acquired a pervasive influence throughout the west coast.

                                    Colonial Castle in Axim

The new Governor, Commander Hill, appointed in 1843, threatened to punish him exemplarily for this action of brutality. But with sheer impudence, Kweku Acka sent a message to the Governor saying “he would raze Cape Coast Castle to the ground and dine off the Governor’s liver!. There might be some exaggeration in this, but the Governor became enraged and immediately set up a task force against the recalcitrant king. He was captured and imprisoned at the Castle of life where he died on December 28, 1851. The governor’s prompt action ultimately restored peace and tranquility in the sub-region.

In appreciation of his services, the Governor made Benjin who had been instrumental in capturing Kweku Acka, a chief of Atuabo as a sub-chief for the purpose of settling disputes. Kweke Acka’s successor, Amakye, had his seat at Beyin as the overall head of Nzema. The Atuabo were resentful of this new dispensation since their chiefship had been subordinated to that of Beyin.

In about 1867, by a convention between the British and the Dutch merchants, Nzema became subjects to Dutch interim administration. As a result, Atuabo in Eastern Nzema decided to break away from the Dutch who sent messengers to ascertain the truth of this move from the Elders Atuabo. Unfortunately, the messengers were murdered. Immediately a Dutch gun boat went and destroyed Aturabo.

Soon afterwards, Avu of Atuabo hastened to Wassa where he managed to solicit the help of some men who accompanied him to fight Amakye at Beyim when Amakye learnt of Avu’s advance, he also sought help from the Asante who had supported the Dutch move.
THE R S BLAY FAMILY (Blay was the first Nzema lawyer and Nationalist): From left to right, Kwame Blay,Jasper Tamakloe,Mrs Dinah Blay,Rev Afo Blay ( the first woman GES boss and methodist reverend) standing behind her mum,R S BLAY and Professor Mokowa Blay Adu-gyamfi (standing opposite her dad).This picture was taken in May 1957. 

Then under the command of Pani Yanna Acka of Naba, the Western Nzema army marched on, and defeated the Eastern Nzema, killing Avu in the process. Benyin, therefore, gained complete success in the Avu War, in 1869. His death gave rise to a more severe and universal wave of persecution of opponents and forced many people to flee into exile to save their lives.

In order to maintain peace and tranquility in the sub-region, Nzema was split into two separate states under different paramount cites. Beyin became the capital of Western Nzema Traditional Area, while Atuabo remained the capital of Eastern Nzema.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIlE0MmRJIc


Freddy Meiway,iconic Nzema (Apollonian) pop singer from Ivory Coast on stage performing his 
  "Miss lolo" track that pays glowing tribute to women with well-endowed breast

  Here is a more recent one, celebrating women backside

The people of the two states who originated from one common stock entered a period of rehabilitation and reform, and have since shown remarkable stability and persistence centuries later. On the 29th October, 1969, a century after the Avu War, Count Vinigi Grottaneli, Professor of Ethnology in the University of Rome, Italy, gave a lecture on RESEARCH ON NZEMA TRADITIONAL CULTURE, under the distinguished chairmanship of Prof. J. H Kketia as part of Museum Lectures"–(http://www.ghanaculture.gov.gh/index1.php?linkid=65&archiveid=1727&page=1&adate=04/12/2010)


Nzulezu Ghana IMG_0869
                         Nzema stilt village of Nzulezu,Ghana
                 Emmanuel Kofi Armah Buah,an Nzema man, The Minister of Energy in charge of Petroleum and MP for Ellembelle.





































                  Nzema woman carrying chieftaincy clan staff

The proud Nzema tribe has also produced famous people in both Ghana and Ivory Coast. The first African/black to become a professor in European higher institution, University of Halle-Wittenberg in 1799,Anton Wilhem-Amo, Ghana`s first president and Pan-Africanist Dr Kwame Nkrumah, nationalist and lawyer.
                   Prof Anton Wilhelm Amo 18th Century Renaissance Man

Amo from Nzema proved to the world that black man`s brain is not inferior to that of the Caucasian by achieving intellectual excellency in Germany.The respected British historian and philosopher, David Hume that:

'I am apt to suspect the negroes and in general, all the other species 
of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally 
inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other 
complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action 
or speculation... Not to mention our colonies, there are Negroe slaves 
dispersed all over Europe, of which none ever discovered any symptoms of
 ingenuity; tho' low people, without education, will start up amongst 
us, and distinguish themselves in every profession.'


But Hume's pronouncement was a blatant lie. For a Ghanaian, Anton Wilhelm Amo, an Nzema (a sub-group of  the Akan people of Ghana) had, even before Hume wrote in 1753, established himself in Germany as one of the great thinkers of his time.

Amo was born in Awukena, near Axim, in 1711. When he was only about four years old, he was taken to Amsterdam by the Dutch East India Company. There, he was given as a present to Anthony Ulrich, Duke of Brunswick- Wolfenbüttel, to whose palace in Wolfenbüttel Amo was taken. Treated as a member of the Duke's family, he was educated at the University of Halle. He finished his preliminary studies in 1729 - a mere two years, his dissertation being: 'The Rights of Moors in Europe'.

Amo then moved to the University of Wittenberg, where he studied logic, metaphysics, physiology, astronomy, history, law, theology, politics, and medicine. He also acquired six languages (English, French, Dutch, Latin, Greek, and German). He gained his doctorate in philosophy at Wittenberg in 1734. His thesis was 'On the Absence of Sensation in the Human Mind and its Presence in our Organic and Living Body.' That was a full 21 years before David Hume made his ignorant remark quoted above.

Amo achieved more: He returned to Halle as a lecturer in philosophy and was made a Professor in 1736. In 1738, he wrote his second major work: 'Treatise on the Art of Philosophising Soberly and Accurately'. 
Ironically, the Wikipedia(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Wilhelm_Amo) biography of Amo states that Amo, writing 15 years before Hume published his racist views, 'developed an empiricist epistemology very close to that of philosophers such as John Locke and David Hume'. So Hume might well have been influenced by Amo's work, whilst condemning Amo's race!

lconic pop-star Michael jackson with some Nzema kids dressed in their traditional attire at Abidjan,Ivory Coast in 1992


 The first great Nzema lawyer R S Blay at  the Graduation Day of Dr Mary Chinery-Hesse and Twin Maud in 1962. From left to right are Mrs Maud Blankson-Mills, Late Mrs Dinah Blay, Late Mr Justice R,S, Blay and Dr Mary Chinery -Hesse. This picture is also courtesy Prof Mokowa Blay Adu-gyamfi.

Nzema kundum festival (Ghana)

The Kundum festival is celebrated by the Ahanta or Nzema people of the Western region of Ghana. It is celebrated to thank God for the abundance of food as it ushers in the harvest period of the area.
Travel Stories | Kundum Festival, Ghana, Africa
                  Nzema women doing their traditional dance at Kundom Festival

History

The festival is believed to have first been celebrated in the 16th century. The first record of the festival was made by Bossman, Dutch explorer, who traveled to the Gold Coast in the 17th century and observed the festival.
                     Kundum Festival parade

Origin

The origin of the festival was passed on through folklore and involved a hunter, Akpoley, who during expedition, chanced upon some dwarfs dancing in a circle. He observed the dance and upon his return to the town introduced it to his people. This dancing eventually developed into a way to drive the devil and evil spirits from towns and villages. During the festival, the dance is performed ritually by most inhabitant of Axim and surrounding towns.
Festival type
                                       Nzema chiefs 

Kundum is both a harvest and religious festival. The start of the festival is based on the day the fruit of a certain palm tree became ripe.
The celebration
             Procession of chiefs through the principal streets of Axim during the Kundum festival

Originally, the festival lasted for four weeks but due to modernity, it has in recent years been reduced to eight days. The festivals occur separately in each town that make up the Ahanta paramountcy with town scheduling the Sunday in which their festival will start independent of each other. The celebration consists of three main components:
    dancing
    drumming
    feast

                      Nzema woman,Samia Yaba nkrumah enjoying her meal

Festival attire

      Nzema chief on palanquin being carried to the festival grounds during Kundum festival at Axim,Ghana

The people who partake in the celebration wear distinctive dress, footwear, and sometimes masks. The festival begins by taking the drums to the five different shrines on outskirts of town. At the shrines, requests for the good of the town are made and rum is poured on the ground as libation.
                                         Nzema woman in typical traditional Kundum "devil Riddance"
                                         attire and holding stick whiles doing the waist shaking Kundum dance

Programme of activities

In the traditional four week celebration the drummers will spend the next three weeks in the outskirts practicing and preparing for the fourth week. No drumming or dancing is done on the Monday of the fourth and final week. The ritual Kundum fire is lit at the chief’s palace and is kept burning throughout the festivities. 

                          Canoe Regatta at Kundum festival in Axim,Ghana

The fire serves as a center of activity and heat source for preparing the main festival meal. On Tuesday, sacrifices of fowl or sheep are offered in the stool room. The stool room is a sacred palace where the stool of departed chiefs and elders are kept. All of the sacrifices in the stool room are performed privately by a small designated group.

 


 Finally a public sacrifice of a fowl is performed in the court yard. Singing begins on Tuesday and on Wednesday, the chief joins festivities. He enters on a palanquin accompanied by a parade of people singing and drumming. Each night there is a large meal which culminates in a great feast of the final Sunday. All the food is collectively prepared using the Kundum fire by the women and directed by the elder women. 

                                  Chief at Kundum Festival, Beyin

The remainder of the week is spent performing the ritualized Kundum dancing. There are dances performed by men and others by women and some by other unclassified people. The dancing concludes in front of the castle in Axim. The traditional purpose of the dancing is to drive the evil spirits and devils from the town and therefore preserving another successful year.
      Nzema ladies dancing at the Kundum festival celebrations

Ivory Coast Nzema peoples Abissa festival

NZIMA people's NEW YEAR
"ABISSA" means "the Question"
Correpsonds to the two last weeks of the AKAN calendar
End of October
Long process of  rituals
Absolution from "NYAMIE" for the misdeeds for ending  year and blessing for the upcoming one.
During the Abissa, most of  the human activities stand by. No work, no wedding, no funerals, no baptism..
                                Abissa, Drum and Dance festival in Grand Bassam
The 14 days are fully dedicated to communicate with the ancestors, the community's advocates  to NYAMIE,AKAN name of GOD....
Every individuals has to repent publicly after the community may have pointed out his misdeeds for the elapsed year.
     Nzema man from Grand-Bassam,Ivory Coast with his face painted at Abissa Festival


This accusation-repentance ritual is a highlight of the ABISSA where people disguised into their relatives and mimic their flaws and vanities.
This masquerade that turns the streets of BASSAM into a giant costume ball  stage,is undoubtedly the ancestor of the Carnivals celebrated by our cousins from the Caribbeans or from New Orleans.
Abissa is a cultural concept embracing the music, dance, and spiritual life of the Nzema people in the town of Grand-Bassam, Côte d'Ivoire. The best-known expression of Abissa is a festival celebrated the last week of October/ 1st week of November. It is a time of forgiveness and rebirth marked by a week-long celebration.

For those who have spent time in Louisiana, Brazil, or any one of the many nations that comprise the Caribbean, Grand Bassam’s Abissa celebrations would feel familiar –yet different and more authentic.  As we all know, the festival known as “Carnival” around the world has its roots in Africa.  So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Grand Bassam’s week-long Abissa festival bears a striking resemblance to global Carnival celebrations.


The parallels between Carnival and Abissa are profound and ought not be reduced to dancing in the streets, wearing costumes, and letting loose.  As with other Carnival celebrations across the globe, Abissa is the one time in the year when profound political and personal truths are aired in public.  Due to customary restraints on communication between various segments of N’zima society, some of these truths may be veiled in the double entendre we all know and love in West Indian calypso music.  However, these brazen statements –whether political or personal– are understood and tolerated by all because of Abissa.
                    Nzema people dancing at Abissa festival


Abissa is the pre-eminent festival in the N’zima calendar.  It is a time of brutal honesty, renewal and forgiveness.  It is a celebration of the ancient N’zima culture, history, royalty, and religion.  It is also a time when the entire community comes together and lets loose, releasing the proverbial steam from the pressure cooker of life and politics in the modern age.


 The Nzema princesses are joined by girls their age to dance before their King during Abissa festival

The week-long Abissa festival is powered by drummers, whose infectious beats drive its many dances and rituals.  During Abissa, the beat of the cosmic drum releases the N’zima from their customary restraints and allows them to speak candidly to their leaders and to one another. 


Nzema tribe Men of Grand Bassam,Ivory Coast hold the stick symbolizing their equality and right to speak. They welcome the King, thank him for what he has done the year, call him to task for shortcomings and tell him what they would like him to do for the coming year.

 Airing truths during Abissa allows the truth-tellers to forgive and those who have strayed from the proper path to be forgiven.  It is a time of collective catharsis that leads to renewal and a spiritual re-birth of the entire community.

Abissa is magical and has to be experienced to be fully appreciated. 



           Dancers decked out in their finery,perform frenzied dance as the king of Grand Bassam looks on.



The procession of the 7 families founders of the NZIMA kingdom,

  Nzema Royalty travel travel from Ghana to Ivory Coast to celebrate Abissa festival with the King of Grand Bassam


         Priestesses dressed in white and beautified with clay for the Abissa festival

Ritual dance of the NKOMYAN (priestesses), the MPAE ritual (libation),the AHENFIE (Royal court) procession and the public appearance of the King of the NZIMA KOTOKO  are among the highlights of the ABISSA.But the most important event is the appearance, the last day of the Abissa at 5am, of  EDO GBOLE, the Great Talking Drum,bearer of the Soul of NZIMA people.
  An Nzema Chief of Grand Bassam,Ivory Coast in his full traditional Chieftaincy regalia sitting his stool


And once he appears EDO GBOLE replies to the "ABISSA", the "Question",  which is:
"Do the NZima people deserve to enter the NEW YEAR? If Edo Gbole answers YES, Bassam becomes Estatic. Typical Ivorian Barbecues, Beer, Concerts, Beach Bashes, this is another aspect of the ABISSA.
                Nzema man from Grand Bassam,Ivory Coast with a painted face and sea-shell necklace


The WOODY (Warrior), celebrating Male Physique beauty.

 Nzema Men dressed as women in sexy traditional outfit at Abissa festival in Grand Bassam,Ivory Coast
West African Coast in the 15th century baptized  APPOLO?
 

Women with Lantern on Head 

 

Truly Sexy Girl Dancing at Abissa 

 

Abissa Fête Femme Sexy Cote d'Ivoire Africa 

 

Fête Abissa Tom Tom Cote d'Ivoire Africa 

 

Abissa Drums Cote d'Ivoire Africa 

 

Abissa Festival Parade with Drums in Grand Bassam Cote d'Ivoire West Africa
Nzema`s famous Nzelezu stilt village (Village on a River)
              On the way to Nzema Beyin`s Nzulezu stilt village
This is one of the more unique tourist sites in Ghana; among its peers of castles, and eco-villages. If you have never been to Ghana this spectacular and unique scenery village should make you gird up your loins and pack straight-off to Ghana. Nzulezu village on the water is a place to be.
Nzulezu stilt village,Ghana
Nzuelzu is an Nzema word meaning "surface of river" is a small village, started over 600 years ago and situated in the middle of Lake Amansuri. It is supported entirely by stilts made of central wood with a raffia walkway. To get to and from Nzulezu you must travel via canoe from a small dock in the village of Beyin, one hour away. The population of Nzulezu is roughly 500 men, women and children, governed by a village chief and a handful of village elders. 
                  Tourists being canoed to Nzulezu Village
The inhabitants of the village are said to have migrated from Walata, a city in ancient Ghana Empire' the earliest of the Western Sudanese States. According to tradition, ancestors of the village were brought to their present place under the guide of a snail/turtle." It is alleged that they had been chased from their land by outsiders, and amid the peril were lead to this safe spot by a turtle – which is now, for this reason, their sacred animal."
The serene ambience of the surrounding landscape coupled with the general activities of life point to a dynamic relationship between man and nature. 
                         Nzulezu Nzema people in their stilt village
Traditional village life is adapted to the watery conditions to the amazement of the visitor. All activities pertaining to normal life chores such as pounding of fufu (a traditional meal) schooling, worship and burial are done on the lake. New born babies are baptized in the lake. The lake it is said, averts possible disasters like outbreak of fire, killing of natives of the village on or around it.
 The sacred day of the lake is Thursday, a day set aside on which no activity is supposed to take place signifying a strict adherence to traditional norms and taboos. Nzulezu stilt settlement is a unique lacustrine habitation achieved by a harmony of forces of nature to meet man's needs resulting in a settlement of outstanding value.


 Nzema tribe women from Nzulezu stilt village return to their village on canoe
The village has streets and avenues made out of raffia fronds, and raffia poles protrude from adjacent houses into alleys floored by water. These protruding poles support small children as they lean down with lines, in hope of a bite.
Nzulezu Ghana MG_0897
The interior of houses are exposed behind tattered lace curtains and cloth, revealing a simplicity of existence that seems to be echoed in the drops of water and distant croaks and caws emanating from the forest. A shrine is visible about fifty feet from the village, perforating the reflective glass surface that stretches out in front. Only the chief is permitted to visit this shrine, where he gives offerings and listens to the premonitions of the elders and turtle god. This animist faith is interwoven with Christianity here, which can be seen from the small church decorated with flags and filled with plastic lawn chairs.
Although they live on water, their main source of income is agriculture. They own some land 1 km north of the lake where they grow a variety of vegetables and fruit which they sell in Beyin and the surrounding areas. There is also little exposure to the outside world with no television and poor radio reception. Also, they generally do not like the tourists who visit their village and engaged in an acts likely to intrude into their privacy. 
DSC_3111
It appears most aspects of daily life here share the same regularity and contents as life on land. However, the closeness these people have to nature in virtue of their locality grant this regularity an additional pulse, embedded in the rhythm of nature. The village has now become dependent on its status as a tourist attraction, which is made glaringly perceptible by the bright orange life-jackets that infiltrate this tiny village daily, taking photos, pointing, and playing with children.
With the construction of a school, a new church and a medical facility this tourism has been very good for the village. However, as the foreigner walks through these few streets, it is clear how the inhabitants try their hardest to blot out these tourists from their vision, and out from their home.
As one leaves you feel as if you are leaving a dream, a place whose purity is preserved by the natural rhythms of life, and one wonders how the continued expeditions of foreigners into this dream will effect it’s longevity. At first one feels that these intrusions into such a pure natural place are the product of something unnatural: foreigners yielding digital cameras, wobbling heels, hand sanitizer, mobile phones, and plane tickets.
                       Nzulezu school girls returning from school in a neigbhoring village 
Yet based on the need these people have for basic necessities such as education, healthcare, and the possibility for something greater, one realizes that maybe these intrusions are not so unnatural after all. Maybe, rather, they are part of a greater narrative; one that is almost more natural and more real than any attempt to preserve this village’s purity and isolation from the external world, and just maybe, this narrative is time.


Nzulezu family Ghana IMG_0910
Nzulezu Ghana IMG_0874

NZULEZU - THE STILT VILLAGE

An amazing village where life goes on in the centre of lake Tadane, just 90 km west of Takoradi. The houses are built on stilts, and traditional village life adapts to the watery conditions. The excursion from Beyin involves a walk through the reeds at the lake’s edge, and a trip in a dugout canoe to the village. The village welcomes visitors everyday except Thursday, which is a sacred day.
Quite only the journey in the canoe is worth the trip. It leads away by small canals with crystal-clear water, which are overgrown by water lilies. Later the thick mangrove-wood which makes a donation pleasantly shade grows rampant over the heads. After approx. 45 minutes one comes to the small and big lakes whose sight is simply fantastic.

The village itself accommodates between 400 and 500 people. There are three classrooms, an inn, a bar and a small shop where the locals can purchase the most necessary things. Otherwise all products must be got from the next town by canoe - a day trip.

Nzulezu Ghana IMG_0884


Life in Nzulezu

Nzulezu Ghana IMG_0864
I noticed some fires and wondered how the women were able to cook and not burn the whole place down. We followed the smoke, and a woman allowed me to photograph her kitchen.
Nzulezu Ghana IMG_0902
The cooking area is lined with clay.  Cook fires can then be built without the structure catching fire.
Nzulezu Ghana IMG_0903
An added benefit is that these adobe structures are very efficient. Because the adobe semi encloses the fire, it transfers heat to the pot better and takes less wood to cook the food than cooking over an open flame without it.

                                                      Homestay Guest House at Nzulezu
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The fence in the water is a fish trap. Just behind it you can see the type of ladder we climbed up to the walkways from the canoe.
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Another type of fish trap. The chairs in the background looked intriguing, so I went for a closer look.
Nzulezu raffia chairs Ghana IMG_0889
The chairs were also made of raffia. Beautiful! If only I could get one of these things home!
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 Samia Nkrumah on her way to Nzulezu, her homeland
Ghana became African’s first country to gain freedom in 1957 and has since grown tremendously both politicallyand economicallyKwame Nkrumah is known as the country’s founding father and AFRICA JOURNAL met his daughter Samia Nkrumah in their next story — who is determined to follow in her fathers footsteps


Some Photos of Nzema people
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Samia Nkrumah daughter of Ghana`s first president,Dr Kwame Nkrumah waves to supporters upon arriving at Elubo, Ghana. Nkrumah is campaigning for a parliamentary seat in the area where her father was born, and manypeople there still consider him a national hero.


                                    Abissa dance


5 comments:

  1. The Nzema are also responsible for celebration of Junkanoo in the Caribbean and the Southern Coastal United States.

    "In 1708, an Ahantan slave trader, Chief John Kanu (pronounced "Canoe") learned that the Germans were going to sell the Fort to the Dutch. In protest, he waged a war that managed to stave off fleets of battleships for almost 20 years. The Fort was eventually captured in 1725 by the Dutch and renamed Ft. Friedrichsburg to Ft. Hollandia.

    Because John Kanu was successful in retaining control of the Fort, slaves looked upon him as a hero. "Junkanoo" (pronounced "John Canoe") festivals such as Mardi Gras are held annually in the coastal outlines of North Carolina, in Jamaica and the Bahamas. In 1872, the Dutch ceded the Fort to Britain and in 1957, the fort became part of the newly independent country of Ghana." http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/mobile/wikilink/?page=Pokesu

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  2. K_Chie is quite right. You additionally used photos without permission or attribution, including most of my photos of my visit to Nzulezu Village in 2009, which you took without asking from http://ghanatravels.wordpress.com. I would have said yes if you had asked. The very least you can do is give credit when you use someone else's work.

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