Tuesday, September 17, 2013

ADA PEOPLE: THE TRADITIONALIST DANGME PEOPLE AND THEIR UNIQUE ASAFOTUFIAMI FESTIVAL

Ada people are fishery and agricultural Dangme-speaking people that forms a subset of the larger Ga-Dangme ethnolinguistic group living in the southern Ghana. Ada people are mostly found in the Dangme East district of Greater Accra Region.

                  Ada traditional priest pouring libation to the ancestors at Asafotufiami festival

 The Ada people were made up of the four original Dangme clans, the Adibiawe, Lomobiawe, Dangmebiawe, and Tekperbiawe. These clans, the Okorli, integrated one Akan clan, the Kabiawe and
incorporated three Ewe clans, the Kudragbe, Korgbor and Ohuewem.

                      Procession of Ada chiefs

The Ada later on adopted 9 additional Ewe villages, Agave, Sukpe, Tefle, Vume, Blakpa, Mlefi, Mepe, Battor, and Duffor to form the Ada Nation. Ada-Foah is the district capital of Ada people. Some of the other notable towns are Kasseh, Akplabanya, Sege Junction, Anyamam, Pute,  Lolonya, Tamatoku, Bonikope, Songor, Adzomanukope, Bedeku, Wokume Gbe, Songutsokpa, Big-Ada, Got, Koluedor ,Totimekope, Ocanse Kope, Totope, Kasseh, Matsekope.

                                 Children at Ada-Foah

The patriarchal Ada people were once a famous warrior tribe in Ghana and they are today known for their adroit mining of large scale salt at their Songhor lagoon and a famous Asafotfiami festival.

                               Ada girls performing traditional Dangme dance

Location (Topography, Climate, Vegetation and Geology)
Ada people are found in the Dangme East District which is located in the Eastern part of the Greater Accra Region within Latitudes 5°45 South and 6°00 North and from Longitude 0°20 West to 0°35 East. It shares common boundaries with North Tongu District to the North, South Tongu District and Dangme West Districts to the East and West respectively.  To the south is the Gulf of Guinea, which stretches over 45 kilometers (27.9 miles) from Kewunor to Wokumagbe.

                                Volta River, Ada

 The District covers a total land area of 909 sq km (350 sq miles) and represents almost 28% of the total land size of the Greater Accra Region. Being a coastal district, most people along the coast have taken to fishing and fish processing as their main source of livelihood.  Also, the sea has a cooling effect on the people especially during hot seasons but the corrosive nature of the breeze is very destructive.

                                                      Ada beach

Ada Foah, the District Capital is located at the south-eastern part, about 20km off the Accra-Aflao road, along the coast and about 2km from the Volta River Estuary.  Other major settlements are Big Ada, Kasseh, Goi, Anyamam, Sege, Lolonya, Akplabanya, Pute, Wokumagbe and Koluedor.
                                              Ada fisherman throwing net

The District forms part of the Central portion of the Accra plains, depicting a topography that is generally gently undulating.  A few prominent boulders are scattered irregularly over the area, with the highest part being about 240 meters (800ft) above sea level around Tojeh area. The rest of the area is averagely about 60 meters (200ft) above sea level.  Most of the stretch along the Songhor lagoon is below sea level. As a result the strong tidal waves of the Sea have eroded the sandy coast line leading to occasional flooding of some communities namely Anyamam, Pute, Akplabanya, and Totope. The sea defense wall has therefore become a major concern for the residents; even though its construction is beyond the capacity of the District Assembly due to the extensive nature of the resources required.
                                   Ada sea defense

Climatically, the District forms part of the South-eastern coastal plains of Ghana which is one of the hottest parts of the country. Temperatures are high throughout the year and ranges between 23°C and 28°C.  A maximum of 33oc is attainable during the very hot seasons.  Rainfall is generally heavy during the major seasons between March and September.  The average rainfall is about 750ml. The area is however very dry during the harmattan season when there is no rainfall at all.  Humidity is about 60 per cent high, due to the proximity of the sea, the Volta River and other water bodies. Daily evaporation rates range from 5.4 ml to 6.8 ml. The relatively high temperatures help in the quick crystallization of salt for the salt industry. The high temperature provides an opportunity for the installation of solar panels in generating solar energy for communities where there is no electricity, and more specifically for educational institutions and clinics. This energy option is yet to be explored though.
The vegetation is basically coastal Savannah, characterized by short Savannah grass and interspersed with shrubs and short trees. Along the coast, stretches of coconut trees and patches of coconut groves can be seen.  A few strands of the mangrove trees can also be found around the Songhor lagoon and the tributaries of the Volta River where the soil is waterlogged and salty. This type of vegetation is also common along the fringes of some of the islands in the Volta River.
The mangrove trees grow to heights of 15m averagely, are densely vegetated and green in appearance throughout the year. This beautiful mangrove vegetation is however being destroyed due to human activities such as charcoal burning and fish processing (smoking). 
                                    Mangrove

The Northern parts of the district have a forest type of vegetation with the major trees being Nim trees. The Savannah also provides extensive land for grazing livestock. This explains the pockets of cattle herds found in the district which in all numbers to about twenty thousand. 
This has created an opportunity for large quantities of cattle dung often used for the preparation of compost manure to improve agricultural output.  This has however not been explored on commercial bases. Vigorous tree planting is under way to plant more trees that are not originally found in the environment as a way of protecting the environment.
                                       Ada beach

The greater portion of the District is underlain by tertiary and recent deposits.  A small section of the northern and eastern parts (between Afiadenyigba and Sege) fall under the Dahomeyan complex rocks of Precambrian age. The recent unconsolidated sand, clay and gravel occur in the deltaic areas of the Volta river as well as in the areas surrounding the Songhor lagoon.  The rock of the basement is unknown, but it is expected to be Dahomeyan, similar to that cropping out to the north of the basin. The Dahomeyan rocks consist predominantly of gneisses, schist and migmatities.  These rocks weather into dark grey calcareous clay and silt which are only slightly 
                                 Ada village settlement

The background of the Name Ada
Various accounts exist to explain how the Ada people acquired their name. The historian Reindorf reports a tradition that "after repeated removals of this tribe from place to place in consequence of incessant invasions .. they said one to another ‘Wadahe’, that is, we have been scattered miserably about", but favours the idea that the name was given by one king Firempong after the name of his capital Da or Oda. 
                               Ada international festival on sea racing

E.A.Kabutey attributes an explanation to C.M.K.Mamattah, also given by GhanaDistricts, which states that it was at Notsie, where the proto-Ga-Dangme had joined the Ewe, that "King Agorkoli appellated the Adas as 'Adawolawo' meaning, a wild, furious, brave and warlike people who are easily provoked". Kabutey also describes a tradition which assigns the name to a later period, after the people had crossed the Volta and were attempting to settle further south. 
                                     Ada royals

According to this account, the Okorli, which was the name by which they were called at the time, were repeatedly attacked by the Akwamu, but eventaully defeated them at Akplaba. A truce was then negotiated, in which the Okorli unwisely "cut off one arm of their leader Chayi" which they "submitted to the Akwamus to show their commitment to ending the numerous wars".
Beautiful Ada woman

 Understandably, Chayi is reported to have been unappreciative of this gesture, saying, "curse be unto you, wicked and ungrateful people! With this very arm have I won several victories for you! You shall be cursed forever". It was this last phrase, which comes from the Dangme "nye ma da" which was then shortened to 'Ada'.
                                   Ada divisional chief
Language
The Coastal Ada people speak a Dangme language. Dangme or Adangme is classified as a Kwa language group which belong to the larger Niger-Congo phylum.
                               Little fisherman, Ada-Foah, Ghana
History
The Adas at their present abode came as a result of a migration of an ethnic group of people believed to be part of the great African Negro race from the Western Sudan. They comprised the Ada, and others known today as the Krobos, Osudokus, Shais, Kpones, Prampram and Ningos, all formed the great ethnic group of "Dangme". From "Seme" they came to Oyo and then to Abeokuta, then to Dahomey, now Benin. In Dahomey, the Adas were forced by hostilities in that land from establishing an exclusive settle, so they merged with the Ewes from Ketu. Then with the Ewes they traveled to a place called Tado and accompanied them again up to Ngotsie in Togo. It was at Ngotsie that King Agorkoli appellated the Adas as "ADAWOLAWO" meaning, a wild, furious, brave and warlike people who are easily provoked. Aname which has remained as characteristics of the Adas as a tribe.
                                               Beautiful Ada girl

The part of the Adas that were among this great migration were the four (4) Okor Clan led by a priest King known as Adi. These Clans are Adibiawe, Lomobiawe, Tekperbiawe and Dangmebiawe. They together with Krobos, Osudokus and the Shais travelled by the over land route and crossed the Volta River at several points at such as Aprade, Fodjoku near Akuse, Dorfor, Asutsuare and Vume. The four (4) Okor tribes have a common taboo. The priests established a theocratic political institution which forbade them from seeing human blood. However, to sanctify the priesthood they must be circumcised. The crossing of the river at Asutsure was said to have come about as a result of a mystic, Tsa Avegbe, who said to have jumped into the Volta River and emerged as a crocodile, with as wide as an Odum board and spread across the Volta River for the crossing. Adi and followers were the first to cross. Lomo and Lomobiawe who crossed second followed by Terkperbiawe. Dangmebiawe who crossed last as the gate sealers or rearguard, was led by Okumo. They were followed by the other Dangme groups.
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                              Ada traditional priestesses

After crossing, all the Dangme tribes settled at Togologo now called Lolorvor who crossed last as the gate sealers or rearguard, was led by Okumo. They were followed by the other Dangme groups. After crossing, all the Dangme tribes settled at Togologo now called Lolorvor which is now known as Accra plains, for many years. Later events at Lolorvor served as their confederacy. It was said that, there arose a misunderstanding between them and the Manya leaders. The other members of the group tried to persuade Adi to bury the difference but the Adas told the Krobos in the Ewe language that "Lolorvor", which means the cord binding us together, is broken or severed; there is no more love to unite us. This saw the Krobos heading to the Shai hills, leaving the Adas (Okor Clan) behind on the Accra Plains at Lolorvor near the present day Afienya hills.
                                      An elderly Ada man

The Akan war raids, especially by the Ashantis forced the search for place of safety. A survey team of famed hunters drawn from the four (4) clans set from "Lolorvor" to explore new lands for settlements. It was said that Adibiawe group also gave one hunter named Buete Kpakpaku Lomobiawe also gave hunter Lomo. The Tekperbiawe group also gave one named Korley Dangmebiawe-Okumo. Their exploration took them as far as to the Sege forest and the stream. At this place, Korley climbed a tree and surveyed all the land beyond and beheld a white sheet of land in the distance and all the four (4) famed hunters moved out to see what it was. Adi took the lead followed by Lomo, followed by Korley with Okomo at the rear.
This brought about the discovery of Songor Salt Lagoon. It was that, Adi and Lomo went by the North of the lagoon and came as far as Togbloku. Korley and Okumo also took to the south and came across the Okor forest by the sea where they walked up to the Volta estuary, near the present day Lolonyakope.  It was alleged that one day, Korley went out on a hunting expedition and reached as far as Wokumagbe near Ningo. There he shot at and wounded a beast but it ran away. Korley decided to follow the foot print of the beast until he reached a thick forest. In pursuit of the beast into the forest, he discovered a secret hamlet and met an old lady in it. The old lady was seated on a stool, adored with gold. Around her, Korley saw crowd human beings which to him, were apparitions and turned to retrace his steps to give up the pursuit of the wounded beast.
                                   Happy Ada kids

The crowd instantly beckoned him to return, begging him not to run away.  Korley was said to have mastered courage and moved towards them.  He was asked what he wanted.  He told the crowd that he was a hunter who was in pursuit of the wounded beast and fell upon them in error.  Korley was then told by the old lady that she was the beast he shot and wounded and that she charmed him to follow her to her secret hide out.  She then asked Korley where he came from and he pointed out the direction of Afienya hills at Lolorvor.   At this juncture, the old lady disclosed her ownership of the Songor salt lagoon to him.  She told Korley that if he could faithfully observe the taboos and the preclusion on the usage of the lagoon, and be faithful to his oath of fidelity to her, she will turn over the ownership of the Songor Lagoon to him.
                                             Ada girl at the beach

In effect, the old lady listed the hidden wealth in the Songor Lagoon as SALT & GOLD underneath the rock bed.  The old lady ask Korley to assure her that when she gives the ownership of the Songor Lagoon, neither he nor his, children after him, shall ever use GOLD as an Ornament.  
                               Ada divisional chief in a palanquin
Economy
Agricultural production         
Agriculture forms the leading sector in the economy of the District. It provides employment for about 51 percent of the adult population .It also provides livelihood of the people through direct farming, distribution and marketing of farm produce and other services to the agricultural sector.
                                Ada woman making a mat

 It forms the basis of successful operation of the thriving markets in the district The main agricultural activities considered there include farming (crop production) fishing, livestock production and Agro-forestry.
                                             Ada fishermen
Crop Production
The District is noted for the cultivation of cassava, maize, legumes and a range of vegetables. With the exception of maize, the District accounts for more than 50 per cent of the regional output of these crops.
                                 Ada people showing tomatoes

Livestock production
The livestock production identified in the district includes cattle rearing, sheep and goat keeping, pig rearing, poultry keeping including fowls, turkey, ducks and guinea fowls. Fishing: Dangme East District is noted for both Marine and inland fishing activities.
Below summarizes this marine and inland fishing activities.
Fishing Types 
Main landing
beaches
 
Fish type
Fishing method
Marine
Akplabanya
Anyamam, Pute
Azizanya
Goi
Sardines Arichovey
Mackerel
Tuna Spp
Shrimp
Beach serve,
Alt, poli, watsa,
Hook and line
Dragnet
River
Kewunor
Alorkpem
Agorkpo
Ada Foah
Big Ada
Azizakpe
Tilapia spp
Grey mullet
Shrimp
Crabs
Prawn
Set net
Basket trap
Hook and line
Drag net
The sandy beach within the songor lagoon area is quite ideal for the nesting of marine turtles. Within the Songor lagoon area there are important concentration sites such as Totope, Lolonya and Akplabanya areas.
                                    Sea Turtle at Ada-Foah beach

 Every year during the nesting season that is between August and February, three species of marine turtles come to the beach to lay their eggs. Only female turtles come to the beaches.
                                            Sea crab 

They lay their eggs in holes dug with their flippers and drop between 80-150 eggs in it at a time. It takes between 6-8 weeks for the egg to hatch and the hatchings proceed to the sea almost immediately. In fact the marine turtle and its breeding habits are quite unique and most people are interested to travel and watch them when they come to the beach to lay eggs. 

Traditional village life and economic activities Traditional life styles and related village and economic activities of the indigenous people around the Songor lagoon can be of much interest to tourists. Daily village activities methods of mining the salt, pot making, mat and basket weaving are all attractive for promoting tourism in the District. Fetish shrines, beliefs and practices Another potential place, which is of great interest to some tourists, is the traditional religion beliefs and practices prevailing in the District. 
                                        Salt miner, Ada

The Songor lagoon has a fetish priest called Libi Womor who is responsible for maintaining traditional beliefs and practicing the required rituals for the main sacred shrine called ’’yomo’’. Libations and other rituals are performed every year and these already attract domestic and some international tourists including those who want to learn more about traditional beliefs surrounding the songor lagoon. Shrines such as Dasuma and Dada piem are also found in Big Ada.
 
                                            Ada beach
Sport fishing/cruising
Sport game fishing in the Volta River is another potential attraction for tourist Domestic and commercial dugout canoes and modern boats are well developed and the competence of the indigenous fishermen is well known in the District. 
                          Tsarley Kope Beach Resort, Ada 

Apart from the fishing the boat cruising on the River Volta for pleasure is also attractive to tourists. The District is also endowed with some historical building/monuments. Most notable ones are Fort Konestem in Ada Foah, which was built in the 17th Century by the Dutch traders. There is also a missionary cemetery at Ada Foah.
                                            Ada Tsarley Kope beach resort
Triplet Baobab Tree
There is a triplet Baobab tree at K-unyenya which is believed to posses supernatural powers. There are also sacred Groves, the Okorhue and Okorngmleku forests in Goi and southern part of Luhuor respectively. It is believed that there are dwarfs and other supernatural forces existing in the forests.

Salt Mining
Aside the fishing and agricultural activities in the district, mining constitutes another major economic activity for the residents of the district. This is because the district is blessed with the Songhor lagoon which is noted for its high salt production capacity. 
The Salt Development Project Ltd. is a major salt mining initiative in the district in charge of managing the Songhor salt. The operation area stretches over a total land area of about 12,500 acres. This size enables it to produce an average of about 200,000 metric tones of salt annually for the local market and for export to Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria.
It is important to note that, when fully exploited the salt production could increase to a million metric tones annually whilst creation job opportunities for over a thousand persons. It is in the light of this that several efforts have been initiated by the government to increase the production capacity. A major draw back is however, the fact that the salt is not iodized.  The Company’s product forms the basis of the proposed petrochemical Industry, including the production of caustic soda, chlorine, PVC pipes amongst others.
Sand And Gravel Winning
Large scale sand and gravel winning occurs in Tojeh, Sege, the Volta Estuary and along the coast for road construction and building industries.  Consequently, the cost of construction residential facilities is relatively low as compared to other districts in the region. The organizations pay licenses, levies and royalties to the District Assembly and landowners.

Ada  Asafotufiami Festival
BACKGROUND OF ASAFOTUFIAMI FESTIVAL
All traditional area as in Ghana are identified with special festivals which make the people vary distinctly from other areas. The Asafotufiami Festival of the people of Ada Traditional Area in the Dangme East District of the Greater Accra Region is a rich cultural heritage celebrated annually around the first week of August. The celebration of the festival is in remembrance of the achievements in the war for settlements fought by our ancestors, hence the name
            Nene Abram Kabu Akuaku -Paramount Chief of Ada Traditional Area

"ASAFOTUFIAMI".
"ASAFOTUFIAMI" as the name implies, is company firing of musketry. This is the festival of the people of Ada in the olden days which for unknown reasons was discontinued for many years. In the olden days, the Ada state was made up of the following states with their Divisional Chiefs supporting the Ada Mantse as the Paramount Chief and the various Clans at Big-Ada. 
Ada divisional chief in his palanquin

"Agave, Sokpoe, Tefle, Mepe, Mafi, Bakpa, Battor" with the secession of these Divisional Chiefs to form what is now known as the Tongu State, the new post of Wetsoyi (Divisional Chiefs) has been created in addition to the following State Clans of Ada, which formerly, were under their respective Wornorhi and Asafoatseme. Since 1954, the following ten (10) clans have had Wetsoyihi (Divisional Chiefs) to support the paramount stool of Ada.
                            Oath Swear by Adibiawe clan

Adibiawe
Ohuewem   
Kabiawetsu
Lomobiawe   
Korgbor   
Kabiaweyumu
Terkpebiawe   
Kudzragbe      
Kpono
Dangmebiawe
Ada divisional chief

To encourage sons and daughters domiciled in other towns of the country to return home and help the elders in the development of the Ada State as a whole and the towns and villages in particular. The Ada Pastors and Teachers Association (APTA) joined with the Ada National Improvement Association (ANIA) to approach the Chiefs and Elders of the state to have the "Asafotu" Festival revived.
The approach made received the overwhelming support of the Chiefs and the Eiders of the Ada state hence the revival of the ancient "Asafotu" Festival which again started in 1937. There are two (2) Asafo (companies) within the Ada State viz: Akomfode and Asorkor, membership of which according to tradition is by matrilineal linage.
For this reason, children of the same father and different mothers at times find themselves in the opposite company (Asafo) and this confirms the appellation of the people of Ada as "Nyeko Bi, Tseko Bi". According to tradition, the celebration starts from Thursday in the 1st week of August with the arrival of sons and daughters, well wishers and guest(s) from other places to the town. The Thursday is devoted for house cleaning ceremony and pouring of libation at the respective shrines of the various families and keeping of vigil.
At dawn on Friday, as part of the schedule for the celebration, the two companies (Asafo) beat their respective drums to summon their members for the onward march to LUHUESE on the outskirts of Big-Ada where they are compelled and according to ancient custom, all young men who attain the puberty age were then initiated into their respective Asafo companies by taught how to handle, load a gun and fire same for the first time.
This is followed by war formation and the initiates being taught the ancient tactics of warfare. This continues until late afternoon when they will return to the Big-Ada town dressed in traditional military attire and clad with leaves and palm branches signifying conquering heroes returning from the war fronts amid tiring of musketry and war cries.
Awoo Awooo!!
Response
Awe-e-e-e -
 Agba e, Bleku Tso
 - Nsu, O, Nsu 
- Enam O, Enam 
Manye O, Manye
 - Adubani Kpotoo
Singing, firing of musketry and dancing continue here until sunset when the procession continues to Kpomkpo Panya where the Asafo companies form a single file along the riverside and tire three consecutive volleys into the river, dip their feet into it and wash their hands to indicate the carrying away of ail evil an- bad omens of the years and looking forward to all the good in store for the years ahead.  All the followers of the Asafo companies follow the custom of feet dipping and hand washing ceremony. The procession then disperses and everyone retires home with songs of jubilation continuing until late in the night.
The new initiated young men followed by their friends proceed to houses of their in-laws and pay homage by firing musketry thrice acknowledged by cheers and congratulations of inmates.  Drinks and other presentation are made available by the in-laws and the household. The following Saturday is noted for durbar of the Paramount Chief, Divisional Chiefs and Asafoatseme carried in their palanquins through the town to the Big-Ada Presbyterian Junior Secondary School Park where the elders, men, women and children gaily dress and assemble to receive them.
Ada Youth Groups and other benevolent Societies established in certain towns of the country also in their respective uniforms of identity parade through the street of Big Ada to the durbar grounds where they march past and their positions for the Saturday and Sunday functions with their patriotic and melodious songs to grace the occasion.
  After the Paramount Chief have greeted the Divisional Chief s, Asafoatseme and Eiders and the People, he sits -in state to receive in return, Greetings and homage of his people and swearing of Allegiance by the Asafoatseme at which each swearing is sealed with volleys of musketry by the divisions.
The Military Organization of Ada:
Adibiawe (Hlam T)           
Korgbor (Dzase-Hem)
Lomobiawe (Hlam Ta)           
Kudzragbe Dzase se (Atufo)
Tekpebiawe (Hlam Ta)         
Kabiawetsu
Dangmebiawe (Se Ta)          
Kabiaweyumu
Ohuewem (Kpeti Ta)           
KabiaweKpono
The following ancient wars in which the Adas were engaged feature in the oaths of allegiance sworn by the Asafoatseme to the Paramount Chief. Ada-Anlo War, battle of Nonobi, Adas supported by Akwapim, Akim Abuakwa,  Krobo and Agave defeated Anlo, Ada defeated Anlo, Unsuccessful invasion of Anlo by Ada, Akim Abuakwa, Akwapim, Krobo and part of Mefi while Akwamu supported Anlo.  Ada attacked by Anlo and burning of Ada Township. Kantamanso War near Dodowa against the Ashantis which sir Charles McCarthy died and the Ashantis were defeated.  Kantamanso War near Dodowa gainst the Ashantis in which Sir Charles McCarthy died and the Ashantis were defeated.  Glover War Capt. Glover invaded Anlo with forces drawn from Ga, Ada, Krobo, Krepi Akwapim, while Anlo, supported by Avonos and Mafi, were defeated at battles near Adidome, Aveno and Wheta.
After close of the function for the day, the Paramount Chief, Divisional Chiefs, Asafoatseme, Elders and the people, return home accompanied by the Youth Association and the benevolent societies with songs, drumming and jubilation.  Cinema shows, and Grand State Dance in the evening till day break of Sunday when a non-denominational open air Church Service is held at the same venue of the Durbar to give praise and thanks to the Almighty God for his abundant blessing for the success of the festival. 
 The following week day, Monday – Thursday are occupied with Boat Racing, Tug of War, Get-together for the aged, River excursion, Football matches and greeting of individuals and bidding good bye to each other with happy memories of the year.
                            Tourists dressed in traditional Dangme style at Ada Asafotufiami festival
Dangme Proverbs
Bë momo bëö pe bë he. [An old broom sweeps better than a new broom.]
Not only does this particular proverb extol the old broom; it compares it with the new, grades the old one higher and even discourages use of the new broom. Like many proverbs its message is general; it may be interpreted as anti-modernist and conservative. For example, it is better to continue with one’s spouse no matter the problems, than to look for another in the hope of finding a better one; such a hope may turn out to be an illusion.
 Nömo ngë loko aba fö nökötama. [There had been people of old before old people were born.]
Just as there were already elders before those who are now old were born, so too there were equally good tools and ways of doing things before new tools or new methods of doing things were fashioned. Therefore, the new and modern are not necessarily superior to the old; for the old have proven their worth.
                                       Ada people

Koku ngë loko gbogbotle ngë.[Before the chewing-sponge plant came (or sprouted), the anthill was.]
At the primary level, they teach that the anthill is superior to the shrubs that grow on it because the shrubs are dependent upon the anthill. The anthill will remain when the chewing-sponge plant or kanya is weeded or withers. At the deeper level, these proverbs mean that before the world came into being, God existed. When the world passes away and is no more, God will still be. But they are not only cited to teach God’s eternity. They are also used on occasions when one wants to say that some new teaching or ideology or party that is currently in vogue may only be a nine-day wonder, leaving the old to survive it; or that a new person in authority throwing his weight about will not last in that position. Thus, the two proverbs are used to express priority, seniority, superiority and prevalence of the old over the new and incoming — even though the new and modern may give the impression of being more civilized or refined, and therefore superior. It is against the background of such teachings and lessons of experience that the elders caution against trying just anything or embracing every new fashion. This why Dangme say Apee we nö fiaa nö këkë. [Do not follow or embrace just any (new) thing or fashion.]
                              Ada traditional leaders

Ke nyu se kë ngë tö mi ö de e saa. [If water keeps too long in a gourd (or bottle), it goes bad.]
 Because familiarity breeds contempt, frequent change is advantageous in some situations.
Dangme: Kpaku fëë kpaku ngë e nya nö. [Each calabash has its own fitting lid.]
Aka’yë ji Nugo yam’. [It is by trying — or by adopting the attitude of ‘let’s try and see’ — that one can reach Nugo (Ningo)—one of the Dangme coastal towns far from most of the other towns.]
In the olden days when travel was by foot, it took some effort to go to Nugo. But those who tried eventually got there, hence the saying — Aka’yë ji Nugo yam’ — which has now become proverbial wisdom that is used to counsel perseverance in all things.
                           Traditional priestess

 A woö ma bi ta në ke a ya wo ö a gbeö yayi. [One may mention (or expect) tiny herrings and yet go fishing and catch mackerel or kingfish.]
These proverbs provide hope in times of skepticism and despair, or when people are tempted to ask, ‘Can anything good come out o’ Nazareth?’ One may also cite them when faced with anxiety about a new situation.
 Dangme: Ke efi jata a e kpeö nga. [When a lion is in dire need, i.e. starving, it eats grass.]
This proverb resonate with the saying that necessity is the mother of invention. New measures and solutions, even if they are unusual and not particularly acceptable, may turn out to be the most appropriate responses and solutions to current problems.
                              Gathering of chiefs and people of Ada at Asafotufiami festival

 "nunuhi a matsë bu abë ke, AJe ngë se kë nya." [The chief of the flies told a proverb saying, "The world (i.e. life) moves backwards and forwards" or, more literally: "The world has a back and a front side."]
This proverb was created from the keen observation that whenever a fly perches somewhere, it stretches its hind legs backwards and rubs them against each other, then stretches the forelegs forward and wipes its face with them. The fly is saying that the world moves backwards and forwards. The message of the proverb is that those who want to avoid being caught up in life’s deceptions and who wish to be happy, must be cautious, tolerant and prepared for setbacks; for things do not always go smoothly. There are ups and downs; nothing is perfect in all respects. Every popular ideology, slogan, revolution and revival has its progressive aspects and its backward features. For instance, there are advantages and disadvantages in using the latest technologies of modern industry and telecommunications systems. Both healing and adverse side effects may result from the use of even the best medicines. No one can deny the mixed blessings that have come from modern developments such as nuclear technology, reproductive and genetic engineering, long distance travel and tourism, the print and electronic media, to cite just a few. These innovations have brought about improvements in agriculture, longer life and fertility, intercultural penetration and understanding, an explosive distribution of information and knowledge. But they have also introduced many kinds of lethal toxic waste, diseases hitherto unknown, corruption of cultures, increased violence, exploitive sex tourism and so on.
Ada girl

Their experiences with these dualities and incongruities make some people skeptical about innovation and pessimistic about change. Given such experiences in everyday life, proverbs and other sayings have evolved for the purpose of cautioning people not to be overly enthusiastic or overly optimistic about modern innovations. The following Dangme proverbs serve as reminders of the fact that no monolithic progress nor miraculous developments can be claimed for modernization. The Dangme wise people learned long ago that nothing in this world remains the same; rather that things are in a constant state of flux, and that in the ebb and flow of life the state of affairs changes and fortunes change. One thesis passes on, is met by an antithesis, and the two are swallowed up into a synthesis. The pendulum swings and opposites change places. Hence one must be wary of the myth of monolithic development or progress. This is a fact of experience common in nature and in human history, and from which no type of modernization is exempt. To keep aware of these truths and to be cautious about change is the message of the following two Dangme sayings.
 He në je naa ngë ö, lejë ö në dibli woo ngë. [Wherever the day breaks, the sun also sets (or: darkness also falls).
 He në pëë hoo ö, lë nöuu në e pëë hóó. [Where there once is the noise of celebration and festivity, the same becomes a muted place.]
                                        Ada divisional chiefs




















           Fort Kongenstein, Ada
Only traces of Fort Kongenstein may be found in Ada, in the Greater Accra Region. The port of Ada is located at the mouth of the Volta River: thus, Ada boasts both of outstanding beaches and exquisite riverfront scenery. The small fort built by the Danish in 1783 was purchased by the English on the 15th of March 1850 . The fort has since disappeared into the sea.

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