We are not Jews or descended from Jews. We are Ga!!!

We are not Jews or descended from Jews.  We are Ga!!!  by Ade Sawyerr

London January 2013


Far too many times have I heard the myth repeated that the Ga are descended from Israel and in fact Jews.  I have always restrained myself from responding lest I trample on the sensibilities of those who want to believe in myths.

Let me state here emphatically that all the folklore of our people may have pointed to the fact that we migrated from afar but no one has been able to provide the evidence of this unfortunate myth.  I do not even know why it started, perhaps in the mind of some of our elders who felt so culturally inferior that they seek to boost their esteem by likening themselves to people who they felt were culturally successful and superior.  I sincerely think as we search for answers for our problems we need to be proud of our heritage, more importantly we need that positive make that will shake us out of our self perceived marginalisation so that we can help to build a better Ghana and Africa.

We cannot be Jews and we also cannot be descended from Israel and the early we wake up to that the better.

Let me categorical about this.  The Ga were there at the time of Creation even if we migrated from afar.  We are not lost and therefore we cannot be part of a lost tribe of Israel.  The State of Israel came for the Falashas from Ethiopia some decades ago and I do not know what really happened to them thereafter, but I am more than certain that if they felt that Ga people were from Israel they would have made attempts to come for us given all the numerous complaints about our being marginalised and what would have happened would have been our becoming the hewers of wood for them.


There is an interesting book – HEBREWISM OF WEST AFRICA by Joseph J Williams. It was written in 1930 and it discusses the ASHANTI without any mention of the Ga as a possible Jewish tribe.  It is still in print and those who want to perpetrate this meet should go and read it.

I have read here and elsewhere about the tribes of Gad and Dan; who became Gadangme.  I know where that came from and would not comment here on it save to say that I know that it was manufactured and contrived much in the same way as the concept of Akan has been contrived. In any case I have been told that the Jews were those from the tribe of Judah and all the other tribes cannot be Jews though they were Israeli

The Ga have a rich language full of beautiful and elegant figures of speeches, alliteration double onomatopoeic, similes, proverbs that are nowhere near whatever the Jews speak.  Linguistically we cannot be Jews or Israeli.

Some have cited the great book ‘Omanye Aba’ on outdooring by AA Amartey.  He did not say we were descended from Jews he made certain postulations that I wish to deal with.

1. Outdooring and naming of children on the 8th Day.  Exodus. 12:19. The Ga are not the only tribe in the world who name their children.  I will be very surprised that if we were there at the time of creation we will have to go and learn how to name our children from another tribe.

2. Naming of the children by the paternal side.  Indeed even for tribes that are matrilineal, the children are named by the father.

3 Pre-ordained family names.  In many societies there are set names that are used within the families.  My great-grandfather on my paternal side was Jacob Williamson, my father was Jacob, and I was named Jacob Williamson.  On my maternal side, I have many who are named William Jacob.  I am not a Jew neither do I come from Israel.

4.  The role of Chief priests and similarities with our wulomei.  Yes we are a spiritual people but our religion is not the Judaism.

5. Celebration of Homowo on the second Saturday in the month of August as in Exodus 12:18 –

6. Our New Year greeting! Arcane issue about why Kpokpoi is not eaten after the day of the Homowo or else the eight day will not meet with them.  Kpoikpoi actually tastes better if it is fried the next day.  Is our Kpoikpoi the unleavened bread for the Passover?

7.  The mud over the lintel of homes at Homowo denotes a Passover event.  – My understanding is that in most cultures, there are festivals and there are preparations for the festival days.  We must have in the past, when we lived in mud houses renewed our homes with mud and it is most likely that some would have spilled onto the lintel

8.  The Passover again!!???

The Ga may be a theocracy and not worship many gods but only the one Everlasting God, but all tribes of the world have their religion, most are similar because after all we cannot have a total plurality of religions systems. My other contention is that if those who came to colonise us had realised that we were indeed Jews, they would have left us on our own.

Culturally, we are nowhere near being Jews, linguistically we are nowhere Jews, our ethnicity is quite different and scientifically it has been proved that the first humans were found in Africa.  How can we have migrated the other way?

Let me translate from a Kpele song that Armar Amartey quotes in Omanye aba.

We came from afar

We come from the sea

The forest belongs to us

We came from somewhere

We went and sojourned in another place

We are in Ga

We came from Ga

We came and met the Ga

We are in Ga!!!!

If we were around at the time of creation and were made by the God that we believe in, why do we have to be Jews to justify our existence?

In this coming year let us work to project our language and our culture, let us be better at researching our history even if we accept some folklore, but let us cut out the myth.

We are not Jews, we were there at the time of creation.  We are Ga!!!

26 thoughts on “We are not Jews or descended from Jews. We are Ga!!!

  1. Thank you for what I regard as living Water for avery Thirsty Kinkanwenyobi!!!..May you be Blessed with more wisdom as you continue in this Noble Service of ENLIGHTENMENT of Ga Natives.

    1. Thank you for what I regard as LIVING WATER FOR A VERY THIRSTY “KINKANWENYOBI”!!!
      May you be Blessed with more Wisdom and Knowledge as you continue this NOBLE SERVICE of ENLIGHTENMENT of GA Natives.

  2. Sami, I watched you speak on a video at the opening of an exhibition in Ghana last year or the year before. i have been learning over the years to do a bit of our culture and to help preserve it as much as we can. It may lead us to solution of some of problems if in posing the questions we take the culture into account. i can say that the culture is very rich and vibrant and the traditional underpinning are very solid but we need to understand them before we can adapt them.
    as the old Ga proverb suggests – Gbɔ hiŋɛ mli kplɛkplɛ shi enaa maŋ mli. A stranger with the brightest eyes still cannot see what happens in the town. It is only he people in the town who can project their stuff and explain it.

  3. What is your opinion of the theory of migration of the Ga from the Nile Valley? Many of the traditions of Ga appear to mirror those of ancient Egypt (Kemet) and Kush. There is also linguistic evidence of the migration of West African ethnic groups from the Nile Valley (see “Ancient Egypt and Black Africa” by Theophile Obenga, “Pre-colonial Black Africa” by Cheikh Anta Diop, and “Eloquence of the Scribes” by Ayi Kwei Armah.

    P.S. My family is from Jamaica, and my great-great Grandmother was called Quattie from which I understand is a Ga name. Are there any comprehensive histories of the Ga people which I can read? Are there any DVD’s of Ga ceremonies?

    P.P.S One of the leaders of the largest slave revolt in Jamaica was Tacky, who led Tacky’s rebellion, whom many say was a Ga Chieftain.

    1. Kwame,
      Thanks very much for this. My thesis really is that we the Ga are also an ancient people and based on our own creation stories, we were there at the time of creation. So you may say that some of the ancient Egypt tradition mirror those of the Ga and not the other way round. If luminaries such as Cheikh Diop and AyiKwei Armah has spent more of their time studying their ow cultures, i am sure that there is a lot that they would unearth about their own people and not constantly suggest that we were part of what they and the West regards as more cultured parts of Africa!
      I am sure that there has been migration – the linguistic evidence would be laughed out of any court any day. it is not just there and has been made up as many times. there are many Ga names that are found in the Bible but there are certainly many more in Japan! No one says we are Japanese, Why? Because all our evidence points to our being there at the time of creation.
      I hope that others who are interested will delve more into our culture and not leave it to Westerners who have done very well but who often need reference point to authenticate their findings and give rise to making these comparisons. Kwate is differently a Ga name from Asere and Taki is also a Ga name from Abola.
      Unfortunately there are no DVDs of many Ga ceremonies but it is not too late for us to do this.
      If you are interested in coming to ask questions and to participate – there is a growth in internet forums devoted to this work and there are organisations such as Gadangme Nikasemo Asafo in London who have tried to project our culture.
      Thanks again.

      1. Thank you for your reply Ade, your information will help me in my search for my roots. I must respectfully disagree with you on your point that linguistics do not withstand scrutiny. There are certain words called root words, such as tree, sun and home that are difficult to inherit from other languages. For instance the Greek word for tree “drus” is similar to the Slav, “drewo”, Indo-Iranian, “daru”, and the Anglo-Saxon, “treow”. The Pharaonic Egyptian word for sun, “ra”, is the same word used for sun among the Songhay, Vai, Susu, Numu, and Samo among many others (Obenga).

        There are ancient settlements of the Ga in the Great Lakes region (Diop, p. 213). Finally, there are common oral histories among disparate West African groups telling of a great migration from the Nile Valley, and, many of these groups settled in Wagadou in ancient Ghana before migrating to other places in West Africa. Armah cites the works of Wa Kamissoko (a griot), Tata Cisse, Bassirou Deng and Lilyan Kestleloot which compiles these migration stories (Eloquence pp.181 – 198). Sometimes these accounts mentioned specific ancient Egyptian towns.

      2. Kwame,
        Whilst I respect the intellect of Diop and Ayikwei Armah, ,y view is that they framed their research questions wrongly. If they had gone to seek traces of Ga custom and tradition amongst the Egyptians and found the same, i would have been more impressed with their scholarship. As it stands i am clear that as a ga i am not descended and neither did i migrate from Egypt of the Nile. The ga language has been classified as Kwa which is quite different from any kemetic language but i recognise that all languages borrow from one another. In In the ga language we even have kowtowshi which arrived came to us from the English who must also have borrowed it from the Chinese or some other.
        Creation stories all over the world are similar and most claim that they came from sommewhere. My contention is that the ga were there at the time of creation and for as lnng as there is no weighty evidence to prove that we came from stock other than Ga, i will not givecredence to the stuff of Ayikwie Armah. Afterall we are all the human race – one human race scientifically originating from Africa.
        For us to believe that Egypt or The Garden of Eden was the origin of the ga is to suggest that because they had a literary tradition, their stories should be believed more that our folklore. The more you delve into our religious cults the more you realise that we also had an aboriginal grouping. If you but understood the Ga language i would have provided you with numerous proof of what i am stating. We say we come from far – we did not say we come from Egypt or the Nile or the Eden. I am sure in time when we are no longer fazed with the stories of the greatness of the Pharoahs and such like we will come to realise that our own social organisations were so resilient that there is no need for us to align or affiliate ourselves with any great tradition before we can thrive.
        Your comments on this piece will be valued
        best regards

  4. I believe strongly that this piece of article shows the author’s own ignorance to the issues of migration. The least said, the better. Why not rather go conduct a better geographical research and spare me this piece of lame story as told by you.

    1. Grateful if the learned Nii Gakpo can point me to some hard evidence from a peer researched historical article since all the assertions I have heard so far are pure noise.

  5. I do not support the writers view. I think he is just being self analytical and making asumptions which sound just sensible but not factual. I have traces my source recently to Aneho and to Benin which clearly shows the source of our migration. I intend to do same to Nigeria and to kush. some people who have gone to Israel and seen priest dressed like our present day wolomei, their pouring of libation, similarities in culture and traditions and names with reference to the bible, clearly points to our relationship to the Jews

    1. Nii Nikoi, thanks for your comments. Actually, it is for you to prove that you are Jewish and i leave that to you and others. All i am saying is that i have not seen that proof. Aneho can be explained – we went back there. Kush is probably not where you think it is. I have just posted a piece on the Ga virtual facebook page – a people blessed. No evidence was offered in that. Irene Odotei, the foremost GaDangme historian of note in Ghana found no evidence and yet her writing was dismissed as…
      Equally, Quaye’s reasons for doubting a Jewish origin of the Gá-Dangme seem suspect. Her argument is two-fold: the Ga-Dangme cannot be Jewish in origin since they are a negroid people; and cultural and linguistic characteristics among two peoples cannot be conclusive evidence a common origin.

      In response to the first part of this argument it suffices here to point to the acceptance of the Falasha or Ethiopian Jews as part of the original twelve tribes of Israel. The Falasha are not a semitic people; they were largely accepted as Jews simply on the grounds of their religion and culture. As to the second part of the argument, convincing evidence need not be conclusive; it suffices to show that similarities between two groups of people are not incidental.
      So the ball is really in your court! Facts are backed by evidence and there is none.

      when people use the Bible as a reference point i like to remind them that the Bible was only recently brought to us and translated into Ga fairly recently in our existence. What were we before the whiteman brought us the Bible? Jewish and we did not know it?

  6. “Our relationship to the Jews”. Why not the “Jews’ relationship to us”.? And therein lies the inferiority complex.

    Had the Jews been some “ordinary” people with no notable achievements to speak of, I doubt that folks would be contorting themselves just to associate with them. Indeed, there are people who may take offence for being associated with Jews!.

    Enough of this cultural grafting. Let us build our own greatness and let someone else seek a lineage to it.

  7. With respect to Ga’s not being Jews you are right because Jews follow Judaism and are not really Israelites. The Europeans have taken the Israelite belief for there own. They also introduced Xtianity which sadly most Ga’s adhere to (following false laws is what got is in trouble in the first place, this includes Judaism/Jewry as it is derived from Mans laws and not the Torah). Not all Ga’s are Israelites and some migrated into the Ghana Empire region before and during the first exile from Israel.

    I am a Ga and I can trace my roots back to Israelite heritage Old Testament only and not the addition of any new testament or man god.

    The Europeans would have you believe that Africans had no history before slavery and were savages but that is only the Europeans history that degrades our heritage. They have even tried to take on our heritage and lots of science and advancement’s were adopted from black African communities including the black Egyptians (who have been replaced by Arabs and Europeans) influenced the Advanced Greek culture. Th Arabs also oppressed Africans and some of these were Israelites albeit adopted into their new countries.

    There is actually lots of history to support some Ga’s are Israelites but in line with Torah prophecies we have gone into captivity even if things appear to be good (just like the Babylonian captivity things were Ok for Israelites).No other race can prove there heritage is Israel with supporting text from the Torah other than certain black people’s.

    I understand one wants to identify with our own heritage but due to Jews claiming this title some Africans don’t want to associate with it, Israelite’s and Jews are not the same. Even if you look into history Africa had a good relationship with Israel as did Africans. In the Torah text is often misquoted to give the impression that Blacks are cursed or an evil people when it is the contrary i.e Nimrod the mighty hunter was not a rebel but the text actually supports a good man before the Lord.

    I will not go further into detail but know that the current rulers of this World are not going to promote that blacks have a rich culture or that the Israelites were a black people.

    1. Anim, i think that if the Ga are Jews, it would be so easy to offer proof of this to settle the matter once and for all. we all learn to unlearn but there are also several myths around us. Indeed the minute you go into the Torah to offer proof, it really means that you are justifying after the fact. The Ga did not have the Torah with them. Indeed it was the likes of Zimmerman and other Europeans who helped to us to start writing and reading and brought the Bible with them.
      But i will concede any point you make is you offer me that proof. we learn to unlearn

  8. Great ! but the writer left us in the “wilderness” without telling us out origin.Migration is something that has happen to many tribes. History tells us the it is only the Guans who were the original inhabitants of Ghana. Can we research where we come from ? I will love to help……ANCIENT GHANA EMPIRE IS ON MY MIND

    1. Henry, Like you I am also interested in our origins. i am however satisfied that we may have migrated from somewhere but find it difficult to accept that we are Jews. I will leave the genealogists and historians to resolve that for all of us. i would also be willing to participate in your search though i am not sure that we should be going the route of the ancient Ghana Empire

    2. I would like to know myself about the GA people. I’m a Jamaican n recently found out by dna testing that I’m related to the Tettey people of Accra Ghana. My dna results said 88% subsaharan African n 79.9western Africa. Where does the leads me

  9. The whole of West Africa was ruled by the Hebrews, YAHUWDAH in particular Maps, history, books, what other evidence do u need… In fact the Hebrew Yahuwdah tribes in Africa are uncountable… Evidence is all over in maps, download 1747 Emmanuel Bowen map of West Africa, 1743 heriters d Homan map of West Africa, 1829 Bruce Bennet etc barthlow… All show the kingdom of Yahuwdah clearly in West Africa…

      1. The writer is not well informed. Our knew ewhere they came from. They would not claimed be something they were not. He must be thinking that those whites are Israelites. They are not.

  10. Our ancestors have never claimed to be Jewish, the Jewish clamour is from later day revisionists who have decided that we become special is we become something that we are not. My challenge is about asking people those people to provide their evidence – i am still waiting and now the suggestions are that Israelites are black and Jewish are black and the original Jews inhabited what is now West Africa so we are Jewish. Let us deal with more cogent and substantive arguments and then we may be leading to positive direction

  11. Emmanuel bowen maps as evidence of Judaism in west Africa have been debunked. I agree with the author. It’s far past due time that we abandon the fantasy and mythology of religion and proclamation of any spiritual or cultural system outside of an African system. You’ve abandoned timeless spiritual system for one that’s relatively new and furthermore illogical, impractical and completely falsified.

  12. Thumbs down 👎👎👎they are Jews in Africa if they say their not Jews then where not talking about them but the ones who call themselves African Jews like me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s