BOOK REVIEW: THE OUTDOORING DEDICATION AND NAMING OF AN AFRICAN CHILD: A CEREMONY OF THE GADANGME PEOPLE OF SOUTHEASTERN GHANA – Ganyobi Kpojiemͻ Vol 1 by Ernest H.C. Tetteh (London: Ophelia Vanderpuye On-line Publishing, 2016).
By Gyau Kumi Adu (firstname.lastname@example.org/ https://joewykay.wordpress.com/)
Reflections on the Book
The primal purpose of this book is to explain three interwoven cultural practices of the Gadangmes: The outdooring, dedication, and naming ceremony of Gas. Although there are writings on Ga naming ceremonies, there is no book on the Ga culture that extensively deals specifically with the depth of Ga names this way the book does. The author’s exegesis and mastery of Ga names is incredible. In fact, after reading the book I realized that if you take away a person’s indigenous name, you take away a person’s distinct cultural identity and heritage. Our names partly define us. Can Ghana be said to be Ghana after all the local names have been erased? Am I still a Ghanaian when I have a totally Western name? Can my lineage be traced if I adopt a completely Western name? Can I be an indigenous Ga and still be a Christian? These were some of the lingering thoughts on my mind after I finished reading this classic book.
The outdooring ceremony is principally one in which “a baby is brought outside for the first time (usually occurring eight days after birth).” In the words of the writer, the “beautiful ceremony [is] to symbolically introduce a new-born baby to God… as well as to the mysteries of the seen and the unseen world…” E.A Ammah, looking at its Ga equivalent word, kpojiemͻ, notes the following: It ‘is made up of three words. “Kpo” is “yard”, “dzie” is from ‘dze’ “come out” or “appear”, and “mͻ” is person… [Therefore it] means to “take or bring the child out into a yard.” It is at this outdooring ceremony that the baby is dedicated and given a name (family identity). Hence, a child is not recognized as part of the family without the ceremony.
Continue reading “The Outdooring, Dedication and Naming of an African Child – A Ceremony of the GaDangme People of SouthEastern Ghana – Ganyobi Kpojiemͻ Vol 1 Book Review by Gyau Kumi Adu”
In the spring of 2008, I gazed into my crystal ball and came out with this. How wrong I was on several fronts!
The Blackening of the White House Ade Sawyerr
Barack Obama’s historic appointment as Democratic candidate in the US elections puts the presidency within the grasp of a Black man for the first time. But his views on race are having an impact far beyond the shores of the US, as Ade Sawyerr explains….
On 20th of January 2017, a new president will be sworn in to take charge of America; this new president will be replacing President Barack Obama who would have completed a successful two terms as president of the most powerful country in the world.
President Obama would be handing over to a Democratic Party candidate because he would have used his presidency to deliver on domestic issues of health, education, jobs and a good economy and the concerns of ordinary for all the people in America. He would most likely be handing over to a woman president who would be following in his mould breaking fashion of his having become the first black president.
Through his historic achievement in becoming Democratic nominee for the US presidential elections, Barak Obama has attained heights that were not achievable for black men in America just 50 years ago. Then African Americans were, in the main, excluded from politics. They were fighting to be allowed to vote, but their only option was to vote for white men.
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Book Review: Traditions and Customs of the Gadangmes of Ghana: Descendants of Authentic Biblical Hebrew Israelites by Joseph Mensah (Houston: Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co., 2013.)
By Gyau Kumi Adu (email@example.com/ https://joewykay.wordpress.com/)
The thesis of the book is to demonstrate that Gadangmes are of Jewish origin. A careful distinction is made in the book between Jews (from the tribe of Judah) and Israelites (all the 12 tribes). Although, all Jews are Israelites, not all Israelites are Jews. Mensah writes “Most people have come to incorrectly to associate the term Jew with Israelite… an Israelite is a descendant of Jacob… The term Jew (Hebrew)… means a descendant of Judah.” This distinction is important since in the history of the Israelites, Judah became the southern kingdom, and Israel the northern kingdom. The central theme of this book is that the Gas hail from the Jewish stock.
One of the important discussions that no one studying the Ga culture can ignore is the whether they are from the Jewish stock or not. Mensah agrees with Ga oral history that the Gas are of the Hebrew stock. He further advances this perspective by pointing out that Gadangmes could possibly be from the “Gadites” tribe of Israel using linguistics. He writes.
They [i.e. the Gas from oral tradition] believe they are descendants of ‘CUSH’ or perhaps, Gad and Dan from the twelfth tribe of Israel. It’s fascinating to note the name of their King who led them to Ayawaso in Ghana is Ayi Kushi (Cush); and this lends support to their claim that they are Jews… It will appear that the letter “d” became omitted from the word Gad over several centuries. What we now refer to as Ga people is rather GAD people or people from the tribe of Gad.
In other words, the Ga are Gadites as the word Gadangme suggests. Probably, during interactions between this Gadite stock of Jewish Gas and other cultures, a transformation occurred within the culture. Eventually, a suffix was added to the word Gad: “angme”, making it Gadangme.
Another interesting thing about this linguistic historic analysis of Mensah is that it seems the meaning of Gad and Ga has a strong semblance. The Ga historian, Rev Carl Reindorff notes that the word “Ga” is coined from the expression gaga, “connoting black-ants or a marching army of termites which form military troops devouring everything that comes their way. History tells of a similar conquest by the ancient Gas. They destroyed armies that crossed their path.” Hence, the meaning of the word Ga connects to a military soldier. Interestingly, the Hebrew word ‘Gad’ can be also translated as fortune or soldier.
Continue reading “Traditions and Customs of the Gadangmes of Ghana: Descendants of Authentic Biblical Hebrew Israelites – Book Review by Gyau Kumi Adu”
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
his inner mercies never come to an end
they are new every morning, new every morning
great is thy faithfulness O Lord, Great is thy faithfulness
Mrs Honora Moronike Sawyerr Twumasi
21 November 1946 – 18th December 2006
A full life, a life well lived, a life of fulfilment that has touched all that she has been associated with, a life that must be celebrated by all those who have been left behind and a selfless life of toil that must be an exemplar for all.
Honora, Onike was born to Mr J Ade Sawyerr of blessed memory and Sophia Araba Sawyerr nee Mould of Jamestown. She was christened Honora as a tribute to her late Grandfather who was then an Honourable member of the Legislative Assembly of Ghana.
She started and completed her primary school education at St Mary’s School in Accra and continued her Middle School at Kotababi Middle School, K1. After successfully passing her common entrance examination at Form 3 she went on to Aburi Girls School to start her secondary education. After a year battling with frequent bouts of illness living in the high altitude of the Aburi hills, and where her sickle cell condition was discovered she left Aburi to restart at Accra Girls Secondary School, as a proud member of the second set of that school.
Continue reading “Ten years on – missing Onike Sawyerr Twumasi”
Whilst reflecting on the reasons why the American electoral college system rejected the former first lady, Hillary Clinton at the polls though she won the popular vote, I have been wondering whether it is just because people do not like former first ladies to succeed their husbands in the highest office of state despite their experience and capability.
It is certainly true that political campaigns do not always reward the most qualified candidates and in Ghana which goes to a general election on December 7 2016, another former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings attempts for the first time to win office as president several years after her husband Jerry John Rawlings stepped down as president. But in these days of ‘fake news’ and ‘post truth’ politics, the vision and clarity offered in the message of the smaller parties have been drowned under the campaign noise of the larger parties in but the traditional and social media.
The journey by the NDP candidate Nana Konadu in getting her name on the ballot paper has been long often thwarted many times by officialdom. In 2012, after she had formed her own party, the National Democratic Party and been selected as their presidential candidate, the Electoral Commission disqualified her because the forms had not been properly completed. In this coming election, she was again initially disqualified by an overzealous Electoral Commission but that unfair disqualification was overturned by the Supreme Court against an appeal from the Electoral Commission. So, she stands as qualified and competent and indeed capable candidate in this election.
Continue reading “This is no way to treat a former first lady! In praise of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings”
A year older and hopefully much wiser allows me to reminiscence about a wonderful life thanks to the blessings that God has showered on me. I was born in a popular place in Ghana, Accra, Ga Mashie near the Salaga Market, delivered by a lady midwife who needs to be applauded for the excellent work she did in supervising my birth and several others of my generation. I have tried today to find whether there is any mention of her on the internet but sadly cannot find any trace on the web about her midwifery practice. Then she was just called Aunty Sisi. She was Mrs Nettey-Marbell. Perhaps the reason why i cannot get Google to trace her is because it was so long ago.
i found this weighing card and thought that it told its own story!
Now let me reconstruct what must have happened. My parents lost a son before I was born, so I suspect that after the funeral rites of this brother that I did not know, they were locked up in accordance with Ga custom, and encouraged to try for another child, a fruitful result, if I may say so myself. Born a bundle of joy to my parents but also causing a lot of anguish because my frequent bouts of illness, they must have spent a fortune those days taking me to hospital after hospital for these undiagnosed illnesses and several traditional medicine practitioners as they sought a cure for my twetweetwe.
Continue reading “I am not a Cow&Gate baby: I was naturally nurtured”