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

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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 (joewykay55@gmail.com/ 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.[1] 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).”[2] 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…”[3] E.A Ammah, looking at its Ga equivalent word, kpojiemͻ, notes the following: Itis 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.”[4]   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”

E. A. Ammah. Materialism in Ga Society. (Accra: Ga Cultural Books, 1965).[1]

E. A. Ammah. Materialism in Ga Society. (Accra: Ga Cultural Books, 1965).[1]

GaMaterialism

Preface

This paper presents a comparative analysis of materialism and idealism in Ga society.  The inspiration for this paper was derived from two sources: the first two chapters of Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism Manual and Osagyefo’s[2] address at the opening of the fifth session of Parliament in 1965.  After reading these works, I realized that many of the ideas which they expressed are inherent in the Ga Outdooring Ceremony.  I, therefore, decided to write this paper to indicate certain aspects of Ga philosophy, in the hope that philosophers whether materialists or idealists would further appreciate Ga philosophical thought.

I should like to thank Marion Kilson, who currently is studying Ga custom and culture, for her editorial and secretarial assistance and John Kedjanyi for his cover design.

E. A. Ammah

Accra

June 1965

Essay: Materialism in Ga Society

 Ga Infant Outdooring Prayer

Strike, strike, strike, may there be peace
Strike, strike, may there be peace
Strike, may there be peace
May our seats be thick
May our brooms be thick
May our circle be intact
May we find water when we sink a well
May the water when drunk give our shoulders ease
To the father of the new-comer, long life
To its mother, long life
Its back is dark
May its front be clear
May it respect the world
Mays its kinsmen be enabled to provide its needs
May it work for us to enjoy
May its back be fruitful
May some survive that others may come
It came with black hair
May it return hoary
Strike, strike, strike, may there be peace

From the dawn of independence, Ghana committed herself to socialism as initiated by Marx and Engels and endorsed by Lenin—which view the world as it actually is.  In fact, dialectical and historical materialism is not foreign to our traditional way of life, as will be demonstrated in this paper.

Everything which Marxist philosophical materialism and materialistic dialectics imply are expressed in the infant Outdooring Ceremony (Bi kpodziemo) in Ga society.  The social implications are vividly expressed in the central prayer (dzoomo) of the rite which “touches every aspect of the life of the infant starting as a pilgrim here on earth—its health and happiness, its relationship with others, its responsibilities and the success with which it is hoped he would meet the many obstacles awaiting him in life.  While the prayer is in part a supplication for strength and blessing it is also a reflection on the vicissitudes of this life, the individual must pull along with the group.”[3]

The book, Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism Manual, notes the difference between Marxist materialism and materialistic dialectics.  The former “emphasizes the relation of matter to mind, the concept of matter, the doctrine of the material unity of the world, analysis of the modes of existence of matter, etc., whereas materialist dialectics puts in the forefront the theory of universal connections of the laws of motion and development of the objective world and their relation in man’s consciousness.”[4]

Coming closer to home in his ceremonial opening of the fifth session of Parliament in 1965, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah said among other things:

Continue reading “E. A. Ammah. Materialism in Ga Society. (Accra: Ga Cultural Books, 1965).[1]”