The Asorgli Erhverh side of the Ngotsie tradition

Discussion in 'Black History Main Forum' started by ilevi, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. ilevi

    ilevi Active Member

    Migration Narratives of Ave-Dakpa

    "The migration of the ancestors of Ave-Dakpa was an intriguing history to learn. Migration narratives are found in oral testimonies collected among groups of Ave-Dakpa elders. These various narratives have been compared thoroughly and approved for accuracy by the elders. Below, I present a synthesized account of the migration derived from the narratives I collected. The migration account of the people of Ave-Dakpa is similar to that of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea under the leadership of Moses as described in the Bible (see Exodus chapter 14). Similar to all other Ewes, the ancestors of Ave-Dakpa migrated from Glime also known as Notsie, the ancestral home of the Ewes. Several oral accounts in addition to scholars of Ewe history, literalture and cultures such as Amenumey (1986; 1989; 1997), Green (2002), Agbodeka (1997), Laumann (2005), Lawrence (2005), Nukunya (1997), Kumassah (2009), Gbolonyo (2009) Gayibor and Aguigah (2005), and Mamattah (1976) among others maintain that the Ewe speaking people migrated from Notsie. Legend has it that the migration was a result of inhuman and unbearable tasks the king Togbi Agorkorli I imposed on the people. For example, it is recounted that he ordered the people to make a rope out of clay mixed with broken glasses and thorns, and relentlessly punished those who did not obey him."

    "The four legendary ancestors Togbi Kutor, Kofi Ekpetor, Atta Kofi and Ashagbor met separately to deliberate on issues concerning the groups they were in charge of. These gatherings, according Mr. Awunyo, took place in the bush so that no one overheard their discussion. Additionally, the four men had different dzokawo (charms). For instance, some had zigi dzo (a type of charm or magic that can make one vanish or turn in to something else – animal, leaves or some object), amlima tsisti (a charm to conjure something up) and gbogbome nukpolawo (a charm for perceiving spirituality). These four men regularly tested each other with different charms and magic. One day they were gathered again in their deliberations and saw a pregnant woman slowly walking to her farm on another bush road. The four men started speculating about the gender of the baby in the woman’s womb. Some predicted a boy, others a girl, and another person predicted twin boys based on the size of the woman’s stomach. All of a sudden, there ensued arguments between the four elders that led to a bet about the baby. How would this result be determined? The four men walked to the direction of the pregnant woman. When they got to her they attacked her and operated on the woman and she died. However, they realized the baby in her womb was a boy. When they found out that the baby was a boy they wrapped the dead woman and put her in hotome.1 An old custom practiced before the migration of Ave-Dakpa group from Notsie was that when people die they shave half of their head bald before they bury them. As the pregnant woman died the four men shaved half of her hair before she was hidden. Unfortunatey for these Ave-Dakpa leaders, while this operation was going on there was a boy who was scared and hid himself in the bush and witnessed all that happened to the pregnant woman and how her hair was shaved. Two weeks after the incidence, there were announcements throughout the town of a missing pregnant woman who had left her house and never returned. Struggling with this secret, the boy who had witnessed the action of the men went to the chief’s palace and reported all that he saw and described the location where the woman was hidden to the chief and his royal men. According to Togbi Ekpetor III, the boy said, amedzro siwo va dze mi la, wu funo le agble mota, kpa da afa ne, he tsoe de hotome. This literally means “the visitors who have come to settle with us in the town, murdered the pregnant woman, shaved half of her hair bald and hid her in the thick bush” (interview with Togbi Ekpetor III, April 15, 2012). On hearing this tragic news the chief gathered his counselors to arrest the four Ave-Dakpa leaders and possibly kill them and take the rest of their people captives. Even before this tragic news was reported to the chief and his council the ancestors of Ave-Dakpa foresaw the consequences of their actions and secretly planned an escape before the town was aware of their evil deed. Deep in the night the Ave-Dakpa migrants escaped in small numbers from Mafi Kutibolor while their four leaders stood guard physically and spiritually. After a long deliberation the chief of Mafi Kutibolor organized his warriors and brave men to surround the territory where Ave-Dakpa migrants were residing and set part of their property ablaze with the idea of starting a fight. Throughout this operation they consistently referred to the four men as “dakpalawo,” the people who shaved the hair of the woman.

    Oral accounts maintain that they did not find anyone in their location or compound area. Mafi-Kutibolor warriors started searching every possible route to find the Ave-Dakpa leaders and their groups. Finally, they found a few Ave-Dapka who were already dead from exhaustion and others with severe injuries caused by walking through the dangerous forest. The warriors finally heard their enemies lamenting around the Mafi-Bakpa river where the Ave-Dakpa people had been stranded because there was no means to cross the river. From a distance, the Ave-Dapka heard the sounds of the Mafi-Kutibolor warriors pursuing them. As the Ave-Dakpa people were about to surrender to Mafi-Kutibolor warriors, Togbi Kutor, the most spiritually powerful among their leaders moved a few distance from the rest of the group to pray to the gods and deities. According to oral history, Togbi Kutor heard a voice instruct him to put his walking stick into the river. This was the stick that he often used to protect the group during difficult and precarious situations. This time all hope seemed to be lost because Mafi-Kutibolor warriors were close and ready to fight. Acting according to what the gods commanded Togbi Kutor walked to the river and prayed for the second time and dipped his walking stick into the Bakpa river. There appeared a huge rock in the river unfolding to the other end of its shore. With no hesitation, Togbi Kutor led his people across the rock. As the Ave-Dakpa people walked on the rock the Mafi-Kutibolor warriors chased them onto that same rock to capture them. Togbi Kutor evoked the gods again and the rock slowly disappeared thereby causing the entire Mafi-Kutibolor warriors to perish into the middle of the deep river. The magical rock on which they walked across the Bakpa river appeared again and led them safely to their present home named Ave-Dakpa. The rock was named Amesikpe meaning, “the rescued rock.” This huge rock still exists and is believed to work mysteriously to protect the entire Ave people anytime it is invoked appropriately. Amesikpe became a trusted rock and a major god for which Ave people especially Ave- Dakpa inhabitants.

    Several oral accounts of Dakpa chiefs and elders testify that the ancestors who survived the migration were further instructed by the gods to establish shrines and cults to protect, intercede and alert Ave-Dakpa in times of danger. The Yeve cult is one among the many shrines that was instituted in Ave-Dakpa for this purpose. This was how the town Ave-Dakpa was formed with strong religious beliefs rooted in the legacy of the ancestors’ spirituality through divine protection of Amesikpe, the rescued stone. Every year a migration festival is celebrated in honor of the ancestors and the significance of Amesikpe in the life of the people. Also, the name Dakpa derived from how the four legendary leaders shaved the deceased pregnant woman’s hair before she was hidden in hotome. The name became attached to the town based on the history of what happened during the peoples’ migration journey. Therefore, dakpalawo became shortened to Dakpa and the townbecome known as Ave-Dakpa."



    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
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  2. ilevi

    ilevi Active Member

    Asorgli, a branch of the Anlo, were the people that Jakob Spieth recorded the variant of the tradition of the Exodus account. From his book Ewe-Stamme or Ewe people: a study of the Ewe people in German Togo, Jakob wrote a similar account but in a corrupted form. If anyone has the actual book, it can be found on page 744 although, its best to start at 743 as it gives the entire account: the section on the "THE MATSE TRIBE":

    B. The crossing of the Haho River

    "On their journey, they arrived at the banks of a big river called Haho. Because they could not cross it, they all stood helplessly on the bank of the river. Dzonu and Nusenu, his father's son, then conferred together: "What shall we do now? I don't want to go back to that wicked man. Let's, therefore, wade across the river." The story has it that Nusenu, the ancestral father of the Dzolo people, took an iron rod and, with it, he struck the surface of the river, dividing it into two. After they had crossed the river, it resumed flowing again. That was how all the tribes were able to cross the river. The iron rod, with which Dzonu performed the miracle is there, and can be seen today. The people refer to it as the akplorsu."
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  3. Mawuli

    Mawuli TheGuide Staff Member

    Did you notice this are two stories combined into one story?
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  4. ilevi

    ilevi Active Member

    Truth be told, I didn't even realize that until now. One is part of the exodus account while the other seems to be the story from the book of judges, on the chapter regarding the Levite that cut his wife into 12 pieces to be sent throughout the 12 tribes of Israel but, I could be wrong. Did you decipher the story?

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