The Ife/Ana-Ife of Atakpame, Togo

Discussion in 'Black History Main Forum' started by ilevi, Sep 5, 2017.

  1. ilevi

    ilevi Active Member

    Also known as the (corrupted term) "ANAGO", the TRUE Anago/Nago that were taken as slaves by the Dahomey and sold to the Europeans. They were the tribe that reached Ile-Ife alongside the Aja-Erhverh groups in which they underwent the title "ANAWO"(Charles mamattah) (or the earliest Yoruba before the Oduduwa disruption). They claim that their fathers were the Babalawos or Ifa Priests of Ile-Ife in the old days, and that the majority of them left early do to intertribal wars. They also have a corrupted story of the Exodus account.

    Anyway, here is some history on them. You can read the complete story here:

    "Like the Red Sea
    Nagbe Kotannoa is very proud of the exploits of the forefathers of the Ife people of Atakpame. A historian, culture promoter and musician, Kotannoa, in Atakpame, is synonymous with the Tchebe traditional art, whose features are largely traceable to what obtains among the Yoruba in Nigeria. Particularly, he promotes the pole dance, a variant of what the Yoruba call ‘ageere’. In different parts of South-West Nigeria, ageere dancers entertain people at socio-cultural events, just as some of them work with masqueraders.

    Kotannoa, who worked in collaboration with Emmanuel Lambert to produce ‘Thebe: Danse Traditional au Togo’, a book that documents activities of Tchebe dancers, agrees with the authorities that trace the history of Ife Togo to Ile-Ife, Nigeria. According to Kotannoa, he and his people were, in the past, referred to as ‘Anago’. But they rejected the term because they believe it is derogatory. So, they opted for Ife, which describes both the people and the variant of the Yoruba they speak.

    He says, “Ife people came from Egypt. But our ancestors and scholars also noted that we first got to Ile-Ife in Nigeria. Our fathers lived in Ile-Ife for many years. Many of them werebabalawos (native doctors) and hunters. The tribal wars sacked them from Ile-Ife.”

    Kotannoa adds that while some people stayed in Nigeria, the Ife Togo’s forefathers left. First, they settled in Benin Republic, but had to move on when another war broke out. He narrates the exploits of the adventurers in the bush, including their encounter with a strange being called Akuda, who relished dancing mesmerisingly on top of a tree. According to him, Akuda was a one-eyed, one-breasted and a one-legged being. A spiritualist would later tell them that any time they had a problem, all they needed to do was to dance Akuda’s Thebee dance. The ‘drug’ became so potent for them that even when they wanted to celebrate any season,Akuda’s dance was top on the menu. Of course, the dance, till today, features in Ife Togo’s annual New Yam Festival.

    Kotannoa adds that when wars eventually pushed the people to the present location in Togo, which had yet to be named Atakpame then, they met the Udu people, said to be of Ghanaian origin. But the Udu were later outnumbered by the Nigerian migrants. Eventually, a prominent tree called Atakpara, from where the people get chewing stick till today, inspired a name that all the tribes agreed could define them.

    “Atakpara was adjusted to Atakparame until it was finally shortened to Atakpame,” Kotannoa notes.

    The Ife in Togo also pay homage to the seven mountains – especially the Oke Ekpa, the way natives of Ibadan pay homage to Okebadan (Ibadan Mountain) and the way the Egba salute the Olumo Rock in Nigeria. Kotannoa explains that at a point the fight became heated, the Mount Ekpa opened and allowed the Ife Togo people to pass through to the other side. It closed as soon as the last person crossed.

    He adds, “When the enemies got there, the mountain opened again, but immediately swallowed all of them. It swallowed them like the Red Sea. So, whenever we want to celebrate Odun Itshu– the Yam Festival – our men go to Oke Ekpa to perform the ceremony,” Kotannoa enthuses.

    He gives the names of the other mountains as Oke Ologbo, Akposo, Omi Kosi, Agama, Aru Egidigbe and Batabali. A visit to the mountains by our correspondent showed that they surround the town, which corroborates Kotannoa’s assertion that they serve as a wall of defence for the people. Not much is, however, going on there, perhaps in terms of the need to really turn them into tourist attractions."

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