There are tribes in Africa, whose Hebraic customs and oral histories identify them as authentic descendants of the nation of Israel. Throughout the culture and history of the Ga-Dangmes of Ghana, is a very strong conclusive evidence that they are direct descendants of the Hebrew Israelties that migrated to West Africa by way of Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Lake Chad, Ile-Ife, Dahome, Togo and to the Gold Coast (modern Ghana). Their cultural practices, laws and customs and even, some of their names are so identical to those described in the Holy Bible. Thus, the only logical conclusion to make is that they are, as they claim descendants of Biblical Hebrew Israelites.
Yet, debate goes on unabated as to the true origins of the GaDangmes of Ghana. Historians, anthropologists, geneticists, etc., may attempt to answer the question as to the origins of GaDangmes through different research methodology. Here, Dr. Josesph Nii Abekar Mensah attempts to respond to the question through Biblical history, oral history, scientific or logical reasoning. Consider an animal cell, for example, we may be able to identify it by staining techniques, and then examine it under a microscope. The presence of such structures as the cytoplasm, cytoplasmic membrane, nucleus and the nuclear membrane, nucleolus, golgi bodies, mitochondria, ribosomes, centriole, centrosome, fat globules, metaplastic inclusions, etc., may lead the scientist to infer that more likely than not the specimen or structure under examination in an animal cell.
Similarly, if we consider the Holy Bible, we find names of GaDangmes, their customs and tradtions, such as the Homowo Festival (see, Exodus 11:4-7; Exodus 12:1-50; Exodus 13:1-9; Numbers 9:1-5), names of some of their towns and villages (such as Tema (Job 6:19, Isaiah 21:14), Ada, Hebron, La, Osu, etc); GaDangme proverbs and laws (similar to the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20: 1-17) etc., are so identical to those in the Bible, and along with their oral history, the only logical conclusion one may make is that the GaDangmes are, as they claim descendants of Biblical Hebrews Israelites. The reader will find examples of GaDangme names, GaDangme cities, towns and villages, GaDangme proverbs and laws, customs and traditions on this website that are so similar to those in the Holy Bible in support of Dr. Mensah’s contention.
Oral history had it that Ga-Dangmes people migrated from Israel about 6th Century B.C through Egypt, then to Ethiopia, having been expelled or exiled by the Assyrians (Hebrew Biblical Revelations, July 2008; see also: OMANYE ABA by A.A AMARTEY). In Ethiopia, they settled in the Gonder Province in northern Ethiopia, where the Blue Nile originates. That is where the name NAI WULOMO, meaning, HIGH PRIEST OF THE NILE comes from. In 640 B.C, the Assyrians attacked the Ga-Dangmes again while they were in Ethiopia. From Ethiopia, they travelled through Southern Sudan and settled for a period of time at Sameh in Niger and then to Ileife in Nigeria. They migrated again in 1100 A.D and settled at Dahome and later, travelled to Huatsi in Togo where they stayed briefly.
For full post see http://gadangme.weebly.com/ga-dangme-origins.html
See also https://youtu.be/mFQXnq-bqE4
The Ga-Dangme claim to be the descendant of the Israeli tribes of Gad and Dan (GA-DANgme) and if so, no wonder that on their way to Ghana they passed through Nigeria where the Igbo, who are predominately descendants of Gad, but has among them other tribes of Israel such as Dan, Judah, Levi, Zebulon, etc. Ga-Dangme’s oral history states that they came from Israel about or around the 6th century B.C. through Egypt to Ethiopia by the Assyrians. While in Ethiopia they occupied the Gonder Province in the north. The Assyrians attacked them there which forced them to Sudan’s south and then onto Niger proceeding to Nigeria. Possibly because they knew or had heard that their relatives Gad through his son Eri who founded the Eri and Nri Kingdoms. From Nigeria they are have said to have settled in Dahome then Togo. From Hustsi Togo they went along the eastern bank of the Volta (Jor) River, crossed between Old Kpong and Akuse and stayed for a time on the plains of Tag-logo until approx. 1200 A.D. which they then migrated to the plains between Lorlorvor and the Osudoku hills.
Dr. Joseph Nii Abekar Mensah, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
GA PEOPLE: GHANA`S TRIBE THAT HAS MAINTAINED ITS AFRICAN TRADITIONS AND CULTURE IN THE MIDST OF WESTERN INFLUENCE IN THE CAPITAL CITY,ACCRA.
The Ga people belong to the Ga-Dangbe group of Kwa people who inhabit the Greater Accra region of present day Ghana. The Kwa people of Africa include the Ga-Dangbe, Ewe, Akwapim, Fanti, Kwahu, and Akim and Ashanti. According to some legends Ga people migrated from Nigeria, others that they were part of Israel that migrated southward through present day Uganda, then along the Congo River, westward through Cameroons, Nigeria, Benin, Togo and finally to Greater Accra. Accra: the ancient city of the Ga people, is the capital of the Ghana. It is also the center of commerce and learning in the country, and it controls the intellectual life of the country as a whole.
Ga people live along the shoreline of the Gulf of Guinea. This Ga settlement areas is bounded on the East by the Tshemu (Chemu) lagoon near Tema, on the West by the Sakumofio River, the North by Akuapem Mountains and the South by the Gulf of Guinea. According to Reindorf (1895) the coastal towns established by the Ga-Adangbe speaking emigrants who arrived from Aneho, Benin, Boni and Boma to the Gold Coast in the early sixteenth century, stretches from Lanma (Mt. Cook Loaf) to Fla i.e. the Volta Basin along the shorelines of the coast of the Gulf of Guinea. Among which are Ngleshi (James Town), Kinka (Ussher Town), Osu (Christiansburg), La (Labadi), Teshie, Nungua (Little Ningo), and Tema.
Ga People of Accra,Ghana
Given that Africans have roamed the continent for thousands of years and that such migrations might have been northward, southward, eastward or westward, the origin of any group of people in Africa may be very uncertain. Any African might have relatively originated from anywhere in Africa. The cited origin might as well be what could be remembered about the recent past and not the ultimate origin. For example, the Wolof name for a king is Fari which is very similar to the word Faro of ancient Egypt and may point to the Egyptian heritage of the Wolof in West Africa. The Egyptian word for the highest god and righteous father was Ra and the Setwana word for father is also Ra.
It is therefore not surprising that among the Ga people, those at Teshi claim to have migrated from a town called Boma on the shores of the Congo River, those at Labadi from Boney Island off the coast of Nigeria and those from Gamashi from Benin City in Eastern Nigeria.
Ga Chief sprinkling traditional sacred food (Kpekple) for the gods on the street of Accra. (The Sprinkling of KPOKPOI (Unleven Bread made from corn) is performed by royals such as the King, Queen, Chiefs, and High Priests (wolomei) on the Festival day. This food is free for all to eat and rest sprinkled on the ground for earthly creatures to partake in the abundance of food. It is believed that the spirits of our ancesters are present all the time such as King Ayi Kushi, our first King and Joshua (aka)Jesus etc.)
ORIGIN OF THE GA-SPEAKING PEOPLE
The origin of the Ga-speaking ethnic groups from the early Sixteenth Century in the then Gold Coast has been a subject of controversy, since various scholars have given different versions of their migration stories. Most of these narrations are based on oral traditions, myths, legends, folklores, music, religious songs and many other sources; including archaeological findings.
Reindorf (1895, p.18) in tracing the origin of the Ga indicates that F. Romer, a Dutch resident of the Christiansborg in about the middle of the Eighteenth Century states, “that the Gold Coast was once part of the western division of the territory of the Emperor of Benin.” To buttress this point, Romer further argues that, “the insignia of the kings of the Akras were like those used in Benin, and most of their religious ceremonies, e.g. killing the sacrificial animals with sharp stones instead of knives, in order not to avoid defiling them, were also used in Akra.”
Corroborating Romer’s assertion, Henderson-Quartey (2001), citing from the work of Bruce-Myers (1927, pp.70-72) quoted him as saying, “the Gas came all the way from the central part of the Continent…and they are kinsmen to the Benins, who by their own choice, kept back in the course of the migration.” This gives credence to the assumption that the Ga ethnic groups were once part of the people of Benin from the mid-western part of Nigeria. Existing traditional accounts of the origin of the Ga according to Reindorf, indicates that the ancestors of the tribes of Akras, Late, Obutu and Mowure are said to have emigrated from the sea, arriving at the coast tribe after tribe.” These tribes he believe arrived together with the Adangbes either from Tetetutu or from Samè, located beyond the Volta in the east, and situated between two rivers.
Field (1937, p.142) associating with Reindorf noted that the Ga speaking emigrants began to arrive and settle among the lagoon-worshipping Kpéshi aborigines probably at the end of the sixteenth century. She argued that these were emigrant refugee families of the Ga Boni, Ga Wo, Ga Mashie and the Obutu fleeing in separate parties from Tetetutu and other Benin parts, probably travelling along the beach, and eventually settled along the coastlines of the Gulf of Guinea, in the Greater Accra region. Henderson-Quartey on his part noted that the Ga Mashi, Ga Wo, and the Ga Boni in association with some Guan groups having formed part of the emigrants that re-grouped at Tetetutu, crossed over from the east of the Volta into the Accra Plains.
On the contrary, Amartey (1991, pp.13-14) narrating from oral traditions or folkloric sources gave a different version of the migration story of the Ga in Gamashie Ashikwei (Origin of the Ga). According to him, historically, the Ga of Ghana were believed to have once lived along the eastern part of the banks of the River Nile during the reign of Thothmes II, the then Pharaoh of Egypt, circa 1700 –1250 BCE. This was at the time when the Israelites had settled on the land of Goshen, from the eastern part of the River Nile to its estuary. He postulates that the Ga were part of the Nubians that left Egypt after being freed from slavery by the then Pharaoh Amenhotep II.
Watch this video on the Ewe tribe of Ghana https://youtu.be/V7lIiEdnzIA
Ancient Egyptians wrote the Holy Bible
According to Ghanian writer and researcher Nana Banchie Darkwah, “Black Afrikans of ancient Egypt wrote the Holy Bible and the Catholic Church is hiding and supressing this truth.”
In his book titled, The Africans who wrote the Bible-Ancient secrets Africa and Christianity Have Never Told, (2002), the author emphatically states that, “the worst lie and sin of the church was the premeditated transformation of the racial and ethnic identities of Jesus Christ, his mother and the entire people of the Bible from the Black people they were to White people, to satisfy emerging European racist sentiments against Black people.”
First of all, for one to understand the truth of the above statement and accept it as a fact, that Black Afrikans of Ancient Egypt wrote the Holy Bible, thus, one must dispel the erroneous notion and fabricated lies that Christian Europe, particularly the Roman Catholic Church, have done in painting the ancient Egyptians as pagans, devils, and heathens.
Also, one must understand that Christian Europe’s and the Catholic Church’s motives for attacking Ancient Egypt in such negative vein, is due to the fact that Ancient Egyptian High priests were the Scribes who wrote what we come to know today as the Holy Bible. As a master-teacher H.M. Maulana points out: “Ancient Egypt from its pre-dynastic period up to its Golden Age of Pyramid building was an unadulterated predominantly Black race of people (3500-2100 B.C.E.).
The descendants of these Ancient Egyptians are living throughout Sub-Saharan Afrika, today, particularly in the nations of Ghana, Nigeria, and Cote d’Ivoire.” The very first “Bible”, or “Scroll” on record produced by man, with regards to paying honour and divine respect to a “Creator of all Mankind” was that of the Afrikan people of the Nile Valley in Ancient Kemet (Egypt) and Great Lakes regions of Central, East, and Northern Afrika.
The book was called by its Afrikan Creators and developers, The Book of the Coming Forth by Day and Night. It was translated from its original Medu Netcher text into the English language by several Europeans since the latter part of the 19th century A.D. The easiest one to read is called, The Egyptian Book of the Dead. This work was translated by British Egyptologist, Sir Ernest A. Wallis Budge. This original Bible was produced by Black Afrikans approximately 3,400 years before the Old Testament and more than 4,200 years before the New Testament, and countless versions of it have been written and published. According to Darkwah, the “Ancient Egyptians cross is the earliest and most sacred symbol of religion.
Egyptologists who believe they have successfully deciphered Ancient Egyptian Medu Netcher say it is called the Ankh, which means ‘Life’.” The meaning is correct, however, that is not what the Ancient Egyptians called it. The language from which this word originated is Akan and it actually means Life. This symbol was the Ancient Egyptians’ sacred religious symbol that reinforced the cross on which Jesus was crucified,as a sacred Christian symbol. How did this happen?
The early Christian Church of Ancient Egypt adopted the Nkwa symbol as the symbol of their Church and called it Crux Ansata. From here, it was taken to Rome and there it became a Christian symbol with only a slight variation in design. The symbol of Nwka was excavated from the tomb of the Akan King Tutu Ankoma, the boy King of Ancient Egypt, whose name Europeans have corrupted to Tutankhamun or King Tut.
He ruled from 1336-1327B.C.E. Nana Darkwah suggests that the intelligentsia of Ancient Egypt was headed by such ethnic groups as the Akan, Ewe, Ga-Andangbe, Hausa, and Ibo. However, he asserts that the Akan was the main ruling class in Ancient Egypt sincethe majority of Ancient Egyptian Kings had Akan names. He also asserts that, “the early apostolic fathers of Christianity and the Church knew of many things they did not want the Christian masses to know about the background history, content, and people of the Bible.”
As a result, the very design of Christianity was based upon protecting the Holy Bible from the lay masses. Until the reformation in the 15th century A.D., therefore, the Holy Bible was secretly guarded and its content was known to only a few in the Church. Because of the perceived need to protect the Holy Bible from the masses, the earliest design and practice of Christianity was based upon placing a cadre of priests between the Holy Bible and the people.
The Afrikan origin of Christianity was common knowledge among western scholars and early apolistic fathers of the Church long before the European Renaissance. This was common knowledge known by the Aryan-Whites in the past and is still known, today.
There have been numerous European scholars who have known and written about the falsehoods, fabrications, and false assumptions in the foundations of Christianity. One such European-American researcher and writer was Gerald Massey, who in his book titled The Natural Genesis: A Book of the Beginnings(1883), called the story and practice of Euro-Christianity: “the legendary lying love.” Moreover, in The Aryan Myth: A History of Racist and Nationalistic Ideasin Europe, Leon Poliakov revealed that, “knowledge of the people of the Bible as Black people was common in Europe and in early European scholarship. “James Cowles, by far the most popular anthropologists of the first half of the19th century, elaborated around 1810 implying that “Adam and Eve were Black.” And in 1836 a renowned British orientalist, Sir Godfrey Higgins, wrote, The Anaclypsis. Or an inquiry into the Origin of Languages, Nations, and Religions.
He pointed out that the people of the Bible were Black and that in all early Catholic Churches of Europe: “the God Christ, as well as His mother, are described in their old pictures to be Black (peoples). The infant God in the arms of His Black mother, his eyes and drapery white, is himself perfectly Black.” In 1875, Kersey Graves wrote a book titled The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors” in which he pointed out from clear evidence in Europe that” Jesus was Black and the people of the Bible were originally Black people.”
He wrote as follows: There is as much evidence that the Christian Savior was a Black man, or at least a dark man, as there is of him being the son of the Virgin Mary or that he once lived or moved upon the earth. And that evidence is the testimony of his disciples, who had nearly as good an opportunity of knowing what His complexion was as the evangelists who omit to say anything about it. In the pictures and portraits of Christ by early Christians, He is uniformly represented as being Black.” Furthermore, he continues: “The statue of St. Peter inside St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy is a Black man. St. Peter was a Black man.
Thus, Jesus’ last words before His execution was that a Black man has the keys to Heaven.” According to H.M. Maulana, the aristocracy of Europe has always shown their hatred against the so-called Jewish people, since it was well known in their socio-political and economic circles that these people were of a Black Afrikan origin, who migrated out of Ancient Egypt up into Europe. Due to the negative anthropological ideas and theories of early European scholars against Black Afrikans, thus, the knowledge and reality that theosophy and philosophy, has surely been a major source of social-political embarrassment for Europeans.
Here are some GaDangmes names or words of Hebrew Origins
GADANGME NAME OR WORD.. HEBREW NAME OR WORD.
1. ARYEH (Means, My brother”) ARYEH (Hebrew Bible, 2 Sam.1:14; 1King 5:15))
2. AFRA (An Israeli settlement) OFRA (Torah, Tihilim 116:15)
3. OTTO (Meaning, “Who is Mighty”) YISHAI (1 Sam. 16: 8-18; (Psalm 46)
4. ARYELLE/AYELE (Means, “Lion of God”) ARYELLE (Acts 27:27)
5. OFEI OFER (Hebrew 13:15; Rev. 3:20; Luke 6:29)
6. ADA (Reference to Adam, the first MAN) ADA (1Corinthians 15:45)
7. TEMA TEMA (Job 6:19;Isaiah 21:14)
8. NUNU NUNU (Num. 14:16; Num.14:38)
9. DODOO DODO (Judges 10:1); 1 Chron. 11:26
10. ASHI ASHI (Leviticus 12:8)
11. DANGME (Dan means “a Judge” in Hebrew) DAN (Genesis 30:5-6); Judges 18:27-29
12 ANNAN (One of those who sealed the Covenant) ANAN (Nehemiah 10:26)
13. GAD (Gad means, “good fortune”) GAD (Genesis 30:9-12; Gen.10:11-13
14. ABE AVRAHAM/ABRAHAM (2 Timothy 3:8)
15. SAKA/SAKA. (Father of AHIA in the Bible). SACHAR (1 Chron. 11:35)
16 DODE (DODI) (“Beloved”) DODI (Solomon Song of Songs 2:16 Hebrew Bible;
17. KADI KADI
18. NERLE (“Who is like God” ) NERLI (Is another word for Rebeka in Hebrew,
Genesis 22: 20-23)
19. AYAH/Aiah. (“to ascend”in Hebrew) AYAH/AIAH (female), Gen.36:24; Chron.7:28.Sam3:7)
20. AYAA (Male or female name in Hebrew). AYA
21. ADAMA (“First man on earth”) ADAM (Genesis 1:26; 1Cor. 15:21; 1Cor. 15:45)
22. NETE NATHANIEL (Ezra 8:15; 2 Kings 24:8
23. ACHIMOTA ACHIMOT (1 Chronicles 6:25-27)
24. NMATI MATTAHIAS
25. AMAA (Amal means “Heavy Labor in Hebrew). AMAL (1Chron.7:35)
26. ABEKA (“Half a Sheke in Hebrew”) A’BEKAH (Exodus 38:26; Gen.24:22; 1Sam 9:8).
27 OMANYE (Means, “Good Omen) OMEN (John 1:45; Romans 1:12; 1Peter 4:6)
28. AKU (“Who is what God is” ) AKU (Hebrew Bible, Matthew 1:1; Dan.1:6-9;
Dan.3:1-30; Leviticus 8; Mark 1:1)
29. AYE AYELET
30. SHORME (Means,”The right spirit”) SHOR’ ME. (Hebrew Bible, Isaiaah 56:2,6; Song of
Songs Hebrew Bible)
31. NAATE/NARTEY.( Means, “Gift of God”) NATHAN/ NATE, (John 1:45; psalm 19:14; 2 Sam.12)
32. LADJE LADJE (Croatian Bible, Matt.6:7-9; Isaiah 23:1-4
33. GAMA (derivative of GAMALIEL) GAMA (Lamentations 4:4; Judges 16:4)
34. ACHI (“My brother; leader of the Gad tribe). ACHI. (Jeremiah 17:9; 1King 5:15)
35. ASHITEY (Derivative of ASHI) ASHI (Leviticus 12:8}
36. ADODOADJI (“pleasant news” in Hebrew) ADODOADJI
37. ADE (Means, “Wonderfully made”) ADE, (Psalm 139:14; Isaiah 66:17; Eccl.7:14)
38. AMAA (“Heavy labour in Hebrew). AMAL. (1 Chronicles 7:35)
39. AMON AMON. (Matthew1:10; 2 Chronicle 33:20-21)
40. KOTE (“over the top”) KOTE (Leviticus 4; James 1:27; Gen.35:8; Isaiah 59:19
41. ABBA (Means, “Father” in Hebrew) ABBA
42. MOE (Means, Crucified on the cross) MOE (Gad) Provebs 17:22, John 4:41; Num.12:15)
43 SAI (Means,”personification of truth) SAI (Roman 3:5-8; Leviticus 12:1)
44. KOI KOI (Rev. 20:10); Matthew 4:19
45. AYE AYE (Gen. 1:33)
46 ABELE (Means, “Peace” ) ABELE (Hebrew 2:1)
47 KWEI KWEI (Luke 2: 1-7)
48 ABAN ABAN
49. BOTE BOTE (Job 1:14 in Luther Bible; Psalm 120: 1-2
50. KOSHI (Means, “Difficult”, also place in ancient Israel that flooded). KOSHI (John 14:6)
For full post click http://gadangme.weebly.com/list-of-names-ga-dangmeisraelites.html
THEMES IN GA AND DANGME PROVERBS
An analysis of Dangme and Ga proverbs shows that certain themes regarding the successful life occur again and again. Different people may classify the themes differently. We have identified 15 major themes to be the most common ones. These are stated here, briefly, with selected examples of the proverbs that express them.
1. Making Right Use of Opportunity and Acting Appropriately
One should make maximum use of opportunity, avoid procrastination, refrain from what one cannot do, and do well what one can do.
(1) Këji onine shë Akle nö lë ogbeö lë nyöñlo (Ga). (If you lay hands on the animal of your hunt, you do not allow it to escape but kill it right away.)
(2) Kuöwi (ovönö) ke në Mawu bö lë sibulö he je ö e dë si ngë e nane nö se si në ebuu (Dangme). (The frog says, since God created it to squat, it never stands on its legs but only squats.)
(3) Kë nu tsë yë tö mli lë eshaa (Ga). (If water keeps too long in a bottle, it goes bad.)
2. Cause and Effect, and Boomerang Reaction
People are to be careful how they behave, because certain consequences follow certain other acts, and whatever one does bounces back at one.
Examples: (1) Kaa fööö looflö (Ga). (A crab does not give birth to a bird.) (2)Apletsi ke e ngë nö ko tita nö puëë se e li kaa lë nitsë e hlemi nya në e ngë puëë (Dangme). (The goat says it is messing up someone else’s compound without realizing that it is soiling its own tail.)
3. Circumspection, Cautiousness and Discretion Life is full of dangers; therefore, one should be circumspect, cautious and discreet, in order to avoid pitfalls that so often bring unnecessary trouble and pain to the unwary.
(1) Kë odonti yë odunaa lë ohuruuu otëkeee la (Ga). (If cotton wool is in your anus, you do not jump over fire.)
(2) Henökwëmö jeee yakagbömö feemö (Ga). (Being circumspect does not mean one is a good-for-nothing fellow.)
(3) Ke o yë Nakonyë we mi ö, o be Nakonyë pa he fu nuë (Dangme). (If you do not go to Nako-mother’s house, you will not smell the foul smell of Nako-mother’s sore.)
4. Co-operation and Community
No one can make it alone in life, and what affects one affects all; so people should live together in community and co-operate with one another.
Examples: (1) Nine kake nui ngmo (Dangme). (One hand (or finger) does not catch a louse.) (2) Kë oyë lëlë mli lë oloö emli nu (Ga). (If you are in a canoe you (are obliged to) bail water out of it.)
5. Self-reliance and Individual Responsibility.
Notwithstanding the emphasis on co-operation, many Ga and Dangme proverbs stress the importance of individual responsibility and self-effort. One cannot expect others to do everything for you. Examples:
(1) Mö ko enuuu tsofa ehaaa helatsë (Ga). (No one drinks medicine on behalf of a sick person.) (2) Ahaaa mö yoo ni aha lë saa hu afata he (Ga). (No one gives away a daughter (to a man) in marriage and provides him with a bed besides.)(3) Apletsi ke e nyë në a he, se pi lë në a he (Dangme). (The goat says that it was its mother that was bought, not itself.)
6. On Virtues
Society is built on all kinds of commendable virtues. All must cultivate these, if society is to progress. Such virtues include: fortitude, generosity, hardwork, honesty, humility, patience, perseverance, self-effort and taking one step at a time.
Examples: (1) Këji okotsa ekwööö ñshö lë, osiliki duku kplekeee (Ga). (If your soft sponge does not travel beyond the seas, you will hardly see your silk head kerchief coming down.) (2) “Aekoo” hi fe “Sëë fêê.” (Ga) (To be told “Well done” is better than “How was back?”) (3) Kposuö ke hesibami hu hi, se lë ngua në ö tatu gbee lë (Dangme). (The elephant says it is good to be humble, for huge as it is, a tiny ant kills it.)
7. On Vices
Vices destroy both individual and community life. Each person should eschew cultivating bad character traits and habits such as: greed or selfishness, hardheartedness, haste, hypocrisy, ingratitude, laziness, pretense, pride and treachery.
Examples: (1) Akë hiñmëii enyö kwëëë tö mli (Ga), meaning, You do not look inside a bottle with both eyes. (2) Adaa dani akpaa (Ga); that is, One must grow up before one cackles (like a hen that is mature and about to lay eggs.) In other words, one must take one’s time in life and be ripe for something before seeking to do it. (3) Ali nö piani në a suu kane gbökuë kë hyëë e hë mi (Dangme). (You do not know a fellow during the day and light a lamp at night to identify him.)
8. The Value of Human Beings
No human being is entirely useless. Every individual is valuable and can fulfill himself or herself in some way. Therefore, people must treat each other with respect and look upon themselves with dignity.
(1) Gbömö föñ hi fe shïa folo (Ga). (A bad fellow is better than an empty house.) That is to say, it is far better to have a human being around than to have no one at all around, even if the person around is not a particularly good fellow. (2)Mösö nö nyu hu gbeö la (Dangme). (Muddy water also can be used to put out fire.)
It is wise not to indulge in greedy clamour for bigger things; instead, one must be content with small beginnings, and hold in high esteem, whatever is one’s own.
(1) Böböyo hi nya mi në a kpaa anyagba (Dangme). (You do not whistle when there is a morsel in your mouth.) (2) Adamöö ekome no akaneö enyö (Ga). (You depend on one to count two.) This proverb advocates contentment with small beginnings, while working gradually for the bigger things; it discourages hasty or greedy clamour for bigger things. (3) Nö ko je we e muö nine ngö tsöö we e je blö (Dangme) and Mö ko kë ebëku etsööö etsëmëi awe (Ga). (No one uses his left hand to point to his fathers’ home.) In Dangme and Ga culture, the left hand is associated with that which is dishonorable, contemptible and worthless.
10. Being Calm and Letting Things Take Their Natural Course
Life is full of vagaries, uncertainties and disappointments. Therefore, it pays to remain calm and trust nature to take its course, instead of seeking to have one’s own way in everything. Those who desire to be able to cope with the ups and downs of life and live peaceful and victorious lives must be aware of such facts of life.
(1) Këji nu në lë, etsöö enaamöhe (Ga). (When it rains, the rainwater itself reveals safe spots.) (2) Ejuröfeelö lë gbëhe ewöö (Ga). (The generous, hospitable person often sleeps by the way side.) In other words, it is a fact of life that a good person is often treated unjustly; and one must learn to live with that fact.
11. Against Worrying or Being Too Certain About the Future
Since the future is unknown to human beings and can bring changes in one’s fortunes, one should not be too certain about the way things will turn out; yet, one need not worry unduly.
(1) Anuuu nu atooo Aharabata (Ga). (One does not drink water in anticipation of Harmattan drought.) (2) Je ngë se kë nya (Dangme). (The world (or life) is backwards and forwards.)
12. Preparing for the Future
Although one may not be certain about the future–indeed, for that very reason–one should be forward-looking, and plan for the uncertain future!
(1) He waomö hewö atoö waonaa yë (Ga). (It is because of a future need to scratch oneself that one grows finger nails.) (2) Piani kuma he në a yaa pa mötu ngë (Dangme). (It is because of afternoon thirst that you (have to) fetch water in the morning.)
13. Respect for Experience and the Elderly Past experience is invaluable for success in the present and future. Elderly people have a wealth of experience. Youth ought to respect and learn from them. To heed the advice of the elderly, is to find success and life; to ignore it, is to court failure and death. The current attitude and saying that ‘the wisdom of Solomon has nothing to do with the age of Methuselah’ is not the common view of African societies, and, for that matter, the Ga and Dangme.
(1) Blema kpaa nö atsaa (Ga). (You (have to) pattern your rope according to the original (ancient) twist.) (2) Onukpa leee nö ko lë ele wödöi wöö (Ga). (If an old person knows nothing at all, he knows how to slumber.) (3) Kpêni tui hungmë se buömi blema munyu (Dangme). (The beard does not tell the eyebrow ancient stories.); for before the beard grew, the eyebrow was!
14. Keeping Domestic Matters Private
Even though it is good to have a `we-feeling’ and share things together, the wise person knows that there are matters that are better kept private. The value of discretion and secrecy is so important that at a child’s adorning and naming ceremony on its eighth day, the child is exhorted, among many other things, to hear much and see a lot, but speak little.
(1) A wui jeme to kpa ngë ma nö (Dangme). (A goat belonging to an esoteric society is not tethered in the market place.) (2) Kuku nö ha a kuku nö në e laa ngë (Dangme). (A rubbish heap knife must needs get lost in a rubbish heap.)
15. God’s Providence and Care
Life in Dangme and Ga society is often harsh, and many a person experiences helplessness and hopelessness. But there is trust in God’s providence and care. It is believed that the sovereign God (Nyingmo or Ataa Naa Nyöñmö) can overrule, and that if He allows someone to encounter a problem or be given some heavy responsibility, He also gives the grace and ability to bear or discharge it.
(1) Kë Nyöñmö tere bo jatsu lë, ehaa bo tako (Ga). (When God gives you a load He also gives you a soft pad to carry it.) (2) Beni ahuko Lañma tëi anö lë jëi aduji lë yeö nii (Ga). (Before Lañma (i.e., a stony hilly area on the western boundary of Ga land) was cultivated the monkeys that lived there had food to eat.)
These expressions of trust in God may be said to be summarized in the Dangme proverb, Mëmëëmë të ngo buë mi. (The salty taste never ceases in a salt-pot.) One of the meanings of this proverb is that God’s grace and mercy towards humankind never cease, for loving kindness is of the very essence of God.
Needless to say, the themes presented above do not represent all the themes that Ga-Dangme proverbs address. The fifteen themes stated above only represent the topics that occurred most frequently when Ga and Dangme proverbs were examined. It is possible to regroup them in other ways, and to include other themes that are not included here. Themes like the value of children, the dignity of womanhood, justice, peace, human free will, the inevitability of death, and many others occurred rather infrequently in the sample. But there can be no doubt that they and many others are important in Ga and Dangme society. The church, especially in Ga and Dangme areas, can and should, use these themes as basis for teaching authentic living in the communities.
THE GOSPEL AND TRADITIONAL GA AND DANGME PROVERBS
In this section, we evaluate Dangme and Ga traditional values in the light of Biblical teaching. We shall also enumerate some important traditional values that should receive more attention than the church has given them.
1. What the Gospel Affirms
The Ga and Dangme call to make the right use of opportunity and act appropriately is affirmed in Biblical texts like the popular passage that there is a time for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8); in Jesus’ response to his mother at the wedding in Cana that his time had not yet come (John 2: 1-5); and in Paul’s exhortation that believers should live not as ignorant people but like wise people, finding out what the Lord wants them to do and using every opportunity they have (Ephesians 5: 15-57; Colossians 4: 5-6).
Again, the teachings on cause and effect and boomerang reaction are echoed in the deuteronomic principle which runs through the Bible; namely, that if you obey the Lord, you will prosper; if you disobey, you will suffer. (See, for example, Deuteronomy 28.) The Bible teaches also that a person will reap exactly what he sows (Galatians 6: 7-10). Then, again, the theme of co-operation, inter-dependence and community is commanded in Romans 12: 3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12: 12-31.
Quite apart from the fifteen themes discussed above, there are many other important values that are taught in Ga and Dangme proverbs which the Gospel affirms. The following are some examples:
Justice, Fairness and Impartiality are counselled in the Ga proverbs: Kë okëë ñwëi nö lë, okëö shikpöñ hu nö. (If you speak in respect of heaven, you must say something about the earth, too.) The idea expressed here is essentially the same as the one expressed in Deuteronomy 16: 18-20 concerning the appointment of judges and administration of justice in Israel.
The Dangme realize the blessing that comes from the truth, as stated in their saying: Anökwale jöö ka tsui he. (Truth-telling cools down an angry heart.) The Bible also teaches that knowing the truth makes one free (John 8: 32) and speaking the truth to one another makes for harmony (Ephesians 4: 20-32).
The desire and counsel for peace and reconciliation is expressed in the Ga proverb: Ajö, ajö lë, esëë bë sane. (Peace, peace, brings no trouble in its wake.) Similar sentiments can be found in Matthew 5: 25-26 and Romans 12: 14-21 where people are advised to make peace and not seek litigation or revenge.
Knowledge and wisdom are not the monopoly of any one person. Therefore, the wise thing to do is to confer with others in order to benefit from their wisdom. This awareness is shown in the proverb: Yi kake yë da mi (Dangme), or Yitso kome eyaaa ajina (Ga), meaning, One head does not sit in council. Proverbs 3: 7 and Romans 12: 16 advise people not to claim any special wisdom, and in 1 Corinthians 1 and 2, Paul shows the limitation of human wisdom.
Human beings have certain God-given rights, among which are the freedom to express oneself and seek redress. The Ga say: Ayiii mö ni atua lë yaafo hu. (You do not beat a person and prevent him from crying), meaning, you do not trespass on someone’s right and restrain him from complaining. Many Biblical injunctions and stories clearly state the principle that people have the right to complain and to seek redress for their grievances. Examples are the appointment of divisional judges (Exodus 18: 16-26) and of helpers in the church to settle disputes and distribute food and funds to the needy (Acts 6: 1-6).
In a Ga or Dangme household, parents and children have mutual rights and privileges as well as obligations and responsibilities. Parents are to provide for their children, bring them up and train them properly, while children are to obey and respect their parents, and look after them in their old age. Sayings such as the following two express these important Ga and Dangme traditions: Akë komi elëëë bi. (You do not bring up a child on kenkey) a Ga staple food, meaning that training is more important than feeding. Bi ni nuuu nii lë eyaa anuuu nii mañ. (The child who does not listen or pay attention to advice goes to the ‘they-don’t-listen-town) that is, such a child experiences the undesirable. The Bible affirms these teachings: that parents are to train their children (e.g., Psalm 78: 5-8; Proverbs 22: 6; Ephesians 6: 4), and provide for the family (2 Timothy 5: 8); while children are to obey their parents, heed their wise insights (Proverbs 5: 1-14; Ephesians 6: 1-3), and take care of their aged parents (1 Timothy 5: 4).
2. What the Gospel Adds
As far as social and moral values are concerned, it may be difficult to find any entirely new value that the Gospel adds to those of the Ga and Dangme. What may seem new are really differences of degree rather than of kind. That is to say, they are corrections of, or improvements on, the indigenous values and ideas. Such examples will be discussed below under “What the Gospel Corrects or Replaces.”
However, the Gospel has brought new ideas in religious and spiritual teachings. For example, while in the traditional African context, the sources of the proverbs are accepted to be the human composers, in the Bible, God is acknowledged to be the final source, at least of some, of the proverbs. (See Proverbs 1:1 and Ecclesiastes 12:11). Again, proverbial sayings have been used in the Bible in a new way to communicate the important message of God’s gracious provision of salvation and eternal fellowship with himself through the sacrificial death and resurrection of his son, Jesus Christ. Jesus used proverbial sayings to teach lessons about the Kingdom of God. Where people respond positively to the message, God gives them the power to become his children and to live out good lives. Thus, if, following the Biblical example, Ga and Dangme proverbs can be created (or existing ones modified) to tell the message of Christ, it will be an important addition to proverb use among the Ga and Dangme.
3. What the Gospel Corrects or Replaces
During his teaching, Jesus corrected and replaced some of the Old Testament teachings in important respects. (See e.g., Matthew 5: 17-48.) He did that, not to do away with the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets, but to make their teachings clearer. In the same way, the Gospel can be said to have corrected and replaced some of the values in Ga and Dangme proverbs. Following are examples.
Inferiority of Women
It seems natural that wherever people live together and relate to one another, some should take a leadership role and others a subordinate position. This is to ensure harmony and smooth running of their affairs. This arrangement is reflected in various proverbs and sayings. Sometimes, however, the arrangement is misunderstood. One such example, among the Ga and Dangme, is where women are treated as if they were inferior to men. The Bible has corrected this view by revealing that both men and women were created in the image of God (Genesis 1: 26-28), and that both have fallen and have been redeemed by Christ and made heirs of the Kingdom (1 Peter 3: 7). So before God, there is no difference between men and women (Galatians 3: 28). They are equal and must have mutual regard for each other (Ephesians 5: 21), while playing different roles that best suit their peculiar nature.
There is a Ga saying that: Anökwale ni jwaa maa awieee. (Truth that can destroy the town (community) is not (to be) told.) This suggestion that the truth should not always be spoken needs to be corrected and replaced with one that commands the truth in all circumstances. The Gospel teaches that we must no longer tell lies but rather always speak the truth to one another (Ephesians 4: 25-32) because truth makes us free.
Again, the tradition to respect the elderly and those who have distinguished themselves in society has come to mean discrimination against the less fortunate. So people such as the rich, elderly and political leaders are unduly favoured, as these Dangme proverbs show: Adowa se mi pöë. (The antelope’s back does not get wet), meaning the evils of an elder or important personality do not easily leak out. Also: Blö he ngmöhulö hu we ngmö kpêkpêê. (One who farms by the path does not keep a crooked farm), which means that a wealthy person is never guilty. While the Bible supports respect for the elderly and the noble (see e.g., 1 Timothy 5: 1-2 and 1 Peter 2: 17), it disapproves of discrimination and favouritism. Instead, the Gospel teaches fair, just and equal treatment for all (Acts 10: 34; James 2: 1-13).
The Ga proverb, Oföi yitso mli kpaaa la (There is always blood in the head of a tsetse fly) and the like, were meant to caution people when dealing with a person known to have done some evil. Unfortunately, this caution has been taken to suggest that people can never change from bad to good: once bad, always bad! But the Gospel has shown this view to be mistaken; for when anyone is joined to Christ, he is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5: 17).
As has been shown above, there is much that the Bible affirms in Ga and Dangme beliefs and values. These must be firmly preserved. But the Bible also corrects and replaces some of the values, as we have shown. In traditional society itself, proverbs are changed to suit new situations. In much the same way, the values and beliefs they contain ought to be changed, where new light and understanding shows them to be incorrect; there is no need to hold on to them rigidly. This search for renewal is one of the most beneficial tasks the church in Africa can perform for the progress of society.
4. Values which Local Proverbs add to Biblical Emphases
It may not be possible to find positive values in Ga and Dangme proverbs which are entirely absent in the Bible. However, there are a number of values that are of special relevance to African societies which the Church in Africa must emphasize more than it is doing at present. This is necessary for two main reasons: (1) In some cases, the Bible does not lay as much emphasis on the values as in traditional African society. (2) Owing to the strong influence of non-African cultures, especially European culture, and other factors on African societies, these values – important as they are for keeping up the society – are getting lost; thus, causing break-down in African societies.
We draw attention to the following, and suggest that churches add to them, and find effective ways of protecting them.
Marriage: its seriousness and permanence;
- The family: its closeness and strength;
- Human community and fellowship rather than individualism: the tradition that all are their brother/sister’s keeper;
- Respect for the elderly, authority and procedure;
- The reality of the world of the spirit: the mistake and failure of the view that only material things are real or matter;
- Dependence on the supernatural: hence, e.g., knowing how to appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit in one’s life; and
- Need for development of the whole person: body, mind and spirit.
As stated in the Introduction, much progress has been made in the effort to make Christianity part of the African’s way of life. But much still remains to be done. The African Proverbs Project (1993-96) is making an important contribution to the effort of making the Christian message take deep root in the African soil. It is our prayer and hope that the African church will meet the spiritual, intellectual, moral and emotional needs of Africans, through the use of the rich store of African proverbs.
NOTES 1. The bulk of the material in this article is from the manuscript of the author’s book in progress, Ga and Dangme Proverbs for Preaching and Teaching, to be published under the African Proverbs Project 1993-1996.
The Ashanti, the predominate tribe in Ghana, formerly known as the Gold Coast is predominately believed to have come from North Africa and many fingers point to Egypt or Assyria. It has been pointed out by the first white men that came to Ghana and met the Ashanti noted the Egyptian like architecture and design, but just as equally some of these so called Egyptian and or Assyrian traits could also point to a Hebraic origin. For Israel was captive in both places and left an indelible mark on both as well as a little Egyptian and Assyrian influence rubbed off somewhat on Israel. Also noted by such men was the Semitic or Arabic appearance (facial features) of the Ashanti as well as the reddish hue to their brown skin, which is also an Igbo trait which is akin to Adam, whose name means red earth and David who was said to have a ruddy (reddish) complexion and both of which were of a dark complexion to boot. I have already established in my earlier works regarding the Igbo (which I have linked to Gad and other Israeli Tribes) that the first Hebrews and Jews were of a dark and reddish complexion.
Some believe and has voiced that the Ashanti may be related to the Yoruba and if so, no wonder they have things in common with the Igbo because the father of the Yoruba people was a traveling companion to Eri, the father of the Igbo people. Both the Igbo and the Ashanti holy men cover themselves in white chalk.
African tribal names usually mean, “The People of…” The name Ashanti may come from the Hebrew word “Ashan” meaning, “smoke” which is usually used in the context of the destruction of a city and may hint of the destruction of Israel by the Babylonian and Assyrian exiles or even the Roman ransacking of Israel. There was indeed a town in Judea called Ashan (I Chron. 6:59) corresponding to Joshua 21:6 where the word Ain according to the Jewish Encyclopedia may be a corruption or variant of Ashan. If this all be true it would mean the Ashanti may possibly predominately be Jews (Judah) Levites, Simeonites and Benjamites.
But much of this is still very circumstantial and possibly coincidental, though I myself am not a huge believer in coincidence. Are there more substantial links the Ashanti have with Israel?
Briefly, few striking Hebraic traits that are attributed to the Ashanti are morning baths in the river which is much like mikvah’s (ritual baths/cleansings) by the Jews. Their sanitations laws closely mirror that of what is written in the Torah. They were originally a pastoral people until they were forced to move into the bush, which is similar to what has happened to the Igbos. The selling of prisoners of war as slaves or the enslavement of their fellow man in order to pay off a debt as it is found in the Torah, the five Books of Moses. Also when one dies, the place in which a person has expired is cleansed and locked up for nine days, which is like how in Leviticus 14 a room is shut up for seven days. They never fought on Saturday (Sabbath) they started their calendar in the fall like Jews and Hebrews. The Ashanti society is a Patriarchal one. There is a stool of authority which is uncannily similar to that of what is called in synagogues as the Seat of Moses and the Chair of Elijah. They practice intra-tribal marriages (Num. 36:5-12). They also had cross-cousin marriages (Num. 36:11-12). The preservation of the family line is of the utmost importance and it is considered a curse if a line dies out or if a woman is infertile, miscarries or a man dies with no sons. This is a very Hebraic trait, for we see the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of Scripture struggled with infertility and the Patriarchs often pleaded to God for sons. So in Israel, the preservation and perpetuation of the family line was very important to them as it is with the Ashanti. The whole process of the rituals and customs surrounding marriage is much like that of How Isaac married Rebecca (Gen. 24), insomuch as we even find a post Temple tradition; a cup of wine is given to the contracting familial parties and the drained cup is then smashed under the feet of the groom. This seems to indicate that if the Ahsanti are indeed Israelites, they come from the post second Temple era, and the Babylonian and Assyrian exile era. An Ashanti mother is separated and considered unclean 8 days after child birth and it is on the eighth day that the child is thus named (Lev. 15:19-29), all as we see are Hebraic customs and laws. Joseph J. Williams, S.J, PH.D, Litt.D. author of “Hebrewisms of West Africa” cites many more evidences, but has an interesting piece on how the Ashanti language is very similar to that of Hebrew and even how the name of their Chief Deity is a corrupted variant of the Hebrew Yahweh (pg. 56-60, 74-76). His book is definitely worthy of a read for more extensive information on the Ashanti. An Ashanti Herald wears a monkey skin cap, which is reminiscent of a Jewish yarmulke or kippah (skull cap).
Some argue that because they do not circumcise they cannot be of Hebraic descent, but Moses did not circumcise his son until God forced his hand and there was a time in the wilderness when Israel stopped circumcisions for a time. Such a ritual can become easily lost due to wanderings and the distance of time, from ones people and into that of another land and culture. Having the naming ceremony on the 8th day seems to be a hint that they used to circumcise their male infants.
Though other gods were recognized in Ashanti religion there was recognized a Supreme Deity called Nyame who was in character much like the Yahweh of the Hebrews. The Ashanti Priesthood had a turban with a circular metal piece very much like the Levitical priesthood that read “Holy unto YHWH.” Not only that, but that had a square, 12 sectioned breastplate, similar to that which was worn by the Levitical priests! The Ashanti priests have a common saying regarding Nyame, “No priest may look upon the face of his God and live.” We find this almost verbatim in Exd. 33:20. It was not forbidden to say God’s Name as it became post Babylonian exile, which could indicate that if the Ashanti are Hebrews/Jews/Israelites, they came to Africa before or during the Babylonian Captivity!
The altar of Nyame is like that of a Hebrew altar, four cornered with a horn protrusion going slightly inward.
As I have noted with the Igbos, paganism is actually an indicator that an African tribe, coupled with other evidences may indicate that they are indeed Hebrews/Jews/Israelites. Why? Because in both the Igbo and Ashanti they not only worshiped a Supreme Deity, the lower gods under Him was sometimes seem more as ambassadors or manifestations of the One Supreme Being and or His attributes, and admittedly some were separate gods in and of themselves, but this should not concern us or surprise us, because Israel worshiped YHWH but in their depravity which caused them to be taken by Babylon and Assyria and dispersed, they worshipped the Canaanite gods of the neighboring peoples.
The greatest of Ashanti gods that was said to walk the earth and be the son of the Supreme Deity is Ta Kora, a type of redeemer which is uncannily similar to the personage of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah.
The Ashanti as has been said, starts its year in the fall as do the Jews and has a New Year and harvest festival much like that of the Jewish Rosh Hashanah/Yom Teruah (New Year/Feast of Trumpets, Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), there is even a libation ceremony like was done in Yeshua’s day in the Temple, once again possibly indicating that if the Ashanti are Jews/Hebrews/Israelite they likely came to Africa after the Temple was destroyed.
The Ashanti has elephant tusk horns that resemble the shofarim (ram’s horns) blown in Judaism.
There is also a type of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonements) in which the whole nation; land and people, goes through a cleansing and purification ceremony.