Ghana is a country blessed with diverse cultures as well as various ethnic groups which includes; Ga- Adangbe, Dagomnas, Kusasi, Hausa, Ewe, etc. This article is however going to focus on the Ewe Tribe and their incredible, cum interesting story
Although, the ancient history of the Ewe people is not precisely recorded, people believes that the Ewe migrated from a place called Kotu or Amedzowe, east of the Niger River, or that they’re from the region that is now the border between Benin and Nigeria, and that because of invasions and wars in the early 17th century, they thereafter migrated into their current location in Ghana. It is also believed that the Ewe people might have spent time in Egypt, South Sudan and Ethiopia respectively.
However, when the British, Belgian, French, German and Portugese colonies created borders in the 19th century, problem began! The Ewe people became divided. The Ewe People, like many other ethnic groups in Africa, thus developed different dialects amongst themselves, and were in turn ruled by different governments.
Although, this division led to series of cultural, societal and religious differences, the Ewe people are strongly united by their language and are especially known for their vibrant and unique traditions and cultures.
The Ewe People share a history with people who speak the Gbe languages, whose speakers occupied the area between Akanland and Yorubaland. This has however made some modern historians tie them together.
Although, the English language is the official language of Ghana, indigenous Twi of the Ashantis, the Fante language, Frafra, Ga, Dagbani, Mampruli, Gonja and Ewe have indigenous languages they speak in areas where they predominate.
Generally, the Ewe people speaks the Ewe language (Ewe – Eʋegbe) and are also related to other speakers of Gbe languages, such as, the Fon, Gen, Phla Phera, and the Aja people of Togo and Benin.
Ewe is a major dialect cluster of Gbe or Tadoid spoken by about three million people in the southern parts of the Volta Region in Ghana and across southern Togo, towards the Togo-Benin border.
However, Ewe dialects vary. Groups of villages that are two or three kilometres apart use distinct varieties. Nevertheless, across the Ewe-speaking area, the dialects are broadly grouped geographically into coastal or southern dialects, e.g., Aŋlɔ, Tɔŋú Avenor, Watsyi and inland dialects characterised indigenously as Ewedomegbe, e.g., Lomé, Danyi, and Kpele etc.
Cultures And Festivals
A fascinating aspect of the Ewe culture is the way in which they name their children. The Ewe people chooses names that either signifies the spirituality of the parents, or the time and circumstances of the child’s birth. The name may also refer to the day of the week that the child is born. However, they give another name to the child once the child’s personality develops.
There are many festivals throughout the year and one of the largest is called Hogbetsotso. The Hogbetsotso festival is held in the Volta area on the first Saturday in November. It is known as the ‘Festival of the Exodus’, which celebrates the escape from King Agokoli. The chiefs dress in their finest clothes and there is plenty of dancing, drumming and drinks in celebration of their freedom
Over the years the festival has drawn an ever increasing number of crowds, and has become a light-hearted celebration and account of the Ewe legend.
The Ghanaian Ewe People also knows how to party, value good music and dance!
There are various musical genres the Ewe people are associated with. They are; Agbekor, lyrical songs…while in some areas, flutes as taken over people’s voice.
Dancing is also a noticeable art of the Ewe people. They have an intricate collection of dances, which vary between geographical regions and other factors. Examples of such dances are; Adevu, Agbadza, Atsiagbekor, Bobobo, etc.
The migration of the Ewe people is full of loads of escapades and adventures cum experience. However, on of the unforgettable experience is that of King Agokoli.
History has it that King Agokoli gave all sorts of difficult tasks to the Ewe people. One of the the unforgettable task is that which he ordered them to build the city’s walls with mud, glass, rocks and thorns, using only their bare hands and feet. They were severely punished if they refused to obey these orders, and so there lives were extremely difficult.
King Agokoli also demanded that the Ewe People kill their elders, to stop them getting any wisdom and experience. However, according to the story, one elder was hidden, and he came up with an escape plan; his name was Tegli. His cunning plan was that the women should throw water against one spot of the wall whilst they were washing their clothes and dishes. When they did this, the wall became soft, and so all the people gathered near the wall and started to play music. Whilst they did this, late at night, Tegli carved open a hole in the wall with ‘the Sword of Liberation’, which created space for the women and the children to climb out.
According to history the men walked out backwards so that their footprints would not show that they were leaving. When King Agokoli’s men were searching for the Ewe People, they were very confused by the tracks and could not find them. It was a brilliant and perfectly executed plan.
The escape from King Agokoli has been told orally from generation to generation so some details may be different depending on where you are, but for everyone the story teaches us the value of our elders and working together.
Most of the Ewe people are farmers, blacksmiths, fishermen, spinners, weavers, and traders. The women usually work as merchants, who buy and sell these materials.
However, women are traditionally the major merchants and traders, both at wholesale and retail level. Most shops and transactions are solely managed by women, and this include groceries to textiles.
Majority of the Ewe People are Christians. Although some people do practice the Islam, vodoo and Judaism religion.
The vodoo is regarded as their traditional religion,in which they regard ‘Mawu’ as their god.
Let’s Leave You With This…
The Ewe people are known for their love for independence; many of their decisions are made by the elders or the chiefs within each village. The Ewe people have their own flag!
Finally, there are more to this historical insights given to you on this page. There are countless numbers of other stories and fascinating rituals that belong to this wonderful group.
Did we miss anything about the Ewe group of which you know of? Let’s hear you via the comment section.