Friday, October 16, 2009

Fun Facts About Ghana

Edition 2: What's in a Name?

So I'm living in the Volta region, which is on the border of Ghana and Togo. And I'm in an Ewe area. The Language itself is very interesting, and the people are pretty chill and laid back. The history of the people is kinda fascinating, so I'll try my best to explain, but I honestly can't guarantee accuracy. Sorry-o!

The Ewes came to Ghana by escaping from an evil king who imprisoned his people by building an enormous wall around his kingdom. Different towns in the Volta region have names that describe the way they escaped from the evil king. And in the Liati tradition, which includes my village and maybe ten others, Lia is Ewe for "to climb" and Ti is Ewe for "tree." So those who are from the Liati Tradition all share common ancestors who escaped the king by climbing trees over the wall.

I haven't figured out what the other town names around me mean, like Gbledi or Fodome, but hopefully I'll be able to update soon. Another interesting name is "Hohoe." Before the city got that name, Hohoe and Ho were both in the running to become the regional capital of Volta. In the end, Ho was chosen as the capital, so the city became "Hohoe." In Ewe, Hohoe essentially means "Ho took (from us)."

People's names are also a big deal, and they usually have several names. Usually people are called by their day name or Christian name. As for me? I am known as "Kathleen," "Katie," "Sister Kate," and "Da Yawa," which is female Thursday born. You can find out your Ewe name using the chart below:

The Ewe version is as follows:

Dzoɖa (Monday): Kɔdzo, Kwadzo (Male/Ŋutsu); Adzoa (Female/Nyɔnu)

Braɖa (Tuesday): Kɔmla (Male/Ŋutsu); Abra, Abla (Female/Nyɔnu)

Kuɖa (Wednesday): Kɔku, Kwaku (Male/Ŋutsu); Aku, Akua (Female/Nyɔnu)

Yawoɖa ( Thursday): Yawo (Male/Ŋutsu); Yawa (Female/Nyɔnu)

Fiɖa (Friday): Kofi(Male/Ŋutsu); Afua, Afi(Female/Nyɔnu)

Memleɖa/Memliɖa (Saturday): Kɔmi,Kwami (Male/Ŋutsu); Ama (Female/Nyɔnu)

Kɔsiɖa / Kwasiɖa (Sunday): Kɔsi, Kwasi (Male,Ŋutsu); Akɔsia, Akɔsua (Female/Nyɔnu)

Other than day names, there are specific names describing your birth order, whether you are a twin, and so many other things I can't remember now!

I could write a whole post on just drumming and dancing, which I think I'll save for another time. Let me just say, the Ewes definitely have their own style, which is fun.

Below is an example of Ewe Kente cloth:

Ewes were the first in Ghana to weave Kente. In the Ashanti wars against the Ewe, Ewe weavers were captured and it thus have been prisoners of war from the Ashanti / Ewe wars that taught the Ashanti how to weave.

Well, that's about all I have for you this time! Stay Tuned!

Peace, Da Yawa

1 comment:

Susan C said...

I love your "fun facts" - they are very interesting. Look for a package soon (hopefully)! We miss you!


PS: More pix - I want to see your lovely face :)