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When ancestors remain on foreign soil identity is a huge problem

botchway August 3, 2018


Long before the treaty of Lagos was signed on May 28, 1975 formalising the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and making it legal for citizens to move to member countries without hindrance, there were movements of people and goods in West Africa. The emergence of Zongos, for instance, could be traced to people moving from one community to another long before the advent of the ‘Show Boy’ led to what one non-conformist christened ‘Flag and Anthem Republic.’

For the information of my grandsons and daughters unaccustomed to the way of life of the people before independence from colonial rule, Hausa, the native language of the people of Northern Nigeria, was introduced to the then Gold Coast before Sir Gordon Guggisberg came to preside over the colonial administration of this country, leading to the construction of the Korle Bu Hospital among many other development projects.

Now, Huasa is considered indigenous enough to count among the six local languages featured on local television. In those days, when the bald old man was taking his tutorials, the whole school, I mean Form One to Upper Six, was less than the population of first year students of a school now benefitting from ‘Free Education.’

The zeal with which the new man at Jubilee House defended his concept of free education, swearing that the idea of kids going to school on gratis has come to stay, I took a trip down memory lane to events in the old Parliament House nearer to where the body of the originator of independence now lies cold.

“We prefer self-government with danger to servitude in tranquility he screamed.” We all yelled ’Yeeye,’ excited that independence was here at last. What we had not bargained for, was the influx of people from east, west and north. The bald old man has long been at home a pensioner. Employment or lack of it does not directly affect the old man with one foot already in the grave, which brings memories of this particular man in the village, who likes showing off in the white man’s language, in spite of the fact that he never stepped into any classroom.

At a public durbar at which chiefs and other opinion leaders were seen openly haggling over money to complete the town’s community centre, our friend the ‘Abrofosem’ burst out.  ‘Se Efun Bi Ewu Wo Akotsi A Me I No Palaber.’ Apparently, it was the man’s means of excluding himself from any taxation to complete the project.

On one other occasion, our Abrofosem sat through an arbitration process involving a family whose daughter had been impregnated by the son of the local catchiest. Apparently, the entire household was all female.

Our friend’s response to the issue was spelled out in his idea of the Queen’s language. “A House No Dey Man. Out Man De Go Inside,” he said to the consternation of the affected family head, which tells a lot about the source of consternation facing this society.

Xenophobia, the bald old man would tell you, is never Ghanaian. At my age and disposition, I have seen enough of people coming from communities outside the four borders of this country to worry about the influx.

One does not need the antics of that priest whose name in the Queen’s official language seems to suggest that ‘Some One Does Not Know,’ to put all of us out of our misery. Whether in his capacity as Angel or the highest version, the son in whom the Almighty himself is well pleased, to pontificate on why the professor of Criminology leading the charge to put biological details of all Homo Sapiens of this society on to a single card, is facing such gargantuan problems.

The last time, I heard the organiser of that political enclave owing allegiance to Boom Junction, claiming inheritance from Borbor Fantse, I told myself: ‘Hang on old boy’ which ‘Fie Na School,’ or Fanti supplementary reader could be relied upon to help decipher the words and their utterance, out of what is emerging from the mouth of the man who served Boom Junction well over the years? And yet, he claims the surname is not Adamu, as the rumour mills keep churning out.

Adamu would have fit the claims by people who swear that the origin is more ‘Kotokoli’ than Borbor.

The last time Boom Junction was in the news, the volcanic eruption was over a message to that aide who climbed to become an envoy at the Court of St. James.  The text message, asking the man with all his height to author his own dismissal letter, was innovative in every sense of the word. It tells a lot about events that led to the decade of the ‘Culture of Silence.’

No such eruption followed the exit plan of the man tracing his heritage to Borbor though. Evidence is emerging of a Tsunami threatening to engulf the whole exercise being undertaken by that edifice headed by the criminologist. The exercise aims at putting the biological details of all Homo Sapiens of this land into a single card, and that is the source of the problem.

Some swear that it is an exercise in witch-hunting. As Kofi Yesu explained, witches ought to be hunted anyway. Except that, in this exercise, the complainants claim that of all the people in this country, it is only those in the eastern border post who are targeted by the elimination processing employed. The implications though, are wider than bringing an Ebusua Panyin to trace the person registering a family tree.

The difficulty, one nephew pointed out, is that the methodology of identifying the grand old men and women, dead or alive, might eliminate many friends of those seeking protection under the Umbrella.

Those making the loudest noise, Kofi Yesu claimed, fear that tracing the remains of grandparents among the dead at Mankessim, for instance, where one Ekumfi hunter, Ekwaasi, led the police to establish that the dreaded Nananom Pow, was, after all, orchestrated by human beings, is not going to be a child’s play, especially when the remains of loved ones are really tagged at various locations outside this society.

When Adamu is the baptism name, and the remains of true ancestors lie somewhere in Eyadema territory, linking up with ancestors at the identification parade, is not going to be an easy task.

There are those, like the man who rose to supervise overall ancestral lands after his parents had arrived as farm hands, would have genuine difficulties pointing the way to his ancestors. It would be near impossible, the naysayers say, for our friend to trace his original ancestral home to the dense rain forest, where cocoa helped to bring out the early nouveau rich of society

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