All the places where most of the people are staying now - that
is not there original place. They came from a place somewhere
else before there modern place now. And before people move from
one place to another, there might be something wrong! They can`t
just move, because they want to move, there might be something!
Sometimes there are enemies, maybe there are some people around,
who always attack - I mean, fight with them - sometimes that`s
the reason to go away from that area.
And onother reason is that they maybe don`t have good water -
I mean to drink. Maybe they don`t have a river near them, that
they can use as their source of drinking and for the house use,
so they try to go away. Another reason can be that they don`t
have a good land to farm on. And then there can also be wild animals.
If there are some wild animals which come to town to destroy things...
Because of all the things, they may plan to move from where they
are to another place. So this makes people move from place to
Send out spies
Before people move to another place, when these things are happening,
they send some people to go around and look for a suitable place.
They send out spies. They make them aware of those things, so
when they go, they have to make sure, those troubles are not there.
So when they go and then they get a very suitable place, a nice
place, they come back and they inform the elders of the town.
Then they go and maybe perform some rights which they think they
have to perform. After performing this rights then they start
to move one by one to that town. But the first person that is
to move to the new place - I mean, the place is a forrest. So
the first person is to go there just to weat a very small place
where maybe he can have his single room or double room and then
staying for start coming...
The first person is going to die
So the first person to move there, they believe, this first person
is going to die. This is there believe. Or they take it as the
land is going to use that fist person as a sacrifice. This is
there believe. So because of that, they look into the town around
and then they get an old, very, very old person to go there first.
Because they think that he has already got near to his death,
so he should go there first.
So he goes there, and then prepare this and maybe settle there
for a week or two or a month, before they start to move to join
him. And as their believe doesn´t come like that, sometimes people
even die and they leave....that hope? ...but still they do practise
So that´s how they do with a new settlement. And in our towns,
our villages we have a place where our people gather. If there
is a message for the whole town, or the chief wants to meet the
whole town not in his palace, we have a bigger place, where people
gather. So before they get this place, when they get the new land,
and everybody has agreed, I mean to move to that place, then they
weat a very small portion and then plant a tree there to signify:
"That`s a gathering place"
That tree will grow a very, very big tree and have a very big
shade of which under they can sit, so that they rest under the
sheets. This is what they use as a gathering point for the whole
That´s the way people move from a place to another place and this
is how they settle - the oldest person goes first for the rest.
So it means all those people who are settled in their places now,
this are not there original places that they come from!
The same thing has happened to this village Ampenij. They also
came from somewhere to settle here. Unfortunately I cannot tell
the exact thing that causes them to move from their old place.
But I believe after all that I said, it might be one of that reason,
because of leaving there. I tried to find out from about four
different old members, they were not able to tell....
Because the life of today they don`t want to sit down and listen
to our great grandfathers or mothers. In earlier times - when
after eating the grandmother or grandfather ...- you will sit
down with them and then she or he will start to tell old, old
stories. So before they die, you know the old, old things and
you will also pass it to your children, but now...! It`s the modern
So they came somewhere from Techimen, that`s in the Ashanti region
near Kumasi. Somewhere there! At the beginning all the people,
they are from another place all together. I mean the whole Ghana
community is from somewhere else up to Sudan and Mali. We passed
through all these places. So we have some old Empires, the Sudan
Empire, the Mali Empire, the Ghana Empire, we passed through all
this Empries arriving here today!
And some people take the lead for others to follow them. From
Techimen they were looking for a new place to settle. And you
can imagine from that far near Kumasi up to here, that time they
didn`t have things of transport, they only walked and they walked
for 4,5,6 weeks, or 1 month without getting tired. When they went
away they only took along their food and some small things. Now
I can`t even walk from here to Accra nearby, but they, they did!
Because that was their time. But now we are moving to a modern
system. When the things of transport are there, why should I walk
A good place to settle
When they sent out spies to look for a very new place, they move
around a lot and then when they reached here, they found out that
here it`s a very good place. So you have the sea, ... they can
have their fishing and then the land - you can use it for farming
and then we have a river here in the back, that they can use as
a source of water. So they feel that here is a very good place
for them to settle.
They went and told the eldest about the place that they have found.
This eldest - in every town they have a fetish priest! A fetish
priest is a person who is the mediator or betweener between the
gods and the people. They can hear from the gods and then translate
it to the people.
So after informing the eldest, the eldest also have to inform
the fetish priest about the new place. And he has to go there
and then ask - we believe that there are gods on every land, every
place, that`s what we believe! We believe in the all mighty god
and we believe in the small gods! We think they are messangers
- god passes messanges through them to us. So we believe that
there are gods in all the lands.
Asking the gods
So this fetish priest will come to a new place and then ask the
gods which are on the land, that they want to come and settle
here with them if the gods allow and agree. Maybe the gods will
say "No", we don`t want you to come and stay here with us, because
when you come , you are maybe disturbing our peace - or this and
this... So we don`t want anybody to come and stay with us. Or
they can say: "Oh yes" you can come and we agree, you can come
and stay with us. But we have some laws, which if you can agree
with this laws, then you can stay with us!
So that`s what happened here - when the fetish priest came, the
gods accepted them, "no problem", you can stay with us, but here
are our laws: You can do this, you can do this, this you have
to do andthis you have to do... If you agree, then you can stay
with us. But if you agree and you don`t act according to our laws,
then we are going to punish you!
And their punishment is in different ways: Sometimes they can
punish you with some sickness, illness. Some deseases will come
to all of the town, the people will be sick, a lot of things will
happen. And sometimes they can make some enemies to come and then
attack you. So they have so many ways of punishing people....
When the fetish priest went back, he told the eldest: "I went
and consulted the gods. This is what they said: They said a lot,
but the most important one is, that they said this and this and
this... The people will say "ok, we agree to do what they said,
so we shall stay with them"
As I already said, you ask the oldest person to come here first
to settle before the rest start to come...
Chiefs and gods
So one of the laws which we are talking about is, they told them:
"We as gods we have a special day." Here in Ampenij we have a
- we call it a tradtitional area, Ampenij is not alone. Ampenij,
Kommenda, Elmina, there are some other places which came together
to form one traditional area. And they have a traditional chief.
A traditional head chief and they have some sub-chiefs, that`s
the chief of Ampenij, the chief of this place...there are some
chiefs. But they have one chief who takes controll of the whole
The whole traditional area, the gods that are all here, they come
together one day and have meetings. They think about the land,
how to protect the land. And then the people who are living on
the land have to protect them. So they become their people to
protect them! If maybe a desease is coming or something is coming...
- how to block that desease not to come into the town? So they
also have their meetings to think of all this things and then
everybody has his part to play. You, you have to do this! You
have to do this! The gods are just like human beeings, but you
can`t see them.
Gods meet on tuesdays
The day the gods have their meetings is on tuesday. And this tuesday
they start their meeting early in the morning - very, very early
in the morning and at least up to twelve o`clock, then their meeting
is over. And during their meeting they don`t want any disturbance
at all. It´s just like how we are sitting here talking and then
people around are shouting, singing...I mean, you can`t hear anything!
It disturbs a lot. So the gods don`t want any disturbances, especially
Music is part of their life, it moves them: It`s the music that
moves them. So if you want to invoke this gods to come here now,
you can not do that unless you use music. Playing their rythm,
music and then with some chanting and then their spirit is coming.
It`s music that moves them.
So what they hear mostly is the drumming, I mean it get`s into
them very, very much! So at the meeting, if you are maybe playing
drums, you can see them dancing - no one will hear to what is
happening anymore, so you are going to interrupt the whole meeting.
So the gods said: "No" Until their meeting is finished at twelve
o`clock anything at all you want to do, you can`t do it- So they
said: "no problem"
So the people from the village agreed to the gods and said: "No
problem" - then the gods allowed them to come and settle here.
Don´t drum on tuesdays!
When the people came here, this was one of the serious laws. So
the people have to tell their children:"Here you don`t drum on
tuesday - it is up to twelve o`clock! If you do that, this is
what is going to happen or not!" So they informed their children,
and their children also informed their children... That`s how
it is up to this time! So for short, this is the reason why we
don`t drum here on tuesdays!
Someone takes the lead
In Elmina, Ampenij - at all this places there might be someone
who has to take the lead. Somebody moves first to the place and
then someone also comes in later. So if you are staying here for
example you are the first here and then another person get´s near
you there, because he also want to settle here. You say:"Oh, no
problem" There is a place where you can stay. And then if that
person stays there, you will say to him: "This are the laws of
the gods here." - So then he has to agree with the laws.
Elmina and Kommenda they are old, old settlements in this traditional
area. All this places where just bush, so when the people came
to ask for the place, they offered them this and then they also
settled here. So this is how it is!
If you take the chance to settle here, then you are under Elmina.
So Ampenij goes under Elmina. When people are coming to settle
here, They have to ask permission before. If the Elmina chief
allows them - they can settle here!
Rebuilding the whole community
Even at the very, very old beginning not all the people moved
together, not all the people! Maybe I feel this place is "ok"
for me and the whole village wants to move. But I alone feel I
can stay - I can be with the wild animals - when the others are
leaving, I only say "Goodbye" and they go... And I can stay there
with my wife and give birth to a child and the family starts to
spread again... So you rebuilt the whole community again.
The place where the people of the village came from, there are
still some others there. Sometimes people have this link, they
know where they came from: "Some of our people are still there!"
They still have that relationship. If they have their annual festival
here, they invite people from there: "Tomorrow is our annual festival,
so we invite you to come and join us". Because they still want
The life of today! A family can feel to move and they are doing
it. But what they do is, they don´t actually plan to move or to
leave the place totally. But as I am in the village and I like
farming, I look for a very big, fertile land to farm. Maybe I
get a land somewhere in Takoradi - when I go there, I first go
alone! And then I have a very big farm, then I make a small village
to stay in. Everyday or every weekend I have to come home to the
old village to my family. So if I see the travel is to much for
me, what I do is to take my family with me and settle there. When
we are there, maybe after one month or one year the others come
and see our village... So this is how it begins sometimes nowadays.
Perhaps my uncle stays at a good place - I also want to go and
see if he can get me a land to farm. Then I also move there to
my uncle and later I also stay there with my family... This is
how it is!
At first not, but now we have to! Because now a lot of things
have changed. People come and then, if I am the first person here,
I will try to cut a very big land to myself. So if everybody wants
to come here, they have to pay me something for it. Now everything
has become money! Money, Money! So now you have to buy or you
have to rent the land! You can rent it every month or every year
- you pay something for it. And when you want to leave, its not
yours, you leave it and go!
We believe the Europeans and the black are all one family. And
we want to mix with each other. So it is our whish, I mean the
wish of the black people, the Europeans to come and to stay with
them. I mean - what is happening here... and we also go and then
stay there! So that all can just move! So because of that nowadays
when a European wants a land to buy, no problem, it`s free.
You have to marry a black person
If I choose to stay here for the rest of my life and I buy a land
here just for me, I can stay as long as I live. But in the case
that I die, I have no one to take care of the land anymore, but
if I am married, that means the land goes to my wife or my husband.
And if you have children, then the land becomes our, because of
our children. So maybe it´s just an advice which they give that
you make real benefits from the investment you want to make here.
If you marry here it benefits you a lot. But if you don´t marry,
it means maybe after sometime you want to go. Will you resell
the land to somebody, you can sell it, it´s true, you can sell
it. "Now I want to move, now I am selling this and go." No one
holds you! But in the case you die, the land is free for everybody
to use it. It is the chief from where you bought the land, the
owner can take back the land
Black and white are brothers
The reason why - now that we need you!
We believe that the African race or the black race - in fact I
don´t know! We have been trained in such a way that we have believe
in that extended family! So my grandfathers brothers son - we
still have that relationship! So we believe the Europeans - our
fore-fore-forefathers during the slave trade they were taken from
here to European countries and they made them to stay there. And
then their children were also born there. They cannot be black
like this - maybe some people married the whites. Because of this
we believe there are our brothers among them still there. You
can not say for sure that this is not one of us! We can not know!
Because of that we see everybody as their roots are coming from
Africa. But it depends on the European person - if he or herself
believes "I am from Africa - No, I believe I am not from Africa."
So if you believe you are from Africa and I start to welcome you
to Africa. I invite you to come to Africa and to stay with Africa
- since your believe is we are all from Africa - your roots are
from Africa - I mean, we feel very, very happy if you come, because
we feel you are coming back home. You see! But if your believe
tells you "No" I am not an African" - If I invite you to come
and stay here for good, you don´t like it.
So because we don`t know who´s roots are from Africa, who`s roots
are not from Africa - we try to invite everybody, but it depends
on the person him or herself to say "Yes, my roots are here, I
am coming back to Africa." So this is the reason why we love everyone!
I don`t say that other countries are not good, but you have a
very peaceful mind and stay here in Ghana. I think that some of
the other countries are very rude. Even if you will need a help,
they will not mind. But here in Ghana we respect visitors, tourists,
because we don`t want them to go to another country nearby -
In other countries you will miss such nice hospitality, they`ll
be rude to you, so you will suffer a lot and say that Africa is
rude at all and decide not to go to Africa again. I`m sure that
everybody who comes to Ghana, at least when the person goes back,
they will remember that Africa is a very nice place.