The Dangmes are believed to be part of the Israelites who traveled from Egypt to Canaan. It is said that they strayed when they were in transit and found themselves in Nigeria. Because they were being forced to worship Allah and pray as the Moslems did, which they were not comfortable with, they journeyed on to Benin, and then to Togo and finally had to cross the Volta River to Tagologo (now called Natreku – between Akuse junction and Akuse). From there again they moved, under their tribe heads, to the various places (dialectal areas) we find them now.
There were, of course, feeble endeavours as well as appreciable efforts by several individuals which never went beyond the manuscript stage. From the latter part of the 20th century onwards, a considerable number of manuscripts were produced in Dangme. Some of these were published. For example, Enoch Azu’s ‘Dangme Historical Songs’ (Klama) and ‘Dangme Proverbs’, D. A. Puplampu’s ‘Dangme Munyu Tub4’, ‘M4m4yo’, ‘An Dangme Script’, ‘A Grammar of Dangme’, T. N. N. Accam’s ‘Klama Songs and Chants’, ‘Adangme Vocabularies’ and others can be cited.
In the late 40’s D. A. Puplampu came out with a suggestion for a Dangme Orthography which included the use of ‘c’, ‘j’ and ‘ng’ in place of the Ga ‘t’, ‘dz’ and ‘n’ characters. Later when the United Bible Translation Committee decided to publish the Bible in Dangme and the Government at the time approved the teaching of Dangme in schools on Dangme land, the question arose as to whether Ga and Dangme must both use the same Orthography.
At this point in time (1968), the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana - Legon was invited to advise on Ga and Dangme Orthographies. It was then decided after a careful examination that the two Orthographies were different and that for practical reasons, a compromise should be struck between the two. It was conclusive that Dangme Orthography would drop the ‘c’ and ‘dz’ but retain the ‘j’, ‘ts’ and ‘ng’ while Ga retained ‘n’ and dropped ‘ts’. The only difference in the two Orthographies would then be the use of ‘ng’ by Dangme and ‘n’ for Ga. After the final decision on Orthographies, representatives of the Institute of African Studies (University of Ghana - Legon), the Bureau of Ghana Languages and the Dangme Bible Translation Committee met in 1969 and decided on the set of rules of spelling.
The Dangme Alphabets
|Economic Activity||-||Trading, Farming & Fishing||Small Scale Industrial Activities & Farming|
|Tourism||-||Forts, Estuary,Holiday Chalets & Beaches||Game Reserve||Boti falls, Ancestral Homes on Mt. Yogaga (Caves, etc)|
(Note that we also have some Dangmes at the following places: Asuogyaman, New Juaben, Fanteakwa, Kwahu Afram Plains, Agotime - in the Volta Region - and other parts of Ghana.) The 1990 Population Census also states we have 1,250,000 Ga-Adangmes and 300,000 Gas. This means we had 950,000 Dangmes then.
|Population||7,000,000 (1995 WA), 44% of the population (1990 WA). 1,170,000 Asante Twi, 4,300,000 Fante, 230,000 Akuapem Twi (1993 UBS).|
|Region||The Asante are south central, Ashanti Province. The Akuapem are southeast, in areas north of Accra. The Fante are south central, between Winneba, Takoradi, and Obuasi.|
|Dialects||FANTE (FANTI, MFANTSE), AKUAPEM (AKWAPEM TWI, TWI, AKUAPIM, AKWAPI), ASANTE (ASHANTE TWI, TWI, ASANTI, ACHANTI), AGONA, DANKYIRA, ASEN, AKYEM BOSOME, KWAWU, AHAFO.|
|Classification||Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kwa, Nyo, Potou-Tano, Tano, Central, Akan.|
|Comments||Dialects are largely inherently intelligible. The speech of the Asante and Akuapem is called 'Twi.' Dictionary. Grammar. SVO. Literacy rate in first language: 30% to 60%. Literacy rate in second language: 5% to 10%. Roman. Bible 1871-1964.|
Abakah, Emmanuel N. 1998/1999. "On the question of standard Fante."Cahill, Michael. 1985. An autosegmental analysis of Akan nasality and tone.Savage, T. Dale. 1987. "Some abstract features of Kwa vowel harmony: An autosegmental approach to Engenni, Igbo, Akan, and Yoruba."1. "A closer look at downstep in Akan" by Abakah, Emmanuel Nicholas. 2000. Afrika und Ubersee.2. "The low tone in Akan" by Abakah, Emmanuel Nicholas. 2002. Proceedings of the 14th Afrikanistentag.3. "Remarks on the Akan vocalic inventory" 2002. Ferstschrift in honour of the 3Ds (ie Prof. M.E. Dakubu, Prof. F.A. Dolphyne and Prof. A.S. Duthie.
Short History of the Akwamus
The Akwamus like most Akans also migrated from Adanse to settle at the Twifo-Heman forest at the later part of the 16th century. This group of Akans belonged to the Aduana family and are blood brothers of Asumennya, Dormaa and Kumawu. According to oral tradition it was as a result of succession dispute that compelled Otomfuo (brass-smith) Asare to desert the family to form a new state or city called Asaremankesee- Asares big state. The modern city of Asaamankese was originally founded and occupied by the Akwamus. Akwamus expansion started between 1629 1710 and this took them to places like the whole Akuapem area including Kyerepon and Larteh, Akyem, Denkyera, Ga-Adangbe, the Ladoku states of Agona, Winneba, Afram plains, Southern Togoland and finally Whydah in present Benin. The powerful king Nana Ansa Sasraku l annexed the Guans and took over the traditional areas of the Kyerepons and ruled over them until Asonaba Nana Ofori Kuma and his followers after a succession dispute in their effort to form their own State engaged them in a fierce war after which the Akwamus were driven away from the mountains. These Asona family members and their followers then were given a piece of land from the original settlers the Guans, Kyerepons, to form the Akuapem state. However, most of the present Akuapems still have their roots at Akwamufie especially those bearing the names Addo and Akoto or from the Aduana family. Nana Ansa Sasraku also played an important role in the life of the King Osei Tutu of Asante. He protected him from the Denkyiras and when he was called to take over the Kwaaman stool Nana Ansa Sasraku provided him with 300 Asafomen from Akwamu to guide him to Kwaaman. When Nana Osei Tutu arrived, he gaved all the men to Kwaaman Asafohene and they became citizens of Asafo and that won the Kumase Asafohene the title Akwamuhene of Kumase. According to oral tradition, the whole structure of the Asante army that was started by Nana Osei Kofi Tutu l and helped the Asantes through many wars, was a replicate of the well organised Akwamu army. Nana Osei Tutu was also assisted by the Anumfuo (later Adumfuo) who accompanied him from Akwamu, in execution cases. A large number of the Asantes of today originated from Akwamu especially, people from Asafo and Adum as well as sections of people from Bantama and Barekese. After the death of Nana Ansa Sasraku, he was succeeded by two kings collectively, Nana Addo Panin and Nana Basua. It was during this time that the Akwamus took over the possession of the Danish Castle at Christianborg or Osu. Because of the cordial relationship that existed between Akwamu and Asante, during the 19th century expansion of Asante, the Akwamu unlike most states after war, was never annexed by Asantes but rather the Akwamu Stool became the wife of the Asante Stool during the reign of Nana Odeneho Kwafo Akoto l. That is the reason why during the Golden Anniversary of Nana Kwafo Akoto ll Nana Opoku Ware ll crossed the Pra river to spend two days at Akwamufie. At the peak of their power the Akwamus had embraced much of the Gold Coast and traditionally the Akwamuhene still has the jurisdiction of the Akosombo part of the Volta River. Sadly and unfortunately the Akwamus have however lost most of their lands to Akuapems, Akyems, Kwahus, Fantes and Krobos. I would like recall that the Kingdom of Akwamu was one of the most powerful among the Akans.
|Nana Akwamu Panin||1702|
|Nana Ansa Sasraku aka Ansa Kwao||1726|
|Nana Obuaman Darko||1730|
|Nana Kwaafo Akoto||1830|
|Nana Kwaafo Akoto ll||1936|
|Nana Kwaantwi Barima ll|
|Odeneho Nana Kwaafo Akoto lll - not very sure of when he ascended the throne|
|Nana Owusu Agyare ll||1997|
|Nana Ansah Sasraku lV||1999|
Author:Baafuor Ossei-Akoto (SIL)
DAGOMBA (better pronounced as DAGBAMBA) speak Dagbani (better pronounced as Dagbanli). The language belongs to the More-Dagbanli sub-group of Gur languages. The More or Moshi now have their homeland in present day Burkina Faso, while the Dagbanli sub-group today has broken up into three ethnic groups: The Dagbamba, the Mamprusi and the Nanumba. Even though these groups today constitute three apparently distinct ethnic groups, their people still identify with each other and the bond is strongest among the Dagbamba and Nanumba. The homeland of the Dagbamba is called Dagbon and covers about 8,000 sq. miles in area and has a total population of about 650, 000. The area constitutes seven administrative districts in present day Ghana. These are Tamale Municipality, Tolon/Kumbungu, Savelugu/Nantong, Yendi, Gushegu/Karaga, Zabzugu/Tatali and Saboba/Cheriponi. The overlord the Dagbon Traditional Kingdom is the Ya- Na, whose court and administrative capital is at Yendi. Yendi is reputed to be the largest village in West Africa. The Dagbon Kingdom has traditional administrative responsibilities for hitherto acephalous groups like the Konkomba, the Bimoba, the Chekosi, the Basaari, the Chamba, and the Zantasi. Though ethnic Dagbamba are in the majority, the people of the subject ethnic groups have equal citizenship rights in the Kingdom. The seat of the Ya Na literally translated as King of Absolute Power, is a collection of cow skins. Thus when we talk of the political history of Dagbon, we often refer to it as the Yendi Skin. (Not throne or crown). Na Gbewaa is regarded as the founder of Greater Dagbon (Present day Dagbon, Mamprugu and Nanung). Lacking in a writing culture, Dagbamba are one of the cultural groups with a very sophisticated oral culture woven around drums and other musical instruments. Thus most of its history, until quite recently, has been based on oral tradition with drummers as professional historians. So according to oral tradition, the political history of Dagbon has its genesis in the lifestory of a legend called Tohazie (translated as Red Hunter.). Culturally, Dagbon is heavily influence by Islam. Inheretance is patrilineal. Prominent festival they celebrate include the Damba, Bugum (fire festival) and the two Islamic Eid Festivals. The most cosmopolitan city of Dagbon is Tamale, which also serves as the Northern Regional capital.
|Population||1,615,700 in Ghana (1991), 13% of the population (1990 WA). Population total both countries 2,477,600 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC). Including second language users: 3,000,000 (1999 WA).|
|Region||Southeast corner. Also spoken in Togo.|
|Alternate names||EIBE, EBWE, EVE, EFE, EUE, VHE, GBE, KREPI, KREPE, POPO|
|Dialects||ANGLO, AWUNA, HUDU, KOTAFOA.|
|Classification||Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kwa, Left Bank, Gbe.|
|Comments||Language of wider communication. Grammar. Literacy rate in first language: 30% to 60%. Literacy rate in second language: 75% to 100%. Roman. Christian, traditional religion. Bible 1913-1931.|
Bibliography about this language:Akuetey, Caesar. 1995. "Are `le' and `li' dialectal variants in the Ewe language?."Akuetey, Caesar. 1998/1999. "A preliminary of Yeegbe: Animist cult language in Eweland."Callow, John C. 1973. "Two approaches to the analysis of meaning."Duthie, Alan S. 1993. "Semantic diversity in Ewe words."Dzameshie, Alex K. 1998/1999. "Structures of coordination in Ewe."Neeley, Paul. 1997. Review of African Rhythm: A northern Ewe perspective, by Agawu, Kofi.Ring, J. Andrew. 1981. Ewe as a second language: A sociolinguistic survey of Ghana's central Volta region.Ring, J. Andrew. 1991. "Three case studies involving dialect standardization strategies in northern Ghana."
|Population||526,300 in Ghana (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC) including 400,000 in the Upper East Region, perhaps 100,000 in various towns and cities in other regions (1988 SIL). Population total both countries 551,400 (1991 L. Vanderaa CRC).|
|Region||Northeast Ghana, Upper East Region around Bolgatanga, Frafra District, and as far west as Navrongo. Also spoken in Burkina Faso.|
|Alternate names||FAREFARE, GURENNE, GURUNE, NANKANI|
|Dialects||GUDENI (GUDENNE, GURENNE, GURUNE), NANKANI (NAANI, NANKANSE), BOONI, TALNI (TALENSI, TALENE), NABT (NABIT, NABDE, NABTE, NABDAM, NABDUG, NABRUG, NABNAM, NAMNAM).|
|Classification||Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Central, Northern, Oti-Volta, Western, Northwest.|
|Comments||The dialects are named after towns or localities. They consider Dagaare in particular to be a sister language. 5 major dialects and many minor ones, all able to use the published materials. They call themselves their clan or dialect name, and their language 'Farefare'. Speakers of Talni are called 'Talensi.' Dictionary. Grammar. Literacy rate in first language: 1% to 5%. Literacy rate in second language: 5% to 15%. Roman. Taught at the University of Ghana. Radio programs, videos. Traditional religion, Christian, Muslim. NT 1986.|
|Population||300,000 in Ghana (1993 UMS). Population total both countries 300,000 or more.|
|Region||Southeast, coast around Accra. Also spoken in Togo.|
|Alternate names||AMINA, GAIN, ACCRA, ACRA|
|Classification||Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kwa, Nyo, Ga-Dangme.|
|Comments||Ga is the major language of Accra, the capital. Literacy rate in first language: 30% to 60%. Literacy rate in second language: 75% to 100%. Traditional religion. Bible 1866, in press (1997).|
|Homowo||MEANING: The Homowo Festival's ties lie with the Ga people and their migration to Ghana. The Ga traveled for many years before reaching the West Coast of Africa where they presently live. Along the way, they experienced famine, but because they helped each other, they survived. Later, when their harvests were bountiful, they held a feast at which they mocked and jeered at hunger and the hard times that had plagued them. This was the first Homowo.|
The Guan are believed to have begun to migrate from the Mossi region of modern Burkina around A.D. 1000. Moving gradually through the Volta valley in a southerly direction, they created settlements along the Black Volta, throughout the Afram Plains, in the Volta Gorge, and in the Akwapim Hills before moving farther south onto the coastal plains. Some scholars postulate that the wide distribution of the Guan suggests that they were the Neolithic population of the region. Later migrations by other groups such as the Akan, Ewe, and Ga-Adangbe into Guan-settled areas would then have led to the development of Guan-speaking enclaves along the Volta and within the coastal plains. The Guan have been heavily influenced by their neighbors. The Efutu, a subgroup of the Guan, for example, continue to speak Guan dialects, but have adopted (with modifications) the Fante version of some Akan institutions and the use of some Fante words in their rituals. As far as the other Guan subgroups are concered, the Anum-Boso speak a local Ewe dialect, whereas the Larteh and Kyerepong have customs similar to Akwapim groups. Constituting about a quarter of the Guan, the Gonja to the north have also been influenced by other groups. The Gonja are ruled by members of a dynasty, probably Mande in origin. The area is peopled by a variety of groups, some of which do not speak Guan. The ruling dynasty, however, does speak Guan, as do substantial numbers of commoners. Although neither the rulers nor most of the commoners are Muslims, a group of Muslims accompanied the Mande invaders and have since occupied a special position as scribes and traders. The Gonja founded one of several northern kingdoms. In the eighteenth century, they, like their neighbors, were defeated by the expanding Asante Empire. Gonja became part of the British Northern Territories after the fall of Asante. Even though long-distance commerce led to the development of major markets, the Gonja continued to be subsistence farmers and migrant workers.