Our Dynamic History - The Krobos
The Krobos in Ghana are an ancient tribe. They are one of a group of eight sub-tribes known as the Dangmes (Adangme) which means people who share a common language of Adas. Their tribal area extends to 0°18' western longitude to 0°8' eastern longitude, and from 6°2' to 6°32' northern latitude. They are the most numerous among the Adangme speaking tribes of south-eastern Ghana. The 2010 Census puts the resident population of Many Krobo (Lower and Upper Manya) at 157,090. This figure contains elements of other ethnic groups. The Krobos are sub-divided into two groups: Yilo Krobo and Manya Krobo as well as Krobo settlers in other territories in the Eastern Region and now scattered in cocoa farming areas of Ghana. The people call themselves Klo, but their neighbours in present Ghana call them Krobo and that is the official name in gazette.
Origin of the Krobos
Legends corroborated by several pieces of mrepwatch.com evidence claim that the Krobos and the other Dangme groups came from north-eastern Africa, specifically ancient Egypt and surrounding areas in what is now called the Middle East. The Krobos, like other migratory groups from north-eastern Africa, were victims of a series of invasions in Egypt from 600 BC to the 14th century AD causing corresponding migrations at each invasion(2,3,4). Our ancestors were pushed down to the Chad area of the Sudan and were one of the groups that moved to the bend of river Niger in the western Sudan where they were part of the empires that flourished and demised, the latest one being the Songhai empire that fell at the end of the 16th century (1591)(4,5).
A migration at the end of the Songhai Empire brought them back to lake Chad area. They then moved southwards to Niger and through western Nigeria to Sameh between present Nigeria and Benin (Dahomeh) with notable stops at Widah (Ouida) and Huatsi from where they continued the journey with other proto-Dangme groups. As they passed through these places, they left behind and also picked up cultural traits of those areas among whom they sojourned and passed through. The Krobos regard the Ewe groups of Dahomeh and Togo as friends hence they call the Ewes Ohueli. They had to continue their journey, and at the point of departure from their Ewe friends it appeared there was an emotional upheaval and they call the point of departure Lorlorvor, meaning love has ended. They crossed the Volta
River only to find themselves surrounded by the Guans and Akan peoples on all sides, hence they call the Akan people Ohieli, meaning the multitudinous people. The fear of this new group pushed them to climb the huge isolated mountain on the plains near the Volta River which is called the Krobo Mountain up to today. They arrived in the present Ghana at the beginning of the 17th century.
Traits of Origins
1. The Krobos show traits traceable to ancient Egypt (Khemit). For example the tall holy white hat of the high priesthood and the Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. It is known that the tall holy white hat of the high priest and pharaoh originated from Upper (South) Egypt. This tall hat is the type adopted by the bishops of the Christian tradition. The short red hat which is originated in lower (north) Egypt is the type worn by the cardinals of the church. Knowledge of ancient Egypt confirms that the pharaoh wore the two hats combined. Also the white turban and white dress of the Krobo priests reflect the dress of the Egyptian priest.
2. The religious practices of the Krobos include the recognition of a supreme being (God) as well as a hierarchy of divine principles or qualities which are known in Egypt as Neters or Neteru which is appropriately translated as nature spirits which preside over forms and functions (6).
3. Kodha (Echau Metu in Ancient Egypt): this is known as Negative Confessions in ancient Egyptian religious practice as a way of life in Khemit (KMT). Once in a year among the Krobos in Ghana, at the beginning of the major ngmayemi festival, well-meaning Krobos who feel that they have led a pure descent life can swear to the gods that they had not committed any cardinal sin in the past year.
4. Child naming ceremony and circumcision for boys are practiced among the Krobos similar to the traditions of Hebrews (Jews) and the ancient Egyptians.
5. Preparations of the body for burial exhibited by the Krobos seem to be similar to the practices in ancient Khemit. The expectations of crossing the waters to the other side by the soul of the departed are also noted in the funeral.
6. a. Millet as a staple food and millet beer (ngmada) as a beverage of the Krobos today appear in the texts of the Egyptian Book of the Dead(7)
b. Food: the Krobo word for food is ngma.
The Krobos now live in the forest belt of Ghana where millet is not part of their diet but they still call food millet (ngma) which means they have a Sahelian (North and West Sudan) experience. They celebrate an annual festival called Ngmayem (the millet feast) during which the priest only sprinkles millet grains ceremoniously to remind them of their millet related past.
As they passed through the West Sudan until they arrived in the present place, their basic Dangme language was influenced by those of the areas they passed through especially Dahomeh and Togo until they arrived into the present Ghana where they found themselves surrounded by Guan and Akan speaking people whose language also influenced their Dangme language. In spite of these affiliations, the culture of the Krobos remains distinct.
Special Cultural Traits - The Dipo Custom
The dipo custom is a rite of passage specifically for adolescent girls that passes them through a series of initiatory ceremonies. During this period they receive training and education into womanhood. These rituals culminate into celebrations with dressing up in finery, heavily laden with beads and followed by promenades as debutantes through the community to show they are of age for marriage. At a stage of the dipo ceremonies, the girls are confined for intensive training. At this stage, the dipo girl is given the opportunity to wear a replica of the tall white holy priestly hat.
Professor G.S Ayernor