Interview with Chief of Farefari people living in Accra
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Interview with Farafara Paramount Chief of Accra, Naba Awin (NA), 18 July 2002, Institute of African Studies (Publications Office) by Samuel Atintono (SA) in presence of M.E. Kropp Dakubu (MEKD). Translation by MEKD in association with SA MEKD: This is a recording made on July 18 Thursday 2002, at the IAS ... track A, text line 1.. SA: Morning NA: Naa SA: How is it? NA: It's fine SA: Your wife and children are well? NA: ah yes SA: Oo NA and your house there? SA: Ah it is clear/strong NA: Your work place? SA: It is clear NA: Isn't it a few days ago that we met? SA: Not more than that. NA: OK SA: Naa, we wish you well on your chieftaincy NA: Oo ah ok ok. God brought good fortune. SA: Naa, what we want to discuss today, we want to discuss chieftaincy, but we want you to tell us about yourself. Who are you? Tell us your name and your age. Yes. NA: Yes ok I ah, thing, our first paramount chief, I was with him, at least, was [like] his child. SA: Please tell me your name. NA: My name? SA: Yes NA: OK my name is Awuni Atindaana. My Muslim name is Abudurahman. But my father just named me Awuni, ah our country people say Awine. But my father named me Awuni, ah, our people say Awine. The thing is, you know the people here can't pronounce Awine they say Awuni, so our grandfather's name is called Atindana, so Awuni Atindana. SA: How old are you? NA: My age? I am about forty-seven. SA: Where do you come from in our country? NA: I am from Dakio, but I am a Bolga man, Zaare. Because of farming we went to stay in Dakio, like, our ancestors, as they got farmland they farmed. But I am Bolga, Zaare, Akonto'omi [Akuntui]. Yes, I am Akonto'omi. SA: Oo. The name of your clan? NA: Yes. Ayeriga Vua's house. We are Avo'on's children [Av'nbiisi house]. SA: Did you go to school? NA: Oo I didn't go to school SA: You didn't go to school? NA: I didn't go to school. SA: Oo And what languages can you speak? NA: Well I know Frafra but I speak Akan well, I also speak Hausa. SA: You speak Frafra, you can [speak] Talni language in addition? NA: Oh Talni I hear Talni well yes. Talni I can speak SA: And Nabt too? NA: Nabt too I can speak. My wife she is a Nabra. SA: Did you learn Hausa in Bolga or you learned it here in Accra? NA: As for Hausa, I learned it at home there in Bolga. Yes, I knew Hausa in Bolga. SA: How did you learn it? NA: If you can learn and they are speaking of course as you observe them speaking you also listen to how they talk. You who don't pick things up well, you won't understand the language but if your ears work properly you understand the language. SA: You have a wife and children? NA: I have wife and children. My wives are two. SA: Oh, two! NA: Two and children. SA: So your children, what do they do? Do they go to school? NA: As for the children, all of them went to school. My elder daughter went to school – and went to marry a soldier. From Zuaruangu. She and he live at El-Wak? [Eewa] Okay, the one after the girl, he went to school and passed Common Entrance. He organized a football team. He is the children's coach. They call him Karimu. [line 100] SA: Doesn't he also have a Frafra name? NA: Yes his Frafra name is Atambiire. That is his Frafra name. But his Muslim name is K.A. If you call him by his Frafra name, Atambiire Awuni. SA: Oh. Your children, do they understand Frafra? NA: My children understand Frafra. Indeed they all speak Frafra well. SA: Do they speak any other language? NA: And [they] also speak Ga, Hausa they also speak, they speak every language. Some of my children even understand Ewe and speak it. Yes. SA: Do you yourself also understand Twi and anything else? NA: Oh I understand Twi also Hausa. I understand many [other] languages too. SA: Can you, thing, speak Ga? NA: As for Ga, I understand but I don't speak it. I can't speak to them, but if you speak I understand. SA: And when did you come to Accra? NA: Oh when I came to Accra, I think I was about, when I came to Accra. My father was here as a policeman, [ie. my uncle], Sargeant Kurugo, he was at Tesano Police Station when I came to him there as a child. Okay [I] went back home before I returned here. OK he went on retirement and went back home. But he built a house here and I came and stayed there. Got work to do here. SA: Do you think you came when you were a child or you had reached the age of marriage? NA: Oh, as I came, I was living here when they brought a woman for me. SA: Oo NA: Ya hmm SA: Was it a long time ago? NA: It was long ago. SA: Do you remember how many years you have been here in Accra? NA: Oh I think it would be like, it must be eh - thirty-three or thirty-two. SA: Oh then it was long ago. NA: Yes I have been here a long time. SA: Yes but.. NA: I have been here a long time. But I go home and come back. SA: You go home and come back? NA: I go home and come back. SA: But what did you come to do in Accra? why did you come? NA: I came to look for work SA: So you came to look for work to do? NA: I came to look for work to do. SA: What jobs have you done up to now? NA: I do garden work. If not garden, watchman. Yes, that is the kind of work I do. SA: So since you come you haven't done any other kind of work? NA: No. Either gardener or watchman. SA: So. NA: Gardening, OK. I worked for Parks and Gardens here. So I stayed on here, I worked there about seven years. SA: In Accra? NA: Thing, this Legon Parks and Gardens here. SA: Oo NA: This Legon Parks and Gardens here, I worked there for seven years and they sent me to Sarbah Hall. OK, and I did cleaning. I didn't like this work. They sent me to Annex C. Annex C is for women, girls. So considering my age, to follow and be washing for girls, it isn't good. So I left there. SA: Oh. NA: Yes SA: What work did you do before coming to Legon? NA: I did the same work for University of Cape Coast gardens. I worked in the garden there until they did redeployment, and they were sacking the people there and they sacked me. SA: Owoo. NA:. Yes, and now I came back here.. SA: Did you work there a long time? NA: Oh I worked there a long time. [line 200] SA: About how many years? NA: I worked there a long time. They even gave me a certificate, they gave me a paper like gardening, I know garden work very well, so if I take it anywhere they will take me on. So I have that paper. SA: But you didn't... How many years did you work there? NA: I worked at Cape Coast? SA: Yes NA: I think I worked about 31 or 2 years. SA: Then you stayed there a long time. And do you understand the CC language too? NA: Oh I understand Fante SA: You understand Fante? NA: Yes I understand Fante. SA: Naa, I see that as you wear the cap, you are a Muslim, we know even that you pray. How did you become a Muslim? NA: Islam, well, I went to [learn to] read [Arabic]. When I grew up as a child, because if one grows and and your heart desires something, you must do it. As I grew up, I wanted to pray very much. God allows us every one to pray as a Muslim. All humanity in the world, s/he is a Muslim. But we come and choose the kind of thing we want to do. God doesn't give us that. Because if a woman gives birth the water that goes first, the water is Muslim water [comparing birth waters to ablution before prayer] and thus he says like, do God's thing, you remember him and return to his heaven. When we come we take and do what we want and leave God's way. So when I came I prayed. I too when I had my children they all prayed. Some go to church, some too go to pray. Because when you have a child you don't own its fate. He wants something and goes to choose it, don't disturb him/her. Let him/her be with it. So my girls follow the church, but the boys, they all follow my kind of praying. SA: And did you start praying at home in Bolga or when you came here? NA: I began praying in Bolga, yes. I went and learned (Arabic) there. Yes, started praying there and now have come here. Even at my father's house if they consult a soothsayer and come back and say this god wants a goat or sheep, I give them money, you go to buy it, you do your thing but (I) just have nothing to do with it. So at home I was praying. One of my junior uncles who became mad came. He was in Takoradi. When he got here, he arrived and said that I should pray also, I should beg God that he be healed. Prayer, it is what? like we do beg God, I prayed to my fathers and my ancestors. I said OK I don't want day to break and the neighbours hear that my father, Awine's father who is mad is staying in the house. If God accepts my prayer he should let day break and everything that disturbs him becomes calm. I begged and prayed and did the Adua completely. He sat somewhere in the yard, got up and told his wife to give him water so he would bathe. And what happened was, they gave him water and he bathed. Next day they said that they went to consult a soothsayer, they said that he had made a pledge to someone else's god to get a wife. He got a wife and had children, [but] he didn't redeem his pledge, so that is why the god came after him. [they] Showed what we should do, and he stayed home and they performed everything. Now he has built a house and lives in it back there [in Bolga]. SA: And now he is healed? NA: He is healed. SA: You can say you see benefit in praying the Muslim way? NA: Yes, Muslim prayer is God's way that I follow. God accepts what I say. If I say something he accepts it. Anything I say, right away. SA: What, for instance. You mentioned this case of madness, anything else? NA: Oh there are various matters concerning myself that I begged Him about and he did it for me. Yes. SA: But I forgot to ask, I want to know, are your wives also Frafra or are they of a different tribe? NA: They are Frafras. One is from Yorigo, the other is of the Nabdam people, both of them. SA: And among the two of them how many are the children? NA: One of them has children, she and I have ten. [line 300] SA: The elder or the younger? NA: The elder, that she and I had eight and three died but five are alive, two girls and three boys. But the younger one, she has one boy. But she already had children with someone else, two, two boys, and came and married me. So she and I we have one boy. And I named him Ibrahim, but in our Farefare style we call him Awinbiire. Since I am called Awine I named him Awinbiire. SA: So her only child is one boy? NA: Her only child is a boy. She and I have only one boy. SA: She hasn't given birth again? NA: She had children. She had children but they are not mine and hers. SA: Did she have others after she came to you? NA: She hasn't given birth. SA: She has only one. Have you not been married to her long? NA: It is long, but you know how women are, at times they decide that they don't want to do something. So unless they take medicine. Yes, that is why, otherwise she would have been pregnant again. But she doesn't want to get pregnant. SA: And what work do your wives do? NA: My wives, my younger wife, she weaves those head things [additions] that they wear. She weaves them and they take and sell them to people. But my elder wife, she is in a certain church that they call Awayo Church. She works at Awayo Church. She looks into things for people, like if you are ill, like the nature of your fathers or forefathers, what it is like, she will see and tell you to do this to do that and you will get a certain result. SA: She isn't a Muslim? NA: She is not a Muslim. But when she first came to me she was. But a certain Fante woman took her. She (wife) was frying doughnuts and selling when the Fante women took her, like she told the Fante woman that with selling she wasn't getting money. So the Fante woman told her to come and she would help her so she would get money. And she went and the woman gave her water to wash her face. She washed her face, OK this is how the trouble came to her. When this happened my younger brother, he is an officer, he is at Burma Camp, he went to tell the woman that she should remove her witchcraft from his wife and she told him that she didn't call his wife, it was his wife who came of her own free will. OK, she has a licence to do her work (it is legal). OK, after this she (wife) has to stay in it, now. She has to be a seer. If you come whatever is worrying you she will tell you. If you are sick what you will do so she relieves your sickness she will tell you. Because now she works as a witch doctor. She is a witch doctor. (exorcises bad spirits) SA: And you say your children all speak Frafra.. NA: They speak Frafra SA: Do they go home often? NA: Oh they go home SA: And come back? NA: and come back. SA: Do they go home frequently? NA: Yes they go home frequently SA: For example how often do they go home? NA: Oh they can go home like it's two years before they go home again. SA: If they get home, don't people see that how they speak Frafra is not like how they talk at home? They don't understand. NA: Oh if they get there, it is OK. They don't make mistakes in speaking. They just talk Frafra because, I am Frafra their mother is Frafra so we use Frafra, we don't use any different language. Hmm SA: Since you pray, don't you speak Hausa in the house? [line 400] NA: The praying we do, you can pray in your own language. This is how we pray. Yes. There is none of God's people, whoever you are, whatever language you speak, he understands it. So if you speak a language to God he accepts it. SA: Naa OK What I want to know now is, we now know this Accra chieftaincy that you call Frafra chieftaincy, what is its nature and how did it come to be as it is today? NA: The Accra chieftaincy, what it is like, originally my father Abelum-Ziire who was there, he was with (working for) MacDonald [?], a white man. OK. They took him to be like all of Accra's Frafra, Northern Territories people not Accra [Frafra] only. You are the Moshis, you are the Busansi, Zambarimas, Kusaasi, he was the one who looked after them all. So if a stranger arrives he will get down at his place. OK, if there is a case the government people look for him. So they took him that OK he was the NT people's elder, if there was a case he arranged it. Or if a stranger arrived they took him to him. It was he who did it all. And now as it came about that the peoples are much more numerous he called a meeting and told the peoples that now he wanted everyone [each group] to look for one to be their elder so if there is a case they will go to the elder. Because you are the Kusaasi elder, this one is the Moshi elder, this one is the Kanjaga elder, this one is the Busansi elder. How the tribes have reached, they should all appoint someone, that is why it is now like oh this one is chief of this, this one is chief of this, this is Kusaasi chief, this is Moshi chief, this is Kanjaga chief. This is how this chieftaincy started. He also came back to be in charge of the Frafra only. OK he was also responsible for the Frafra like if a certain Frafra died, unless we did funeral rites and [then] met to contribute a token amount each so they would take the relics back home, because there might be someone who wasn't working but died, it is also necessary for his relics to go back home. So that is why if we Frafra have a problem it is like we do a funeral, we pour drink because we will do it so that the woman and children, they take them home and the relics get home. This is why we began our Frafra chieftaincy. SA: And My-father Abeliwine, whom you said that it was he who was the first chief in Accra. First to have the Frafra people's chieftaincy. NA: Yes, he was Abelum Ziire. SA: Abelum Zi'ire? NA: Yes, Accra Abelum Ziire. It was he who was the first chief before, and he took me to be his assistant, and his younger brother was Tema chief, he was there too after me. So I followed second after him [AZ] and his younger brother followed me third. Just we three. And his younger brother died and we went and completed the Adua and he himself died, and again everything was done. And as his child Abu was abroad, I stood in so that they buried him and we did the funeral, did Adua. The Bolga Frafra elder, Tongo elder, Nangodi elder, Bongo elder, Na'a chief, Zurungo elder, I sat with them and directed that they collect money, 25,000 cedis each that we collect it and go to buy the cow and come. We killed the cow and cut up the meat and shared it among the elders, this elder collected, this elder collected, shared among them all and we did the funeral. We completed the funeral. When they made the food, the elders, I shared bowls [of food] among them too, each person his bowl. Because I am the one who assisted him, when it happened like this, naturally I stood in and saw to the work and did everything that was there [to be done], and finished it before his son now came. So when I had finished it people went behind my back to the Ga King's palace that they wanted chieftaincy. And the Ga King refused them. And when his (AZ's) son got back from abroad they [Ga King's people] called me, that the people who brought the things to the king, did I tell them to bring them? And I said no, I had no information about it. And he said OK the things, the Ga King, we can't bring them into his house. When the [late] chief was there I came to be introduced to him [Ga king] but as he [old chief] wasn't alive, so if I come wanting chieftaincy he will give. But the different one who came, he won't give him the chieftaincy. And when his son came I took him to the Ga King's house to give him the chieftaincy, Abu. Those who gave Abu chieftaincy, if there is a case at chief's house, Bolgatanga House, he will take a car to Abeka and take me that we go to hear the case. So if we heard the case the one who won the case, we will take his summons money and give it back to him. The one who lost, we take his summons money and give some to the elders, but what is left they take for the chief. So that is how we did the chieftaincy work. [line 500] SA: Excuse me, Chief, how long was he around? Do you remember how long he was around? NA: Abelum Zi'iri? SA: Yes Yes NA: Abelum Zi'iri, he was the first chief. But how many years he was around, actually I can't count how many years he was around. Yes. SA: Would it be as much as twenty years? NA: It would be more. SA: But didn't you show that you came here as a child, when you came there was no chief? NA: When I came? SA: Yes NA: He was the first chief. There was no chief. He was the first chief. Before, in all the tribes, you are all Busansi, you are all Moshi. He was the one who was their leader. It was he who was in Frafra chieftaincy. SA: And how did you get to know him? NA: I got to know him when I came. Yes. The Kusaasi and Frafra used to meet in in his house. Wasn't he the leader? When we used to go and meet in his house he noticed me. OK, when I could I took time to go to greet him. Like if 1000 cedis was in my pocket I would take it out and tell them to buy meat to make soup for him. OK, if there was money in my pocket I would take it and tell them to buy milk to give him so he would make tea. So I was going to his place and asking of his well-being. If I didn't go for one week he would send some of his small children to ask me why I hadn't come? What is keeping me? If they came and I was well I said oh, I'm fine but I haven't had the chance. OK but also if I didn't have a pesewa I didn't want to go, because as an older person he hadn't asked me to go greet him, and get up [to go] without giving him something. Because an old person, if you go and greet him and you have something and you give him something, then he prays for you. God accepts your discourse too. God works for you too. But [if] you go to sit but cannot take something to put in the old person's hands, it is not good. Thus I myself know that in my thoughts, like, if I don't have something I won't go. But if I have something I will say I 'll go ask of his health. We met at his house, therefore, he knew all of us, what every person's character was like. You have a good character, he knew it. Your character was not good, he knew that too. So that is how the work was. SA: Did he have juju for knowing this or...? NA: Yes he had medicine. He could check you to know like yes, if your work is good, he would be able to know. SA: What did he do to know? Did he have the juju to observe and know that this person, as he stands, he is a good person or what did he do to know? NA: An old person is an old person. If he sees a child and that child is a ruffian he will know that like this child is a ruffian. If he sees a child and he knows that child to be respectful he will know like this child is respectful. For an old person knows this. It was God who gave him that knowledge. SA: When you were working with him, were you working with him as his linguist [kana] or his elder? NA: My work was like as his child. SA: yes NA: Because I was his assistant and went to meetings at the Yoruba chief's house. So I was the one who went to meetings, yes, if he didn't go to a meeting I would go to the meeting. They would discuss something and I returned to tell him about it... SA: Yoruba chief is chief of where? NA: The Yoruba chief, he is a Lagosian who lives in [this land] town. SA: They have a chief too? NA: Yes they have their chief also. It is our chief who is president but Muslim Council.... SA: What is the Muslim Council? NA: The Muslim Council is like those who pray. Yes. [line 600] SA: Oh OK NA: Yes, the president of those of us who pray. President of the Muslim Council is their paramount chief. He is paramount chief. So the one who is paramount chief, so as he wasn't present I was the one who installed the Gonja chief [as president of the Muslim Council]. Right, the Gonja chief is our paramount chief. Yes, among our chiefs. SA: I asked, I want to know, Naba AZ, what part of Frafra land was he from? NA: He was from Kolego Balungo. SA: So NA: He was from Kolego Balungo. He himself said to, like, he was the Accra Frafra chief but he wasn't Kolego Balungo chief. Because the K.B. people didn't amount to four. So as their people weren't many, he had the Frafra chieftaincy. So you the one doesn't stand like you are this [small group]. (It's time..) SA: So was he also one who prayed? Was he too a Muslim? NA: He also prayed. SA: Your chieftaincy that has lasted until today, nobody has had it and not been a Muslim? NA: It happened that nobody has had it who was not a Muslim. But as for the chieftaincy, it is Frafra chieftaincy, although some pray, as you are someone who doesn't pray they can give it to you. Yes. SA: Is it your law? NA: We didn't make such a law. Because it is Frafra chieftaincy, but it is we Frafra who want to disagree about it. OK we don't want it, we just say that he is Frafra chief, he is Frafra chief. Yes, whether you pray or you don't pray you can have it. Because it is Frafra chieftaincy, it is not a Muslims' chieftaincy. SA: And the chieftaincy itself, what is its value here in Accra? NA: Yes, the value in it is that like, if you migrate somewhere and live there you are all unified. Because of this you have a leader or a representative. When something bad happens someone comes forward, he must come forward. Oh, if also something good happens, someone also comes forward, he goes. But if you don't have this, if something happens you don't know where to turn. You are disorganized. Yes, that is why we see that a person is our representative. Because as we go along thus, another can come from home, going along, and die. If there is no representative who says he will go to take him? SA: There is no one. NA: OK, but if there is a representative of course he will go to take him. OK, I can show like, one Nangodi man, he was an old soldier, and he and an Ashanti man, they worked (together). Even they came back from work to stay in a Tesano school. He called me personally to tell me, like, at this time I was Abeka subchief, he told me that if he should die I should take him to bury him. But his father was a Fulani. His father had a house in Tema too, his father died but that family stole everything and left him out. So as for him, he didn't know what to do, so he was just there, in his master's [the Ashanti man] hands. OK, if he did I should do my best and take him to bury. He was the sister's child of Lem-yaarum [a Nabdam chief] of Nangodi, but his father was a Fulani. OK, I said I understood. So we were there for some time, I don't recall the month, but he died at dawn, like about four am. he died. He had a daughter, his daughter was just a young woman like this. I was lying in my room and she came to waken me, that her father was calling me. I said why? And she said oh, he is calling me. I got up and went there. When I got there he had died, taken his hands and clasped them on his chest. When I entered, I just entered, he had died and done this and lay on his back. I said my God accept him, and I came out. When I came out I went to tell the Kusasi chief, went to tell the Kotokoli chief, told the Busanga chief, told the Zabrama chief, by day break 6 am people had gathered and sat in the front yard. We entered his room, bathed him and prepared him well. But his landlord, the soldier [Ashanti] wasn't there. He said too, if he died I should take him to bury. Okay, I just sent the people to go tell Awudome (cemetery), those literates in the office there, like my father, the chief at Abeka market, his father died and he says he is bringing him to bury. They went to tell and they said oh, it is I who am responsible for them, and I now, (line 700) who [else] should I tell? I was bringing it, and they came back and we removed it and we just took him there and buried him but it was four days before they gave me the (burial) certificate, the paper you collect when you bury a corpse. Because we are leaders there. We buried the corpse four days before they gave me the paper. His child who was there, they called her Sallah, his child Sallah also had an Asante boy friend. She had had several pregnancies and aborted them before the Asante boy took and made her pregnant. She went to abort it but lost her life. So they were looking, that was Rawlings' time, Rawlings said that if they find out who made her pregnant, then if they don't find the person responsible for her [guardian] then he [the one responsible for the pregnancy] has to bury the corpse. Hey, they were hot, they put it in the Graphic and were searching all over, and found me. OK they [boy friend and co.] went to an Ashanti man's house and the Ashanti also was a chief. And they came and asked and he said is there a northern chief in Abeka who is responsible for the child, and I said yes, I buried her father and will I say she is not my child? She is my child. Not knowing there was a case [about it] at Adabraka police station, I went to Adabraka police station to take over the case, and they also got there, the Ashantis came, and I was responsible for the child and just when I got there they ran away. Did they ever come back? I took over everything at the police station and booked my name and did everything, went to Korle Bu to give permission for them to do the post mortem and they opened her up and looked at everything and sewed her up again. I paid the money, I paid for everything. I paid those who prayed so they were there where I was. They came, lorries, money, they all came and helped me. OK, we took the girl and went to bury her and came back and did her funeral. SA: Apart from corpse cases, if a person has nothing to eat can you help him/her too? NA: Yes, another Bolga person was in Abeka, he was extremely ill, and he was in his room just crawling in blood and they came and told me. At that time I was not Paramount chief, but the elder for the Abeka people and they came and told me and I went into the room to see how the child was. They took him by lorry to Legon hospital, thing, looked for Achimota College hospital and they looked after him until he felt healthy, [and I] gave him money and he bought food to eat. Now the fellow is walking about over there. He says he will come greet but he doesn't even peep. I too I don't have time for him, I just do God's work. That's all. SA: Please, but chief now we want to know the nature, of how they chose you to be chief? NA: Ah, how they chose me, it is like yes, the old chief, I represented him. If Frafras had a meeting in a church room I was there for Abelum-Zi'ire, he sent me. OK, as I represented him he took me as his son. So everything he did, I saw and so I knew it. When he passed away and we appointed his child, again I was there at his child's place, speaking. Everything that happened, I spoke. If there was anything to do concerning Frafra I went. If anyone died I had to be there at Korle Bu. Thus I followed affairs. So as I followed affairs the old men, they are the royal elders, they knew like yes, I like the tribe. Since I like the tribe I should represent them. This is why they said that they wanted me, and took me to stand as their elder. SA: Please, but now you are chief, exactly who are your followers there at your place, that you look after them? NA: Since I became chief? SA: Yes, who do you look after and where? MA: I see everybody. Because as I am chief, OK if anybody has a problem and comes so I see what I have the power to do. SA: Everybody like how? NA: You are a Frafra, oh I look after Frafra, but while I look after Frafra, if you are an Asante and bring your problem for me to see to I could work on it. I would represent and do it for you. You are an Ewe with a problem and come I can do it. Just anybody who is a human being, is a person, if you have your trouble and come and I know that I can help you I will help you by grace of God. (line 800) SA: But as I said, you are chief of all Frafra in Accra... NA: Yes SA: Elder, now I want to know or if I say in our country, we have subchiefs, subchiefs and they follow you, as you are in Accra, who are the subchiefs thay you are responsible for? NA: Ah, as I am here in Accra? Me, I have subchiefs, I have subchiefs, like this one in Madina, I have a Madina chief, he is a subchief following me. Dome, I have a subchief and he is behind me. Yes, Achimota, I have a subchief and he is behind me. At Labadi I have a subchief and he is behind me. Yes, Nungua, I have a subchief and he is behind me, at Osu I have a subchief, yes, at Teshi I have a subchief. So the subchiefs amount to like at Nima I have a subchief, Na'a [a Nankani community] subchief. The subchiefs behind me are about eight. So me, I am their elder, their leader. So I am paramount chief, and these are my subchiefs. If one of them dies it is I who now choose a chief and say this is the one, he has the position. SA: Oh and those people, their work too, just what is it that they do in their small areas? NA: Those who are there, their work too is like, they look after the tribe, and if a problem comes involving the tribe they get up to represent. If they stand and don't succeed in it they bring it to me, because I am their elder. Yes, because I appointed them and they are like my younger brothers and follow me, they help me in the work. Because when we do it like that the tribe, we will have a good name outside. Yes. SA: And, thing, as they stand, is there a problem that they can send it to them and they can't deal with it and bring it to your place? NA: A case, such a case exists. Even if such a case gets to them unless they inform me. When death kills them at someone's place, he will give me a letter like, as he.. is dead, you come. If I don't go I will send people and they go. Yes. SA: But now I want to know, when we came and you talked, you and the Ga chief or Accra chief, you (pl.) and him, how do you get along (how is your staying [together])? NA: The Accra chief, since he is the one who owns the land, the Accras, they are those who would (line 850) come out and develop their land. But we all are responsible for the land. But the one who is the leader is the Accra chief, it is he who is in front. We are ... we came here from another place, we also arrived here, it is like we also have our leader, if something happens [here] our leader will come forward, who is, we also appoint our representative, our leader. OK as we said we do this thing, yes, some sit, beat their chest [are arrogant] and just convene in their house and create their chieftaincy. But we follow the law this way because when they give you chieftaincy, it is elders who give chieftaincy. A person shouldn't suppose that he just gets up and writes a letter to the chiefs and tells them that tomorrow I am installing a chief. Those too, they wrote a letter and took it to Abossey Okine, where our big mosque is, to all the northern chiefs that tomorrow Saturday they are installing a chief. But we sat on this chieftaincy, I think we took seven months before we did this Saturday that has just passed. We had meetings, every day a meeting, every day a meeting, for seven months before we were able to accomplish this task. SA: You (pl.) were meeting, what were you doing? NA: Were meeting asking what we would do, what person we would give it to, who would be appointed representative. It is thus we were meeting. Our elders they were sitting to decide, Oh, we want this person ["his thing"]. It would be good for us if he represents us. That is how we sat in meetings. (line 882) (4) SA: We were there the day of the chief's installation, and now we want to know from you yourself all the things involved, that were done to arrive at the day of the installation. We were there and saw, but now we want you yourself to tell us so that we know. NA: What happened was lie, yes, the elders, it was they who came and told me, like they wanted to take me to stand to be their elder. Okay, our old chief's house, the former chief, the one who died, his father [ie. his uncle] who got up wrongly didn't want the chieftaincy to leave their house. OK our elders told us this is not part of chieftaincy. The chieftaincy, it is Farefare chieftaincy, it is not an inherited chieftaincy. So he didn't have the right not to allow the chieftaincy to leave there. So when they [former chief's uncle's people] talked like this the elders didn't understand it, so they chose me. As they chose me, he [uncle] said he wouldn't allow it and went to court so they wouldn't permit us to do the thing. We said we were doing the thing in Apenkwa Park, organized people. Those who came out couldn't do it [ie. plenty of people came]. And they [uncle's people] went to see the commissioner, the police commissioner, to let the police go lie in wait there with guns so we couldn't do it. And I also went to bring the same police, and they also got there and allowed us to do it but not a dog came there [ie. the other faction and its police didn't come]. And we sat in the house to do it. But we said we would do it in public. Even those people who said they came, they were plenty [lit. it wasn't possible to do it]. This Dagomba chief, they said they came. Tema they came, every place. Even the Abeka MP himself, they came but at the park they didn't see us. But it was because of the confusion that we did it in the house. OK all the elders too were convinced that yes they wanted me, supported me, signed [official documents saying so] for me. As they signed, there are Frafras, those who work at Korle Bu like if there is a death they remove the corpse and bathe it, they who look after corpses, they also signed like yes, they wanted me. But the others came in there, they caused disruption, so as they were disrupting the elders didn't want them. They [elders] had never seen them at the chief's house before [ie. they were not Frafras], so they said because of this they didn't understand it. When we finished all of it, OK we all met again at the Ga Mantse's house, and he asked us more questions. He said, the others, they had lost. So as they lost they said three days from the end of this month they will settle the matter at the Nima Hotel. OK, maybe if they complete everything I will go back [to the Ga Mantse] to collect, the Ga Mantse will give me a letter, that in fact, I am their leader. SA: And ah, did that person also come to the Ga Mantse's house with you? NA: He came too. SA: thing... NA: The one who brought the confusion came. SA: He came there? NA: He came there, and the Ga Mantse asked him, how many chiefs are involved? And we told him that there is one chieftaincy. And he said OK, as the chieftaincy is one, how is it that we have two? And Asuma got up and claimed he is chief, and the elders also made me to be chief. (line 950) OK, if they go somewhere and one seat [for a chief] is given, who says he sits on the seat? Which is, the elders responded that in truth, when they [elders] met and had meetings, this one [uncle] who sits and appointed himself to the chieftaincy, he was in the meeting, we were meeting and he wanted to cause confusion and left, but he said we should take the meeting out of his house. And we also removed the meeting from there. And he went to get the Zorkor man and came and said he is the chief and the Zorkor man was following him. [He] got the Gonja chief to come and install him as chief and the Gonja chief came and installed him. The Gonja too is is not a Frafra, he is of a different people. How can you tell the Gonja chief to come and install you as chief? So there, as he did the chieftaincy, the Gonja naba installed him, the Frafra were annoyed, they didn't accept that when we have big Frafra people, well-off people, who are educated, like powerful people, these people got up to do this, it upset them. They said they couldn't understand it. So when he saw, OK, their case, they have lost, they already lost but still followed pleading and they pleaded with us also, we also didn't understand their pleading. Because they did not work according to the rule. They did it as if they had power. We did it according to rule. This is what happened. SA: Please please I am just following up here to know these kinds of cases, are chieftaincy disputes common in Accra? NA: Yes there are chieftaincy disputes. Because if it happens thus, the truth is there, and lies are there. Because the truth, the elders, it is they who established chieftaincy. You see. Someone also is there and just gets up and says he has money, OK as he has money he goes to report to the Ga Mantse, and the GM's people do something for them [those with money]. OK, the Ga Mantse also wants food, he is the chief of the Gas, if [the money people] take food to give him he collects it. If you get there and say what, ah, you have come, oh he gives something to you. But if you someone knows that it is not the truth, you can't agree to it, unless you stand by your truth. OK those who got up thus, Asuma who got up, it was Ibrahim's money that they were giving out. SA: Asuma, that is who you were disputing the chieftaincy with? NA: Yes Asuma, the chief who died, he [deceased] was his [Asuma's] father. Yes, he just got up, his sister's child (1000) came and gave him money, and he got up to go to that place and give money, run to that place and give money, run to that and give money. The letter head, yes... SA: Who all did he give money to? NA: He went, he gave to the Police Commissioner so that they wouldn't allow us, because the land owner, the Ga Mantse called us that like, we come Monday. He said, as we came Monday, as we would do the thing Saturday, he went to give the police money, like we shouldn't do the thing. If we didn't do it and we went on Monday, they would say that as they already installed their chief we shouldn't install another. So the Frafras saw that it was useless power that they were using to install [their chief]. OK, they [the rival chief's people] did the installation, and again he went to the Ga Mantse's house, he went to see the Ga Mantse's people but the Ga Mantse himself didn't know of it. He [rival] collected a letterhead and did the letter and brought it to us, that it was the Ga Mantse who gave him the letter like he is the chief, and we went into it and asked and they [Ga Mantse's people] said they never gave them a letter. The letter, they stole it also the letter head, and they stole it and did it and brought it, and I followed up to see everything and expose them completely. Yes, so everything, if you do it, unless you are careful and look into the matter and discern the truth about it, know the lies involved. We also unravelled all their lies. Yes, no the one who followed him [rival], Ibrahim, it was they who went to collect land, Frafra people's land at Amasaman. Now he is selling the land and struggling with us over it, because he is selling the land and taking the money and giving it to people so they don't allow us to do this thing, they don't allow us to do that thing. And it is we are the ones, Naba Abelum-Zi'iri who was buried, it was we who started the land negotiation, even when he died I and his child Abu, we went to see Amanfrom and sat with the elders, the land owners and talked and they gave us a letter, gave us people, it went to the Amasaman chief to give him the land. And Ibrahim went to stay there so that he would look after the land, but he is selling it, now he is selling land, again he.. SA: Ibrahim is chief Abelum-Zi'iri's...? NA: He is a Zorkor man, that Asuma took on as his supporter. SA: Oh, and is he, is the Zorkor man also the Zorkor chief? NA: He is not a chief, he ...he just calls himself a professor ["self-styled know-all"] (line 1050) he is nothing, yes, so he is at the [KN] Circle selling his medicine. SA: Oh NA: And now Asuma took him to be his supporter. Ah, if there is a chief there is also a linguist. OK, he took him to be his linguist. He who was looking after the land, and now his is just selling the land now he is talking to us elders. This is why the thing is irritating to us. It was we who did the work for the thing to turn out. SA: So the subchiefs didn't agree to that? NA: Yes, all the subchiefs they support me. Because it is I and they who sat to do the chief's funeral. The old chief, it was I and they who did the funeral, his son, I and they who did the funeral. All the subchiefs support me. SA: So he who did all this, didn't any chief support him apart from the Gonja chief? NA: Nobody at all, supported him but only the Gonja chief. SA: So do you think that the Gonja chief, he gave him something too? NA: He gave him too. He also ate. If you don't eat, you won't lead a person to say what you want, because when we signed at the police station, those who went, he [Asuma, rival] brought him [Gonja chief] along, he and his elders. They called each other also to... police station, and they went and the elders, Tesano Regional Commissioner, he asked Malam Asuma, you are a cripple, a cripple isn't made a chief, what qualifies you for chieftaincy? He couldn't answer. Again he asked him, the child who died is your son [elder]. They don't get chieftaincy from a son. As they don't inherit chieftaincy from a son, why have you come to stand for the chieftaincy? He couldn't give an answer. And again he asked [end of side A] [side B starts] you don't have a wife, why do you want chieftaincy? He couldn't give answer. And again he said that the elders, royal elders, it was they who established chieftaincy. Since Abelum-Zi'iri was there there are five: we have Zuarungu elder, have Bolga elder, have Nangodi elder, have Tongo elder, have Bongo elder plus the Naa chief, they will sign the document saying you are the chief. They haven't signed the document. What sort of chieftaincy is your chieftaincy? And they asked the Gonja chief, are you a Frafra? And no. How do you get to be installing the Frafra chief? Then he got annoyed, and they were hooting him. And they shouted Huu! at him. When they went huu! he just got up and right there went straight to the police station to say that the chieftaincy installation we say we do on Saturday, they shouldn't allow us to do it. You see. It was because of their anger that they went to give money. Also his child, Agenkoba, now they [his people] also went to give them money and the police also said we shouldn't do it. The Tesano police, they gave a document and came and gave it to me in the house. When they arrived I explained the matter, how it is, and the police also said oh alright, they came because it was their duty but with everything, the one who is in the right, he must prove his case. OK, so the Frafras also just heard like the Gonja chief who is leading Asuma, they just got up to confront, like they don't understand it, he is not a Frafra, he is a Gonja. And now if Asuma allies himself to him [Gonja chief] and now he goes ahead and leads Asuma, Asuma who said he was chief, at first he said he was the Muslim chief. Later he came like this and told us it was he who had the whole Frafra chieftaincy and gave us the letter. So we saw through his case, there was no truth in it, there was no truth there, his entire case is underhand. So we said, OK, to this we don't agree. If there were truth in it, but there was no truth. SA: Did the Gonja chief ever install the Frafra chief? NA: Never SA: (line 1130) When you did the Frafra chieftaincy, did you invite him or you didn't invite him? NA: If we install a chief, we have a day to do the celebration. At the celebration all the chiefs will come to the Park and they will put up chairs. All the chiefs will come and whatever is their due you will give them. What their share is, is like if they come you have, you take time and you get a paper and ask for each, is this the Gonja chief? and you note it, is this the Yoruba chief? and you write it, is this the Wangara chief? and you note it, is this the Zabrama chief? and you write it, Kanjaga chief? and you write it. You will write the names of all the chiefs, now put ¢10,000 each in an envelope and then give to all of them because they do it like, this is the one who is the leader of those. This is how we do it. OK you give to each of them. You see. So he didn't have the right to install a Frafra chief. It is the Frafra elders who install a Frafra chief. SA: Please, now I want to know exactly how it is. We were there the installation day, but now we want you to show us this, how you did it. Everything you did to install the chief. We saw them take a cloth and put it on you and do various things. NA: Yes SA: But as you yourself were there, perhaps there were some things there that we did not see well, you can still tell everything and we see it. Things to do with the installation. NA: Yes, the installation, like they say they are installing you as chief, okay if the elders are already sitting on the case and they say that they want you and they select you, they will buy a white cloth. So when they buy the white cloth, they will tear the white cloth, they can buy like a half piece, half a piece of cloth, and they tear it up. After they tear it up, you will be about four people. You the one who is chief, ah- will take an imam, that is Frafra imam. But OK, when we did this we took the Busansi imam because... SA: So you didn't have the Frafra Imam? NA: We have a Frafra imam, but the Frafra imam was the one who caused all this confusion that came. See the Frafra imam... SA: His name? NA: They call him Adamu, Malam Adamu. OK it was he who brought all the confusion. He was, thing, the Zorkor man, he was bribing him [the malam], went and bought a kiosk for him. OK He said that they should give the chieftaincy to the Zorkor man. That is what he said. (1184) Also he is by no means an elder. [beginning 5th quire] It is not he who can tell elders what he wants of them. When he applied to be imam, it was I who appointed and Abu, Abu Musa, it was we who appointed him imam, because it was he and a Yelewoongo man who stood. I was the one who told Abu Musa that he [Adamu] is a Talenga so he is our man. But the Yelewoongo, they are French. So it does not do that we appoint him [Yelewoongo] to the (Muslim) chieftaincy. And Abu said yes, I am his father. So what I say he accepts it. It was I who was at his [Abu's] father's place when his father died, and when he [Abu] arrived, and if I instructed something of course he followed it. When he arrived the Wangara chief told him that he saw me as at least I am everything to him. So he also followed me. So I said what we would do. We appointed him imam, we installed him as imam. After he was installed as imam, how he performed as imam, he was greedy. And I didn't want a greedy person. That greed, we told him that like, anywhere we went he wanted to eat his fill. That behaviour was not good, we didn't want it. We wanted there to be truthfulness/honour. OK he also didn't do his work in truthfulness/honourably. So he said that yes, that the chieftaincy, I am illiterate, so they would give it to a literate person. Even if they took a young person just so high, but was literate, they would give it to him. At this the elders said... and I didn't have a house, I also didn't have money. This, the elders said it didn't matter, they are not looking for a rich person, they are not looking for a house owner, they are looking for someone who has ideas, they are looking for someone who is there as chief to do the work of chieftaincy, knows the work and can do it, but they are not looking for someone who has a house, they are not looking for someone who has a house. So that one, they don't understand it. OK he too did not agree, but just responded bitterly. OK he and the elders confronted each other, which made the thing all disorderly and that is how it happened. (1226) SA: So that is why you had the Kusaasi imam come to do this. NA: Yes, he came and did it. SA: So, you are saying that you the chief had to sit, the elders too sat, we saw that, and the imam, how did you use the white cloth? NA: The imam, when he took the white cloth, he begged God like as it is he [imam] who installs you, God give you health, may he give you health, and he give you sleep, and give you ideas; someone that you will look after the tribe, be able to represent it, and when a case comes, that you confront and represent and do it. He will beg God before he can tie it on you so that you are their representative. Your next-in-command, he ties it on him. And the one after him, he ties him. If you are not there, it is this one who is there. If you are not there, it is this one who is there, and if this one is not there, that one will be there. It is step by step, Yes, so they tied. (line 1248) SA: We also saw that you wore a head cap. Did you remove the headcap before they tied on the white cloth or... NA: They tied it on with it. SA: They tied it on with the headcap? NA: Yes, they tied it on with the headcap. SA: Oh NA: I was wearing the headcap, they just tied it on completely covering the cap. They didn't remove the cap. Yes. SA: So if the cloth strips are all tied what else happens? NA Now if the tying of the cloth is finished. Okay if the Adua is finished then they carry you on their shoulders. Now you are their representative, if they carry you. So when they finished tying the cloth they carried me. Now that the drummers, those who drum, they drummed and now they went around with me, showing I am their chief. (line 1273) SA: And, we saw women there. What is their role? NA: They also work, they ululate and pour powder for you, that you are truthful. Only if you are truthful do they pour powder for you. SA: So what is it that the powder shows? NA: The powder shows that yes you are an honourable [truthful] person. Yes you are God's person, so you are honourable. Yes, if a person is honourable they do the powder for him. Yes, it is happiness. (1287) SA: But, the smock that they put on you, is it a chieftaincy regalia or? NA: That is a chieftaincy smock. SA: That is a chieftaincy smock? NA: That is a chieftaincy smock that they put on me. They install you to be chief so they have to put the chieftaincy smock on you, it is the chieftaincy smock that they put on you. Yes. SA: And do you buy it or a different person? NA: It was I who bought it. SA: You bought the smock? NA: I bought the smock. SA: Did you just buy any smock or you selected it? NA: Oh we have things that are chieftaincy regalia and have smock that is just a smock that you wear. So we have to look for the smock that is the chieftaincy type of smock, you buy it and they put it on you. You yourself, you know that chieftaincy here (in the south), it is their chiefs who buy. But in our tribe of course you yourself buy the things that they will use. Now you buy but if the elders meet and decide that they can help you, they help you with it. SA: And does the smock have a name, or how some Frafra country smocks have names? NA: Yes, it has a name but ah we have a smock that they call Ayenaba, have a smock that they call "helps the imam", have a smock ... there are many names. SA: So what is the name of the one you bought? NA: The one I bought, its name, I think the name.. I forget what its name is. Yes, every smock has a name that they call it. SA: But I didn't see the fez also. Do you not have it in your chieftaincy or... NA: The fez was there. SA: The fez was there? NA: I had a fez. SA: You had a fez? NA: Yes but I wasn't wearing the fez. SA: Oh. NA: Because they told me that the fez, if I didn't wear it it didn't matter. But if (we) go somewhere, I can wear the fez. If there is a funeral if we go I must wear the fez. SA: So what are the major chieftaincy regalia? NA: The chieftaincy regalia are: fez, white cloth, and smock. Yes. SA: Didn't you have footwear also? NA: And footwear. SA: And footwear? NA: White footwear. SA: Oh, that is why you were wearing the white footwear? NA: Yes. SA: Oh. (1357) NA: Those are the chieftaincy regalia. Yes. But if you say you ride horses, you also have footwear, they are leather footwear [boots] that you wear to ride. Every chieftaincy has things. Yes. It is like, this is the chieftaincy regalia. OK. SA: As you told about the prayers that the malam did, were there any other rituals? Or I know that they can pour water [do the Frafra traditional sacrifice], did you have that too? NA: Yes, the Adua they do, and if there are certain rituals, those are in the hands of the Ga Mantse. Because we do, ah, that is what we do in our own tribe. But it is the Ga Mantse who is responsible for the earth shrine (here), I buy the ram and take two bottles of schnapps and add money ¢500,000 and give it to the Ga Mantse. And now he will take the sheep and sacrifice to the shrine, that this tribe [Frafra], they take this one to represent them. So thus, he [Ga Mantse] looks for the person [chief], he looks for him. If anything happens then they see him. SA: And if he kills the sheep, how does he do it? NA: If he kills the sheep, he kills it and it is those who are their elders, it is they who eat. You have already given them the things, you are not among them any more. Now they do their rituals. You don't go in there again. SA: Therefore he doesn't remove the skin from the sheep and give it to you, for you to take it home as your chieftaincy skin? NA: No no he doesn't give you anything. SA: So you don't have a skin that is your chieftaincy skin? NA: We don't have anything. If you just give him his things, it is finished. Now what he does with his things, it doesn't concern you any more. But the things are... you have to go give them to him. Yes, the ram, and two bottles of schnapps, and money in addition, you take to him. Yes. SA: So if you take them to give him and now you come back home, do you meet to do the sacrifice [water pouring]? NA: No no it is he who sacrifices to his shrine, you are not there. Yes. SA: So you don't pour water? NA: No no you cannot go to sacrifice, you cannot pray to shrines. He is the one who will pray at the shrines. Yes, that this tribe, this is who their person is, like it is he who is their elder. OK these are his things that they [Ga Mantse's people] are giving the shrine. (1419) SA: So please now I want to know, how you do this chieftaincy here, if you compare the chieftaincy back home, is it similar? or is it different? NA: Chieftaincy here and chieftaincy of our country, it is not the same but of course chieftaincy here is paramount chieftaincy, it is a bigger chieftaincy than chieftaincy at home [includes Bongo, Tongo etc. communities] but the chieftaincy back home, it has more root [has more resources?] than chieftaincy here. Because chieftaincy back home, when they give you any chieftaincy, then shea nut trees, you own shea nut trees and pick them. They can give you chieftaincy and dawadawa trees, you own the dawadawa trees and harvest them. But here there is nothing you would be able to take. Yes, in our tribe we don't have it but it exists because the Yoruba chief, they pay him a wage, it is the tribe that pays him a wage. He doesn't work at all, he sits in the house and every month they bring sugar, they bring Milo, they bring tea to give him, a salary they bring to give him. But if a Lagos person is arrested and sent to the police station, he [chief] will get there and sign the book. If a Lagos person dies, it is he who will arrive and arrange that they do Adua, he who will arrange that they bury him. This is what his work is and he just does it. He doesn't have a job. Every day he is in the house. Anything that happens that is trouble for the tribe, they go to him and he deals with it. But our tribe as it is they don't have that. (1449) SA: So you here and those at home, you don't have much to do with them, or you here say you are here in Accra, you don't have anything doing with the Bolga chief? There isn't anything? NA: You don't have anything to take? SA: But if you get to Bolga are you still a chief? Do you know or you don't know? NA: If you go, you must still be the Accra Frafra chief. SA: Do you also go to the Bolga chief's house? NA: You can go to greet him. If you get there you can go to greet the imam, you can greet him, the Bolga Secretary you can greet him. Yes. SA: But... NA: Because if something happens here they come, and if there is something there and they send us a letter, we go. SA: They do that? We want to know about it. NA: Yes they do it. If there is something. They said they were for me, I gave the Bolga chief a letter, gave the Bolga Secretary a letter, gave the Bolga imam a letter, gave my own younger brother there a letter. So they had information. My posters were all over Bolga. Like yes, they supported me and were behind me. Yes, and the one the elders chose, they said, he, they also wanted (me) and told him that. Yes. SA: Oh, they knew about your casse here? The Bolga people knew of your case here? NA: Yes, information came from Bolga that yes they wanted me. (1488) SA: But please, do you have a person who supports you or as they say at home, the chief's house has a linguist, do you have a linguist also? NA: Yes I have people who follow me. I have ah, the chief who died, his uncle whom they call Mbila, it is he who is my linguist supporting me. Again I have the Na'a chief, he is also supporting me. So if a case comes, first they have to see Mbila, and see the Na'a chief. SA: So, are you handling cases in Accra? NA: Yes we handle cases. SA: Do you have one place that they call the chief's porch where you sit and discuss? NA: Yes we handle cases. SA: What kinds of cases? NA: Like, if someone takes his neighbour's wife they will bring it to us. If there is a fight they will bring it to us. Every case that comes that is a bad case of course they bring it. Since you are the chief you will struggle with the case and fail before you hand over to the police. But if they don't bring the case and take it to the police station, you have the right to arrest them because you are responsible for them. SA: If a person comes can you punish him? If a person comes to do the case at your house? NA: If a person comes, if you say he took a person's thing, or he spoiled someone's thing then we punish him for it, we are punishing/fining him. If we punish him and he doesn't pay, of course we take him to the police. We let them arrest him, lock him up. Yes. SA: Please, I thank you very much for this, but now I want to know, all those who just come and stay in Accra, Frafras, hanging around, as you represent the chieftaincy, what is your relationship with them? NA: Ah, all those who come and hang about, they are your people. SA: Any person who is idling around in Accra? NA: They are your people. Anyone there is your concern. Because if he dies it is your concern. They say that the tribe, the tribe, the tribe that you are fighting. Yes, if he dies you must go to take [the body]. Wherever he is, you have to go for it. SA: So if he is here but doesn't come to greet you, to know that you are chief. If he then dies do you go to get it? NA: Yes, you have to get it. That is the rule. You say you protect the tribe's image. So you don't let them see the tribe's disgrace. (1550) SA: But yes, you know that in Accra, they have an association here that they call BONABOTO [BOlga-NAbdam-BOngo-TOngo). Have you ever heard of it? NA: BONABOTO, they have meetings. They have an association. They associate together. Yes, they help each other. Yes. SA: And this chieftaincy of yours, and them, what is your relationship? NA: Oh they are like a society but we are like the one that is responsible for every one of them. They are all there under us thus. Because we are the chief of the Accra Frafra. So they are under us, yes. SA: When you were doing your chieftaincy did you tell them? NA: When we were doing the chieftaincy? SA: Yes. NA: We told them. We gave them a letter. Even one of their elders, his wife died, Charles Adombire, I think they will bury her Saturday. SA: Charles Adombire, they say his wife died? They said they sent you a letter also? NA: Yes, they, they, as we were sitting, I and my children were sitting, Imoro's people, they went there, they were saying that Adombiiri's wife was dead and they were going there to sit. This morning too one of my sisters she brought the letter, that they gave the women's leader a letter that Adombiiri's wife, they will bury her Saturday and I said Oh, I even organised the children so that Saturday we will go to the funeral. Yes, I got the information, yes. SA: Do you also go to their meetings? NA: We don't go, I don't go and sit in their meetings. But if there is a problem it is required that I go, aren't I their head? Yes it is necessary that I go. If there is a problem and they don't inform me, but if they inform me I must go. If I don't have anything, only this information, if you don't know you don't sniff it out, right? You don't know that there is a problem, will you be able to go? Yes, but if you just hear that this is a case, like a tribe case and they inform you, then you must be there. Maybe there is something they don't know, if they ask you you will tell (them). (1601) SA: Now I ask you, as you are here, the Muslims, those who pray and all the Frafra who are in Accra, how do you get along? NA: Yes, we are here. SA: Those who are not Muslims? NA: Those who are not Muslims. Those who pray, they think to bring confusion into the tribe. We don't want that at all. What is their confusion like? Those who don't pray, they [Muslims] don't understand them [non-Muslims], and they are drinkers. They drink akpeteshie. They eat dogs. OK we don't want that kind of talk. Those who pray, that is their life. God didn't tell you that if you pray you insult another that he doesn't pray, all of us, in God we are all good. It is God who made us. We are all good, in goodness, we are all God's people. It is he who put us all here. OK, he permits us, he permits us to work together, we should remember his words and come back. And now you come not even remembering his words, if you come and you divide, this one is that, and this one is something else, that is not what God indicated. SA: It's not separation... NA: No no. SA: But please chief, if you meet and you converse, what language do you use to carry on your conversation? Or when a person brings a case to the chief's house, do you use Hausa or the Frafra language? NA: If we sit on a case we speak Frafra, we don't use Hausa, we speak our language. SA: But if you have a meeting? NA: If we have a meeting we speak
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Courtesy of Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu
Creator: Atintono, Samuel
Dakubu, Mary Esther Kropp
Dakubu, Mary Esther Kropp
Contributing Institutions: Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu; Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana; MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online at Michigan State University
Description: The interviewee discusses his life in Accra and particularly how he came to be a Muslim, and how he became chief. He also discusses the function of the chief of an expatriate community in Accra.
Date: July 18, 2002
Location: Legon (Univeristy of Ghana campus), Accra, Ghana
Rights Management: Education use only, no other permissions given.