This Is Why Ewes Are Sometimes Called “Ayigbe”

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This was first sighted in a Twitter thread by @Carl_Enam

In Ghana, the Ewes are sometimes referred to as ‘ Ayigbe-fuɔ ’, by the Akans and ’ Ayigbe-tsɛmɛin ’ by the Ga people.

Some people find this name offensive, others don’t.

It is believed that the Ewes and the Gas migrated to their present locations around the same decade. The Ewes first settled at Nortsie in present-day Togo and began farming.

The Gas later joined them but after a few years, their population increased considerably and they decided to move to a new land they didn’t have to share. Some of Ewes moved to modern-day Ghana in the Volta Region and some of the Gas moved to Accra.

The Gas who decided to stay (in present-day Togo) were led by the Crown Prince called ‘Ayi’ and those who left were led by the King. The migrating Gas left behind some of their royal paraphernalia, gods and priests in the care of Ayi.

A few years later the King died and a delegation was sent to Ayi to come back home with the gods and priests and take his rightful place as King. By that time the Gas and Ewes had intermarried and Ayi had been made a King.

Ayi decided he didn’t want to leave his new home and sent the delegates back to the elders with the messages, “ yaa kɛɛ amɛ akɛ, ‘Ayi Gbɛ’ ”. “ yaa kɛɛ amɛ akɛ ”, means, “Go tell them…” in Ga And “ Ayi Gbɛ”, means, “Ayi refuses or says no” in Ewe.

The delegates took the message back but pronounced “Ayi Gbɛ” as “Ayigbe”. The elders were no sure of what to make of the message as they didn’t understand Ewe. A new Ga King was later installed but to this day, when the Gas celebrate their annual festival, Homowo, parts of the traditional rites have to be done in Togo.


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