Thursday, November 30- December 6, 2006
Descending the sacred mountain
· The Yilos of Krobo land look back at 400 years of history
By: KOFOYA TETTEH
A PART of history teaches that before they settle in the Krobo Mountains about 400 years ago, the people of Krobo migrated from Sameh in Northern Nigeria.
The migration and their August 1892 eviction by the British from the mountain they still inherit, was perfectly enacted last week at Somanya, the traditional headquarters of the Yilo Krobos.
It was a moving occasion witnessed by thousands of people from all parts of the country, including some who were clad in traditional costume adorned with jewels, all converging on the town to mark the event which has become the most significant in their history, known as Kloyosiklem (descending the mountain) Festival.
This year’s week-long festival with the theme; “Shaping Our Past for Sustainable youth and Human Resource Development”, which was climaxed with a grand durbar, also saw old women and men dressesed in torn cloths with their belongings on their heads to depict the long march from Sameh and the subsequent eviction from the mountains, highlighting the difficulties encountered.
So emotional was the event that many in the large gathering, including domestic and foreign tourists were touched and remained glued to their seats motionless for some time, particularly when the very old folks appeared wit their shabby belongings.
Also in attendance at the impressive durbar were the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr. Gordon Wetherell; four District Chief Executives, Messrs Joseph Adu Tawia, David Sackitey Asare, Kwasi Osei Agyepong, Ofoe Caesar and Nana Kofi Kese, District Chief Executives respectively of Yilo Krobo, Manya Krobo, Atiwa, Fanteakwa and Kwahu West. All the District Chief Executives appeared in immaculate Kente.
By 1.30 p.m., the durbur ground was filled to capacity with scores of celebrants taking the floor to do the intricate ‘Klama’ Dance while the durbur awaited the arrival of the divisional chiefs (Asafoatsemei) and queens who came in one after the other, splendidly dressed in their palanquins and covered from the sun with giant umbrellas.
In the colourful convoy were Nene Obu Nartey, Nene Obleku, Nene Narh Okumka 1V, the cyase, Nene Lawerh and the Paramount Queen, Nana Korlekuor Adardo.
The drumming and dancing reached a creascendo with the arrival of the Overlord of Yilo Krobo, Kpetekple Narh Dautey Ologo, in a special palanquin under a two-tier umbrella followed by a large retinue, amid the firing of musketry.
He was carried round the durbar ground, after which he took his seat and released his representatives to formally greet and welcome the dignitaries who in turn did the same to him.
After the funfair, drumming and dancing and the formalities of greetings, Kpeteple Dautey Ologo addressed the gathering by recalling the difficulties the Yilo Krobos went through during the migration and eviction.
He asked the people not only to remember the event but to consider it as a period to take stock and plan for the development of the area. He used the occasion to invite both local and foreign entrepreneurs to take advantage of the vast resources available and invest in Kroboland.
Kpetekple Dautey Ologo, who expressed his appreciation to the government for providing a number of social amenities in the area, however, appealed that the Somanya township and Police Station be upgraded to an urban status and district headquarters respectively.
Mr. Wetherell, who also spoke at the function, said although there had been ups and downs in the relations between the British and the Krobos due to the eviction of the latter from the Krobo Mountains, that process had made it possible for the Krobos to now possess both the mountain and the outlying plains.
He also delved into Britain’s good relations with Ghana and its support for the overall growth and poverty reduction in the country, adding that a further milestone would be reached when president John Agyekum Kufuor Visits Britain next year.
The Deputy Eastern Regional Co-ordinating Director, Mr. V.A.Bawah, who represented the Regional Minister, Mr. Yaw Barirnah, applauded the people of Yilo Krobo for their immense contribution to agriculture in the country and for upholding their rich customs and traditions such as the Dipo puberty rite and the Klama Dance, which had been handed over to them by their ancestors.
GRAPHIC SHOWBIZ - Thurs., Nov. 30 – Dec 6, 2006 Page: 19