10 March 2019
I will like to divide this discussion into 3 parts so that we fully appreciate the Gborlu Wulomo & Ga Mantse issue.
1. Who are Ga-Dangmes?
2. Who is the spiritual head or overlord of a people?
3. Who was Borketey Laweh, or Gborbu Wulomo I?
Ga-Dangmes are the indigenes who settled between Winneba in the west and the Volta estuary on the east along the Ghanaian coast line.
Their populations spread north and north-east up to about 100km inland. Thus they are found not only in Greater Accra but in Eastern region as well.
Made up two large groups – Ga (the west group) and Dangme (the east group), Ga-Dangme is a lingo-cultural group, whose sub-group the Dangme, have always lived as several independent towns. Gas once formed a Commonwealth (CW) of ‘’states’’ headquartered at Ayawaso.
The CW is now in tatters and Ga has gradually lost its “mojo”.
While scholarship has not fully ascertained the exact point of origin of this group of Ghanaians and the exact time of arrival in modern-day Ghana, evidence is emerging that their previous settlement was probably Benin and might have arrived in Ghana as early as the beginning of the 13th century.
Even the most adroit historian, anthropologist or chronicler could not tell the leader or leaders who brought the people to their present location. Anyone who pretends to know the original leaders(s) is a fabricator, an enemy of the truth or both.
Despite differences of opinion regarding certain aspects of this great migration of the Ga-Dangme people, there is broad consensus that, they travelled as one lingo-cultural group but never under one political formation. There has never been a Ga-Dangme kingdom.
The lingual and cultural differences we see today emanated from the Ga group’s further movement west and thereby coming under the influence of their Guan and Akan neighbours. The proto-language of Ga-Dangme would seem closer to the new influences than to the less adulterated Dangme dialect as spoken today.
Another area of consensus of experts in the field is that, there were other people–Guans in Kpeshi, Le (Larteh) and Obutu living in scattered communities along the west coast and in the Accra plains before the Gas settled among them and assimilated all except Obutu/Awutu.
Though Obutu remained linguistically distinct, it was politically assimilated. Until just before independence, Awutu was part of the Ga Traditional Council. Even after Awutu’s secession, it came to swear oath of allegiance to Nii Amugi when he was coronated in 1965
The 3rd undeniable truth shared by all experts, is that, although the exact time of westward migration of Ga is not known, towards the end of the 15th century, political centralization was started by King Ayi Kushi, leader of Ga Mashi at Ayawaso or Kplagon, which means a ‘’hill of rest’’ for a migratory people.
It represented the end of the journey for Gamei from wherever they hailed from outside Ghana through Dangme and the Accra plains. Ga (from Gaga – wandering soldier ants).
Accra is the corruption of Nkrang, the Twi word for marauding migratory ants. Both words/names describe the migratory and powerful Ga people.
Ga Mashi was then made up of two clans; Tungma (now Abola) and Asere. It would appear Tungma represented the political class and Asere, the military class. Pressure from militarized Asere, it is told, forced Ayi Kushi to abdicate.
His son, Ayite took over in early part of the 16th century, and expanded Ayawaso to add present-day Tema, Nungua, La and Obutu to Ga Mashi, to form the Commonwealth of Ga or Ga Jaku. Opoku Ware I, repeated Ayite’s feat 2 centuries later when he took over the newly created Ashanti kingdom upon the death of his uncle, King Osei Tutu.
Come back Ayawaso, come back the 1st kingdom.
Ayawaso militarily protected the new satellite states, and economically provided a base for them for trade with the interior.
It was truly a commonwealth – an arrangement for the common good. Ga Mashi became the political head of the Ga Commonwealth. Ga Mantse became the political leader of all Ga.
Stay tuned for Part 3.
Tswa omanye aba.