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THE STORY OF KPALIME DUGA AND NOTSIEpdf print preview print preview
25/06/2011Page 1 of 1


Know The Origin Of Towns

By: Kwame Ampene-founder of the Guan Historical Society

KPALIME DUGA in the south Dayi District of the Volta Region, consist of seven separate towns, namely Duga, Todome , Toh, Wegbe, Tsatei, Kaira and Hiama. The term DUGA or ADUGAME means “Big State’. Duga shares common boundary with Asuogyaman District in the Mid-Volta Basin. The inhabitants belong to the Ewe tribe –a culturally homogenous people share a common history.

Before we examine the story of Kpalime Duga, I propose to start with all the details of Ewe traditions of origin as narrated by D.A Chapman –a conscientious chronicler- whose version was published in ‘The Ewe Newsletter’ of 21st May 1945. He noted: “our forefathers looked back to Oyo (now known as old Oyo) and Ketu in Yorubaland as the principal centers from which they migrated to occupy the land we inherit today. According to Yoruba traditions old Oyo was founded by Oranyan, grandson of Ododuwa, an early ancestor of the Yoruba people. Ketu is believed to have been founded by Alaketu, a relation of Oranyan.

Our people migrated in waves, westwards from Oyo and Ketu and after many years built settlements in Tado near the R. Mano, and Notsie in French Togo. This took place probably in the 15th or 16th century of our era. The settlement of Notsie rapidly grew in area and population. The Fon moved away to the east and founded Dahomey (‘the land of snakes’)… The line of migration of the Ewe is remembered as Ketu-Tando –Notsie……………………….” (qv. Ghana National Archives, Accra ADM 39/1/339.  Case No. 341/1946).

At this juncture, let me tell the amazing and interesting stories preserved by Ewe traditional historians about the sad fate of Notsie.

One historian disclosed that at Glime(meaning ‘within the walls’ which is the same place as Notsie) they were ruled by a cruel king called Agokoli who ordered the men to make threads for him with clay in which he had placed broken bottles. Everyone was tired of Agokoli’s cruelty. One day the people gathered together under the walls of Notsie and with drumming and dancing, they pretended to be celebrating a festival.

The chief of Ho, Togbi Howusu, gave the order for the walls to be broken soon after he had hit part of the wall with a sword and all the people escaped. The sword is still kept by the chief of Ho.

Another traditional historian alleges that at Hogbe, ie Notsie, their King Agokoli , killed very old men he found in the town in order to deprive them of wise counsellors. Fortunately, a young man called Klemu, succeeded in hiding his father from whom people were thus able to consult secretly for advice. He instructed all women to wash their clothes and clean their dishes under the walls.

They obeyed till the walls became soft enough to be broken down. So on one occasion they pretended that they were celebrating a festival under the walls, and with concerted effort, they pulled down the walls and quickly escaped.

They divided themselves to several parties to go and find new homes, passing through long arduous journeys.

The first wave under Sriadza trekked southwestwards and established the Anlo state with its famous town, Keta (meaning ‘at the head of the sand’).

The Tongu moved farther west and built settlements and along the Lower Volta Basin, Tongu and Battor are identical terms meaning ‘River Dwellers’. Another group skirted the foot of the uplands to the north, penetrating the valleys and occupied parts of the hill country, throwing off colonies as they went along till they halted at Kpando and Gbi Hoboe since some Akan and Guan had already established themselves in these parts of the region. (Kpando being a derivation from Kperi-fe-do, ie” “the empty place of a man called Kperi”).

The Maste, Klo and Akovie took one direction. The Agu, Nyagbo and Awate had been immigration neigbours. The Awate, Wusu, Aveme, Tsome and Anfoe settled at Agome kpalime, thence to Kpale and Wegbe where a group of people led by Awua took the left direction and founded Awudome. The KPALIME came to settle at Vume on the mountain. However due to the cold weather, a group today called TODOME soon left to settle at Gbodome between Kpeve and their present home. The name Todome is derived from ‘Tudume’, meaning ‘the town where guns could be obtained’ because their ancestors were good fighters and had a lot of guns. While they were at Ghohome the Asante war was staged in 1869. After the war, they moved to establish their present home at Todme, 1871.

Later, another group today known as HIAMA also left Vume under their leader Asante Kokobi, and settled at Da Leme, while another group led by Adzatsu went to Nyigba (‘the land of elephants) at Da Leme. Samll –pox epidemic hit the town, so their neighbours were afraid to visit there, because “if you go there you will be lost” ( Twi : Oko a obeyera ‘ became corrupted into KAIRA). The Peki lived at Gbi Hohoe, but at the time of their departure one group delayed and became known as Opasti or Atsi me kpi, ie. “left behind” which changed  to Peki. The neighbouring Tonkor arrived from Kpando (Abanu and settled by the Amu River (Volta River), hence their name Tonkor derived from ‘To ngo’ ie. Surface of water or near the water.

The aboriginal settler at Kpalime Duga was Gyamenamponi who willingly allowed them to settle on the land. Tradition claims that Togbi Adza Yeh of Todome was the senior Head Chief of all Duga; however during a war with Akwamu, it was the Kpalime contingent which fought in the middle line, and was deeply involved in crushing the enemy so Kpalime Duga became the seat of the most Senior Chief of all Dugas seven towns to this day.

(THE EWE PIECEMEAL MIGRATION FROM NOTSIE definitely took place in the early 1720. SeeCornevin. R. ‘Journal of African Languages’ Vol 3. Pt. 3, pp 226-230. ALSO ‘Traditions from ‘The Volta Basin by E.Y Aduamah, IAS Legon, 1963 p. 2. The Tonkor Stool Clerk Kofi Asamoah Adamanka, claimed that their ancestors departed from Notsie, reaching their present home in 1723’).



                 The Spectator                        Page: 31                      Saturday, June 25, 2011

Page 1 of 11 
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