Business in Ghana

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Dipolitics.Critical News, 16th October 2016

Posted by Business in Ghana on October 17, 2016

Sydney Casely-Hayford, thenewghanaian@gmail.com

The Krobo mark the passage of girls into womanhood by performing a series of rituals known as Dipo. Dipo rites have been practiced since the eleventh century, and their popularity has not waned despite modern intrusions into traditional Ghanaian culture. At the beginning of the Dipo ceremony, each initiate enters a ritual house, sheds her clothing, symbolic of childhood, and is dressed anew by her ritual mother.

And now the NDC government has really taken matters too far in their quest to remain relevant in Ghana politics. There is a video clip doing the rounds on social media with a young female naked in the tradition of a Dipo girl, dancing in front of a crowd in the month of October. Dipo is usually an April event and is not a solitary event showcasing a single female.

What makes this event so sour is the splash of NDC colours and paraphernalia as well as all the hangers around the young lady, displaying the party colours in the form of scarves, T shirts and any other attire they can find.

The question I asked myself? Where will this take the party and how many votes do they think will drift to the NDC party from this attempt to appeal to the voting public of Krobo culture and such an historical rite de passage?

And just so we care to understand what Dipo means, here is the result of a search on the Internet of what Dipo really stands for. One thing for sure, it is not a political tool. At best, it has been desecrated by this government; and I wonder who had the cockeyed idea to use this very important and meaningful rite as a cheap and lowlife political gimmick?

Bad enough that we have many meaningless articles branded in NDC logos and labels, do we have to also try to identify all festivals as belonging to the NDC? Please look for the video, it is a shameless demonstration of how low we can get when the stakes are piled as high as they are this year.

But I promised to tell you what Dipo represents and I do wish all NDC followers will get a chance to read this piece and ask their leaders, “whither the politics of Dipo?” DIPOLITICS?

Having said all that, the festival draws at least five thousand people each year, including those who go specifically to look for a young voluptuous bride, who can number in the hundreds.

DIPO

The morning after shaving their heads, the initiates carry their calabashes to the river to bathe. The washing ceremony is a purification rite to cleanse the body and spirit.

After their ritual bathing, the girls are fed a special meal of water-yam porridge and palm-oil sauce prepared by their mothers.

The initiates are helped by priestesses.

The girls undergo inner and outer transformation with the help of specially appointed Dipo guardians.

The climax of the Dipo initiation ceremony is called the blessing of Tekpete, referring to a legendary sacred stone, which the Krobo carried down from Krobo Mountain when the British evicted them from their place of origin in the nineteenth century.

The initiate wears pure white strips of calico around her head and chest.

Each initiate has been splashed with chalky water to ward off any evil forces that might overcome her.

The initiate maintains a contemplative silence by pressing a single leaf between her lips.

The initiate is carried by her father or other family member after sitting on the sacred stone of virginity.

Each initiate has been splashed with chalky water to ward off any evil forces that may overcome her.

Despite the influence of the Christian church in Ghana the Krobo people consider the Dipo ceremony their most sacred and beautiful ceremonial tradition.

The initiates are shaved their heads by their ritual mother.

After blessing the sacred stone of virginity: if a girl is found not to be a virgin, or, worse still, if she is discovered to be pregnant, she risks to be ostracized and will never attract a husband from their own tribe.

The initiates are now ready for their out-dooring Ceremony, during which they will be presented to the community of family, friends and potential suitors.

The Krobo are among the oldest and most famous makers of recycled glass beads in Africa. many of the beads, known as KORI, ZARGBAH, POWAH, OTANKAH or AGGREY, are made locally; others have been traded from Venice since the seventeenth century, as well as from Holland.

During the final week of Dipo instruction, the girls have studied the art of dance and music .

Dipo girls learn about the subtleties of seduction, including special techniques of cooking, denoting family wealth and social status, each type of bead an initiate wears has a name of significance.

(1) Blue beads, called KOLI, mean “something you love very much”, and are associated with affection and tenderness.

(2) Yellow beads symbolize maturity and prosperity.

The large yellow beads known as BORDOM beads are said to possess magical protective powers.

(3) White beads signify respect for the gods and ancestors when worn by priestesses. The village priest wears a Dipo-straw hat and clad in a white gown, always on mango pack.

At their outdooring Ceremony, Krobo initiates, perform the KLAMA dance, which emphasizes their graceful movements.

Tied around her neck are beads that are often passed down through a family for many generations. Men of other tribes consider Krobo women to be among the most desirable in West Africa.

The beads around their necks are of great value for the Krobo.

The Krobo girls demonstrate their dancing skills for the chief, relatives, and, most importantly, prospective suitors who gather to admire the display of feminine grace and beauty.

Once the ceremony has ended a Krobo girl is considered worthy of the rite of passage and can go forward to be married with respect.

And you want to take a culture as rich and meaningful as this and make it a political affront?

Shame on this NDC Government for stooping so low. It is totally unnecessary and most importantly it is an insult on the Krobo people.

Ghana, Aha a yε din papa. Alius atrox week advenio. Another terrible week to come!

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