The Ewe’s are very lovely people but the danger of a single story, had made them look more of evil individuals than the lovely people they are always known to be. Yes! we all have our strengths and weaknesses, our good and bad but that of the Ewes have been made to look like they are the worst kind of beings to ever exist here in Ghana. This baffles me a lot! I ask and I ask again; “are they that bad, are they not humans, are they not Ghanaians?”.
Why is it so difficult for others to accept and embrace their differences, their uniqueness, values, culture and others? Must we all be the same? If yes, then are we existing or living? It’s our individual uniqueness, that makes us special.
Ewes just like every other ethnic group, or people have their strengths as well as their weaknesses, just as every other human and groups. Ewe history have it that they practiced idol worship a lot and might still have some of these practices, but are you better than they are, yes you the Ashanti’s, the Ga’s, the Akyem, the Ada’s, the Northerners, the Southerners, the Easterners, the Westerners, … are you???
Now, a little history about the Ewe people;
The Ewes are indigenous peoples inhabiting the coasts of the republics of Ghana, Togo, and Benin in Africa. The name is also applied to their language. They traditionally have been organized in small kingdoms, with the kings chosen from among the chiefs. Descent follows the male line, and property is held in common, although individual ownership of personal possessions is permitted.
Inheritance passes to the maternal uncle, with movable property going to the paternal uncle and the children. Ewe unity is based on language and common traditions of origin: their original homeland is traced to Oyo, in western Nigeria, which was a major Yoruba kingdom. Most Ewe people are farmers, corn (maize) and yams being their staple foods. Sea fishing is a full-time occupation in some coastal areas. Spinning, weaving, pottery making, and blacksmithing, as well as trading, are all important. The basic economy is agriculture. Traditional Ewe society has featured a highly developed judicial system and complex religious beliefs. According historians, Eweland extends from the Mono River, on the western border of Benin, across Togo and into southeastern Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast and British Togoland) as far as the Volta River.
South to north, it extends from the coast into the heavily forested hills, a distance of 130 km (80 mi). The region covers about 26,000 sq km (10,000 sq mi) and is densely populated. Tradition places the origin of the Ewes on the Niger River, to the northeast of their present location. In their new location they found themselves in the path of the slave trader. Just before the coming of the British, French, and Germans in the 19th century, the Ewes were persistently attacked by the Ashanti people from the northwest. The sophisticated theology of the Ewe people is similar to those of nearby ethnic groups, such as the Fon religion. This traditional Ewe religion is called Voodoo. The word is borrowed from the Fon language, and means “spirit”. The Ewe religion holds Mawu as the creator god, who created numerous lesser deities (trɔwo) that serve as the spiritual vehicles and the powers that influence a person’s destiny. This mirrors the Mawu and Lisa (Goddess and God) theology of the Fon religion, and like them, these are remote from daily affairs of the Ewe people. The lesser deities are believed to have means to grant favors or inflict harm. In modern times many Ewe have become Christians.
Enough of the history now, back to the Ewe Quandary;
Many of us have bought into the single story of the Ewe’s. That single story of the evil side of the Ewe’s which is known or made to see the Ewes as one thing only that one thing over and over again. This is just because we have read or heard of that one story- that single story of one Ewe man, we conclude on ‘all Ewes are bad’, that is how they are. Oh! how unfair that is. Because you read about American psycho, that doesn’t mean young Americans are serial killers. Do you? Or because you read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel “Purple Hibiscus” does not imply Nigerian men are physical abusers due to the father character in that novel?
The Ewe single story of them being ruled by King Agorkoli, now depicts they are wicked people?
Now in our society when anything happens instead of finding out what happened, or find a means to resolve the issue, we first ask, “are they Ewes, or is an Ewe part” as though no other group in Ghana apart from an Ewe does wrong. except the Ewes, every other tribe is full of angels that just fell from heaven. The impact of this single story of Ewes wickedness, drunkenness and idolatry, have affected everything in our society, children in schools cannot boldly say they are Ewes, this dilemma has made them hide their identity and uniqueness. Speaking Ewe now in public has become a taboo, once you speak it whether or not you are an Ewe, all eyes around at the time sees you differently, so suspiciously, as if you are problem or trouble just arrive per their facial expressions, not forgetting their body languages. Many have missed opportunities because they are Ewes, an Akyem man might not want to employ a qualified and up to the task Ewe only because he is an Ewe.
To be in love with an Ewe is seen as an anathema in some tribes. Even in this present age, some have vowed never to marry from the Ewe tribe. Come to think of it, which tribe in Ghana have more humble and submissive women as far as marriage is, concerned. I agree there are bad nuts in every home. But comparatively, Ewe women are the most humble, caring and submissive wives any man can ever ask for. Talk of their men- though some can be domineering and stingy, they are the most caring, good and lovely husband any woman can ask for.
Surprisingly, more Akan have married more Ewes, especially Ewe ladies, but they still talk ill about them, as if they are better than what they married. My dear, stop deceiving yourself. A fool will marry a fool and a wise, a wise, so if she is not good, neither are you. Funny! Not to forget that the natural fairest people in Ghana are Ewes, natural complexion, not artificial, true beauties.
Now to my beloved Ewe people;
When will you stop all these things, when will they stop calling you names, ooh yes, the single story had destroyed your good names and values, but must you continue to allow that rule your lives and how people perceive and treat you? I ask again when, when, when???…Enough of this pull him down syndrome. Enough of this wickedness, accepting the single story and therefore living your lives as such, despite your good, kind-hearted nature that most people don’t know of, because you don’t show them. Embrace brotherly kindness, embrace each other, love and support each other, isn’t it lovely how the Bono group behave in terms of their support for each other? Check it, over 70 Ghanaians in Europe and America are Bonos. What great love and support they show themselves, watch and learn my lovely Ewe folks. Be proud of yourselves and your values, you have such great cultural heritage and personality, but don’t bring it out because of this single-story dilemma.
Remember you can never change what you accept, don’t accept this single story that has cause more harm than good. It’s time to let it go, it’s time to embrace the new and change that single story. It’s the dawning of a new day, arise and show the world a new Ewe, the one full of love, hospitality, kindness, and all that there is.
To the non-Ewes;
Yes, none is perfect, just as you aren’t, why then do you expect the Ewes to be so instead of the comparison why don’t you accept, and co-exist with the Ewe’s as uniquely one people, after all there’s just one Ghana. And no one has ever travelled beyond the shores of Ghana and asked where do you come from and the fellow says, “I am an Ewe, Akan, Ga, Fanti, Bono”, who cares! The narrative has always been like “ooh, I’m from Ghana, I’m a proud Ghanaian from West Africa”.
Ghana will be a better place if we all stop comparison, the backbiting, the pull him down, its Ghanaians that will build Ghana let’s not forget that, allowing these self-seeking politicians turn us against each other ruins us and not them. “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds”. It all starts now!!! Yes, we can.
I am Pwonderss Nana Yaa Odo, and a proud Ghanaian. Much love.
My best teacher, The Holy Spirit
Mr. Justice Ametepe
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
And you for taking out time to read, share & comment.