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Essays on Ghanaian Philosophy EA Ammah – Essay3 – More Beyond

More Beyond
They knew that there is more beyond.  Those who were inclined to dispute about things beyond human capacity were admonished to “go slowly and not to doubt” (naa bleoo kaadze wane).
Those who persisted in doubting or disputing in vain were sharply reminded of the destructiveness of doubt as “Old doubt is killing us entirely (blema wanedzee, no nonn gbeowo kworaa).”
About the incomplete knowledge of the beginning of God, our thinkers were unanimous.  As to the origin of the earth they attempt at equaling God with the earth or in the words of the Yoga system, “He stands in an eternal connection with the most refined constituent of matter and is endowed with supreme power wisdom and goodness” (Ency. Brit. Vol. 12, p.25).  But on further reflection, they affirmed that “God speaks, Earth has no lip.”  In connection with the origin of the gods they were conceived to be guardian angels, messengers and sons of God.
But the process of the creation was to all the various schools of thought an eternal enigma, a seated mystery; no human reason could grasp or piece it; all that is known is that, the universe was created by God through his Son (the word or wisdom), Awi Tete.  When, where and how man with all his scientific knowledge is ignorant and shall ever be ignorant of these.
The process is known to God alone (see Job 38, 4-6), “who enters into the course of history and communicates the knowledge of Himself in a special way to a peculiar people” (Essays Catholic and Critical, 3rd. edition, p. 123).
The second part of the sceptic hymn refers to man and his environment or way of living as a social being.  The “no one teaches” dictum involves two suppositions.  Either there was unsettled condition of things generally or there were no teachers available to transmit the accumulated knowledge to the people in their generation.
In all probability it is the former, for this was an age of critical philosophy—of doubting even the existence of God, the unshakable belief which formed the strong hold of their philosophy of life, was raised.  The apprehension and fear which gripped the teachers deepened into indifference and suspicion, knowing full well that “old doubt has killed us, and is killing us.”  In all probability there were teachers available.

But if for fear of spoiling the youth, they refused or were unwilling to transmit or impart the current knowledge or culture to the people, the question raised by some intelligent persons was how could they have lived as a society.
These intelligent persons remind us of a view of John Dewey who says that “Socrates was not far wrong in regarding this as the highest virtue,” namely, intelligence, “that flexibility of mind which readjust[s] past experience to novel stimuli and purposes (Ency. Brit. Vol. 7, p. 298).”  So the people who were not in tune with the agnostic or sceptic way of looking at things reminded the teachers of the immortality of deeds, as shown in the following recital.
Earth devours thing in excess,
We come that we may go,
Navel cord was cut and left behind.
Su Miiye no tso,
Woba ni woya,
Afo lanmo asi.
This optimistic hymn was recalled to remind the teachers that the aged or teachers who were passing away, were being buried in the bosom of mother earth with all their knowledge, and that man was a pilgrim, and that they, the teachers, were left behind to continue to impart the acquired knowledge to the people; that the individual dies but the race or mankind abides, afo lanmo asi, therefore, whether or not the ethical or moral standard had determined, it was their duty and responsibility as teachers to teach or instruct the people.
“No one teaches the origin of king” constitute[s the]  politics or political system of government for the king.  Mantse is the head or father of the state or the people.  What makes him the head or father of the land is that the will or collective duty or authority of  the people is invested in him, though he is assisted in the administration (kwemo) of the State, man or Dzakuman, by elected people from family group[s], cities, and large towns, thus making machinery or the government democratic.  We are, however, reminded that a State “is a community living under a scheme of law which is backed in the last resort by the application of force” (Ernest Baker, Foundation of Politics, Hibbert Journal).
It is interesting to note that the ethics of political form [is an] integral part of our political fabric, as the following Kple hymn indicates:
Kings hold (administer) their country;
The people are the nation,
Odai’s strangers, we are binding them,
We are beating them with [a] cane.
Mantsemei hie ameman;
Man dzi man,
Odaigboi woofimo ame,
Wooyi am eke ken.
The first line of the recital concedes supreme authority or power to the kings, that the state is for them and the second and the last verses accede sovereign will to the people.  We are reminded that:–“Thus the degree of power by a public authority depends ultimately on the amount of obedience it can command, and therefore varies in duration, scope, and intensity” (Ency. Brit. Vol. 20, p. 899).
Certainly it is distasteful to tell youths that rulers or kings who are reputed to be heads of state or constituted authority are being dragged and bound with twine by the very people who raise them.  The history of Queen Dode Akaibi and her son, King Okai Koi, typically unfolds why the thinkers put it that “no one teaches the origin of kings.”  In all probability, the terms, “no one knows” or “no one teaches” were common terms, in the sense that it is “a social product maintained and transmitted from generation to generation through the cooperation and conflict of many minds in thinking and willing” (G.  F. Stout, Mind and Matter, [1921] p. 8).
Religious Deference
No one teaches the origin of Kome touches the very centre of Ga-Adangme religion, known as Kple, all-comprehensive, the Atma of Indian thought.  As shown in previous pages, the order of precedence of our religious development is: (1) God, (2) His Son, Awi Tete, (3) and the gods, womei or guardians or watchers.  At the head of the watchers is Nai, next in rank is Kome (Sakumo).  In the practical feature of religion Kome is the most supreme, his name is associated with most of Kple hymns.  Thus “Kple is Kome and Kome Kple.”
Now that we are in the very centre of our religion, we shall deal with a very brief aspect of Ga theology.  Kome  is generally called Sakumo or Odai.  Sakumo reminds us of Shaddai, God Almighty, but critical students of the Old Testament prefer the name or term Sadu-Saku, to be high.  The name  (genetic) of Sakumo in Kple hymns is Saku.  We may here, therefore, conjecture that Sakumo means high person, Saku high and mo person; this term may be the Hebrew El Elynon, the most high God.  The significant point is that Sadu “has now been taken to mean, lord or commander.” (See Ency. Biblica, p.4419, article under Shadddai, ft. note 4).
Sadu-Saku reminds us of the appellative for Kome, Ose adu Kome.  Ose, further reminds us of Shaddau or Sheda which means sufficiency and Kome, we are told, was well equipped before he came on the earth.  Se Nyonmo dani eba.  Ose Adu Kome: you fear Kome.  Kome is certainly a corruption of Ekome one.  If the suggestion is tenable, then Ose Adu Kome, is, in origin Ose Adu Kome (Compare the Indian word, ekam, one Ga ekome): You fear one God.
This reminds us of [the] Islamic words, Osadu La ilaha, illallah which speaks of the unity of God.  Adu Kome, the one God, now designated Kome was and is the patron Angel (God or commander and Guardian of the Ga People).  No wonder that according to a current saying, “no one knows the beginning of Odai, (Moko lee Odai dzeehe).”  It is noted that the skeptic thinkers used dzeehe for God, the same term used for Odai, our text says no one teaches the origin of Kome.
To resume the subject, it may be that there was a scarcity of teachers or there were teachers, but the political and religious situation had become so complicated that the teachers were not willing to teach,  or were constrained not to impart the current culture in order not to aggravate matters or pollute the minds of the rising generation.
It is to be noted that Kome, the commander of the people, was God’s representative here on earth.  He was the king over the people.  The government was therefore theocratic.  The words of a song which shows the theocractic system are “Do not reign Dode Akaibi’s reign, I am the king of the acclesia.”
This song was repeated as a warning to King Okai Koi, when he was being enstooled.  In it the divine voice asserts its power and right over the people.
We do not know at what period of the history of the people, the theocractic government became [a] human institution.  In a hymn which envisages the political right of the people, the kings are depicted as Odai’s strangers (Odai  gboi).
Here strangers mean viceroys, or more precisely Kois; (this implies that God does not desert His people).  It is interesting to note that the first king after the “fall” of Kome was represented by Wulomo.  [The] patriarch was Koi whose appellation Afadi (self-sufficient) is associated with the Ga Stool to date.  These are facts of ecclesiastical history.
A generation arose which did not know that Kome was the King over the people in days gone by.  All that was current was that, Koi was king over the people.  It was not know that Koi was Kome’s stranger (viceroy).  To avert political upheaval and religious commotion the teachers found it better to be silent or approach the origin of Kome with negative concern.
The third line of the “no one teaches” dictum is also the last line of the whole hymn.  The hymn marks a great turning point in the sacred and secular history of the people.  The very starting point of our way or philosophy of life—the existence of God with all that is connected with it was critically raised and demonstratively answered and accepted with mutual forebearance.
Psalmist’s Song
This attitude of mind leads us to borrow the words of Islam, “It is not the unity of faith which has accomplished this welding of conflicting elements into one whole but it is the view taken by Islam (substitute Kple) of humanity (The Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, Towards Islam, p. 70).
All that stands for human existence was also discussed, namely political history: no one teaches the origin of king; ecclesiastical history: no one teaches the origin of Kome and general history: no one teaches the origin of long ago.
The hymn as a whole strikes a deep plaintive note which vividly recalls the words of the psalmist: “We see not our signs; there is no more any prophet; neither is there among us any that knowest how long” (Psalm 74.9).  All that is good and true and beautiful is, our culture is being uprooted by the axes and hammers of doubting and despair but all is not lost, as a hymn which is a reaction to the negative attitude [of]  mind more than suggests.  It reads:
It was transmitted to us,
Fathers transmitted to us.
Asi aha wo,
Ataamei si hawo.
The words of Psalm 74 vs.13-17 which speak about creation are relevant here.  Verse 18 strikes [an] optimistic chord, “Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached. O Lord, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name.”
There were two classes of teachers responsible for the transmission of the accumulated culture, the laymen and the professionals.  The former comprises members of the temple’s court and members of the dancing place, Kpeletsosisi.  These impact religious feature[s] of our culture to members of the temple’s court, with particular reference to office bearers and at the dancing place at public worship.  The latter consists of medical men and highest level theologians—herbalists—who used to train priests and priestesses, wontsemei, and a few laymen of outstanding merit, versed in our culture or traditional lore or what the Hebrews termed, Kabbalah in Ga, Kabla.  They banded themselves [together] as a secret society, known as Agbafoi.
In course of time the “no one teaches” dictum grew into hallowed taboo, and became[an] integral factor or behaviour of  the teachers, both lay and professional.  Anywhere one went to seek information on any subject-matter, one was greeted with atsoo (it is not taught), it is tabooed.  On the whole, therefore, there was no liberal education.
However there were some individual persons who were “liberal” or willing to impart whatever they knew to the inquirers on payment of a few pence: 2/- or 4/- designated as drink (daa) so as to “atone” for the “disobedience” or to mitigate any baneful effect of the taboo-breaking.  This indifferent or negative attitude is even today operative in our social life as a whole, as it was first enunciated by the sceptic thinkers.
But it is a great satisfying relief that the whole of the agnostic sceptic hymn had had no  part to the sense of duty or obligation of individual lay teachers and the professionals, or in the words of the Quran which guard against the baneful effect of controversy—
Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly effect of controversy
– exhortation, and have disputations with them in the best manner; surely your   Lord best knows those who go astray from His path, and He knows those who follow the right way (Chapter 1b. verse 125, quoted from Towards Islam, p. 75).
We make no apology in reproducing the following in relating what W. P. Paterson said about Scotland to (Ghana) Ga.
The course taken by the individual teachers has served, not merely as a revelation of the inner mind of their times in wrestlings with the fundamental problems of existence, but also as a many-sided discussion of the central religious doctrine which combines the maximum of speculative interest with the most far-reaching practical consequence.  There was a fitness in the choice of (Ghana) Ga as the arena of the discussion, since it had itself produced classic examples of the chief types of mind that have left their mark on theistic thought.  The extreme right was represented by (1) the first two schools of thought—archdogmatists of the succession of the Hebrew prophets, who on the ground of their religious experiences, the inner witness of their spirit, and a sense of the providential ordering of events, were as sure of God and of His eternal purposes as they were of themselves and of their reforming policy; and on the extreme left was (2) the third school of thought, arch-sceptics, as little sure of God as of the substantial existence of their own souls, the most acute and ruthless of the critics of the defences, which man has thrown up around the citadel of his religious faith to whose influence more than any other it was due, not only that Philosophy was forced to re-examine its foundations, but that the creed of many who have heard the echoes and catch-words of collisions of metaphysical speculation have shrunk to a “perhaps and perhaps not.”
The third figures 3 were the individual teachers of Chairs of logic and moral philosophy, who, in addition to their personal interest in the religious issue, had the professional duty of surveying and pronouncing on the developments of modern philosophy, and also the responsibility of aiding in the formation of academic youth.  In addition there has been a goodly audience drawn from all classes for which nothing was too deep in “Theology or Philosophy” (The Nature of Religion, 1925, pp. 3, 4; the italics are ours).
We owe a great lot to the brave and intelligent persons, among the agnostic and sceptic exponents of thought, who defended [the] theistic view of the universe as a whole, and further insisted that the knowledge about nature, man and God so far apprehended or acquired by former ages, was accumulated to be transmitted to succeeding generations.  It is at this point that special tribute should be paid to the individual lay and professional teachers of “pseudonymous authors…because they thus revealed themselves as more aware of their actual position of debtors to, and transmitters of, past wisdom” (B. F. Von Hugel, Essays and Addresses on the Philosophy of Religion, [1939] p. 21).
Philosophy (teteetenilee) is described as “the last and loftiest height in which thinking humanity  can climb is that comprehensive vision of all things.”  We are told that with all our modern knowledge “we have made but little advance upon the Greeks.”  Further, we are reminded that when we compare “what Anaximadors taught in the reign of Cyprus we will perceive with amazement that modern times have hardly gone further by a single step” (Dr. Hermann Dielo, The Evolution of Greek Philosophy, Historians’ History of the World, Vol. 4, 1926, p.xiii).
Another authority has written, metaphysics “is that of thing or substance, and this carries with it the fatal consequence that from [the] metaphysical point of view we can ascribe to spirit no superiority over nature.  They are both substances, and so far stand upon  one level.  The introduction of philosophy into theology has had such result—to take the most grevious example—that the word God has been understood as equivalent to the unity of the world substance, and a relic of the Aristotelian metaphysics has been substituted for the deeper meaning attached by Christianity to the Divine  (Some Aspects of Christian Belief, p. 127).
Where does Ghana lore come in, “in the speculation of this illimitable range?”
Ghana’s stand is the belief that, whether it is accepted as reasonable or rational or not, God is the Ultimate Ground of all things, and to reiterate or re-affirm this, the basis of Ghanaian philosophy is revelation, remembering also that, mind or reason which played nobler part in our apprehension of God and all that it means, was imparted to the head of man by the wisdom of God.  What is more illuminating is that, in our day to day philosophy of life, we are highly privileged to address the author of the Universe as Father, Ata-a Naa Nyonmo.  What a lovable conception of God.  Did not Jesus address God, “Our Father!”
We are immensely satisfied to put on record that Ghanaian thought achieved what Greek thought failed to reach or attain, “a vision, a contact, the revelation of a transcendent reality…The effort is of God”…(Henri Bergson, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, [1932] pp. 157, 158).  No serious balanced and comprehensive mind will hold divergent view that our thinkers had said all that could be said about philosophy.  We shall now see what they may have to say or tell us about ethics.
It is important to remind ourselves that the sum total contribution of the Awinic school are (1) theology worship, (2) cosmology, (3) ethics or morality, and (4) kingship.  All these four main contributors are reflected in the hymns quoted in the section or chapter dealing with the Awinic school.
What is relevant here is the invitation from the worshippers who called Awi before dancing or praying, “to come to the feast because it is ready.”
The hymn says, “Your feast is ready.”  This implies duty or obligation.  Here we see or notice three elements: conscientiousness (as conceived by Cicero’s Religare); obedience (as understood by Lactantius in Religare), and reverence (as mirrored in the word ‘look’, the root of which derived from Sanskrit (Ger. Higen).  See The Nature of Religion by W. Paterson pp.229, 230).
Kant’s definition of religion as “the recognition of all our duties as God’s commandments” gives fullest support and meaning to the Ghanaian view in so far as it has reference to God not “to secure possessions of the highest blessings,” but as duty or an obligation in other words, a “particular…gratitude…due to God for the bounties of His Providence” (Ibid. pp. 228, 231).
Coming to the human side of the questions, we observe that our thinkers handled it both from the herd’s instinct to the universal instinct, the latter which, according to some people, does not  exist and compensate it that “what consciousness of loyalty and obligation to the whole of humanity does exist today is the result of prior belief in God as the Father and Saviour of all men alike” (Cyril H. Valentine, What do we mean by God, p. 32).
A sentence in the blessing (dzoomo) of the Ga infant outdooring rite says, “May it respect the world (eyi  agbagbo dzen). This ethical principle is potentially or mentally imparted to the mind of an infant child of eight days old.  Some “scholars” suggest that “abash” is [more] meaningful than “respect,” adding that dzengbomo noun correctly means bashfulness; both have the identical meaning: “deportment due towards every superior.”
Dzen does not mean the physical world but implies the conduct of human beings: (1) towards ones direct parents, (2) [to be] respectful to the extended family; (3) [to] be humble to anyone who is your senior or superior not only in age, but also in social status; (4) to be bashful or respectful to all that is good and true and beautiful in human society as a whole.
Speaking about things superior, reminds us about this pithy saying, “your elder brother is your God (onyemi nukpa le o Nyonmo ni).”  The reference here to God makes it more elevating and sublime, both in usefulness and in the cosmic scope.
Further, speaking about society calls attention to the humane notion or the instinct of humanity implied in this great social epigram: “man’s brother is man (gbomo nyeni dzi gbomo).”  There can be no better ethical view, no discrimination of colour, race, creed or religion; this is so because Kome says both the bond or free are His (afo awo Kome, ahe awo Kome [ref. Ga 3.28]).  Islam lends the fullest Ghanaian universal equality of man as: “God, who is the Universal Father, in Whose Eye all His children are equally entitled to His blessings, makes no distinction between man and man and alone can give us the solution of the problem” (See Towards Islam p. 69).
The universal ethical obligation is very well described as “Humanity has been in all ages and amongst all nations and greatest and most sacred mystery.”  “But real blessings can belong to one and all at the same time, and the more we divide them with our fellows the more fully and securely do we possess them.  Then the real nature which is sociability can develop without obstacle, and instead of the ferocious passions which divide us, tolerance, indulgence, and love which reconcile and unite us with one another are seen to appear” (Historian’s History of the World, Vol. 6, 1927, chap. 37, p. 312).
A kple recital expressive of [the] combination of ethics and psychology is “you spoke with your ethics (owie ke odzenba);” “ it was spoken with your ethics (owie ke odzenba).”  Dzenba (literally means world entry) signifies ethics (character) or morality.  Briefly put the hymn objectifies ones moral status in society; it conveys subjective character and objective behaviour.  The precise meaning of the Ghanaian notion is expressed “the ethical law is given with nature and in nature or man himself is ‘innate’ to man and a something belonging to nature that has grown together with his existence.”  “Nature,” it is further explained, “means all that constitution in virtue of which man is a man, and is distinguished from the animal” (J. H. A. Ebrard, Apologetics: or the Scientific Vindication of Christianity, 1886, p. 12).
The nature, dzenba, which is innate in man, and distinguishes him from the animal (beast), fundamentally deals with right (dzale) and wrong (koodo), things which are permitted and not permitted in public or social life.
Plato describes morality as “the end of moral action in normal endeavor for its own sake, because it is right and not for any hope of reward here or hereafter.  For Plato this alone is the way of salvation” (See The Study of Theology, edited by Kenneth Kirk, 1939, p. 111).
Plato’s normal endeavor tallies with our concept that life is constant perpetual struggle from birth to death. “Man” it is said, “finds himself in a world given to him, which has been already existing before him, and as part of it, and that he is able to make this world the object of his cognition…makes the content his own.  Man is in the world and man receives the world into himself” (Apologetics, p. 25).
Our great thinkers perceived or experienced the contents of the external world around them and were conscious that the first “cry of a new born child was not a cry of joy, but a cry of pain, when the contact of the unaccustomed air makes it the impression of disagreeableness” (Ibid).
Our intelligent thinkers intuitively grasped the impression of uneasiness as a mark of life’s struggle with natural elements, as symbol or mark of encouragement or weapon.  They formulated the great creative strife or symbolic striking of the ground with the palm of supplication (sitswaa) to remind us that life is a struggle or heroic effort.
The ground striking supplication is a creative strife—creative, because it foreshadows or anticipates sure success or victory or peace omanye or falah, to use [the] Islamic word, meaning success or unfolding.  The shorter form of the symbolic ground striking supplication (Creative Strife) is “strife may there be peace, amen; is our voice not one, amen; strife may there be peace, amen. (Tswa omanye aba, yao; dzee wogbee kome, yao; tswa omanye aba, yao.)  In E. A. Ammah’s Infant Outdooring in Ga Society (Bi Kpodziemo) strife is used for tswa, but in “the comment on the prayers” strive is used as the appropriate term. (See p. 12.)  Omanye has no equivalent English term, though it popularly means peace; in the Ga Bible prosperity is translated as omanye (p.118 v.25)—(is it not “victory?”)
The appropriate meaning is Jesus’ concept of it, “not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14.27). Omanye for the purpose of man’s constant struggle means success or victory in any undertaking or heroic effort against the odds.  Or in the words of Professor H. S. Mackenzie, “But this need not disconcert us.  There are some forms of good—especially moral goodness—that cannot be achieved without some difficulty or opposition which in itself must be described as evil.  There could not be courage for instance without some possibility of danger, no creative achievement without previous defect” (Plato to Einstein, Hibbert Journal Vol. xxviii No. 3, p.490).
“Is our voice not one (dzee wo gbee kome)” means united heroic effort in pursuing “the living peace” which is described as a “worthy ideal,” which “something within assures us that it is an ideal the attainment of which will justify great effort” (Ibid,, No. 4, p. 609).
This united effort is reflected in a sentence of Dzoomo (La) blessing: “When his neighbors are going, he may go with them, and if returning also he may return with them (Ke enanemei miiya le, eke ame aya, ni amemii be hu, eke ame aba).
This raises and answers the question of the individual and the group.  John Davey’s view of the ‘scientific pragmation’ supports it.  An article on John Davey in the Encyclopedia Britannica Vol. 7, p. 297 says, “Further, since the individual is to live in a society, he is to be studied as a citizen (actual or potential) growing and thinking in a vast complex of interactions and relationships, not as solitary ‘self’ or ‘soul’….And his thinking is largely their thinking through him.”
But unlike John Davey, “the intrusion of the supernatural”  “filled men with the sense that behind the shows of life there existed an ultimate reality, which must hold the key to their destiny and the cue to right conduct” (Sir Richard W. Livingston, Christianity and Hellenism, Hibbert Journal Vol. xxxiii, No. 3, p. 361). Yao (amen) is said to be a corruption of hiao (i.e., ahi aha bo, may it be good for you).  This is an affirmative and encouraging response.
To sum up, the sole ethical value or aim of the ground striking (creative strife) supplication (sikpon sitswaa) is that after the “full participation in the great struggle and game and fight for life” (Hibbert Journal, Vol. xxx, No. 4) success, victory or peace should be the good result.  Aristotle is claimed to have defined “good” as “that at which all things aim.”  The highest good or ultimate end of human conduct in our view is utilitarianism, the happiness of the community.
We have other sayings which amount to utilitarianism, namely, the greatest happiness for the greatest [number of] people: “Many people’s cooking-pot (i.e., food) is for many people. ( Meipii akukwei le, meipii anoni.)”  This has a social value or usefulness.  (NOTE—useful means good for any end.)
To refer to John Davey again: “philosophy is a function of social evolution, and that theory is ‘true’ which corresponds most effectively to the need of society at a given moment” (Christianity and the Crises, edited by Dr. Percy Dearmer, p. 63).
A moral injunction is that man should not cheat any one, human or divine.  A kple hymn says, do not cheat lumo, man or king, do not cheat Kome, do not cheat Budu.  Kome and Budu are angels or gods. Kaaye lumo anim, Kaaye Kome anim, Kaaye Budu anim.  Lumo, king, refers to the state of politics.  Kome and Budu stand for religion.
Another hymn which suggests  peace of mind or moderation as the highest good is, “what you have received (or hold) in hand, hold it (noni ese (ode) mo mli).
This breathes and inspires contentment in any situation that one may find oneself.  It is a corollary to, and emphasis upon, the “do not cheat” dictum.  Briefly put, one is asked to live cheerfully, and not to worry so much about the external environment of the world.  Another hymn says, “we will take it so (woono le nakai).”  This is identical to Protagora’s dictum: “I prefer to make men good citizens.”
Another striking recital which connotes contentment or the nature of the Ga people is “we worked, we did not get; we ate, we did not get (wotsu, wonaa; woye wonaa).”   This also corroborates moderation or peace of mind as the highest good.  Yet another pregnant wise saying [is]”Palm nut kernel was available, no stone was securable (to crack it); stone was procured, no palm nut was obtainable. (Ana nme, anaa te; ana te, anaa nme.)  This [one] with the preceding maxims had in it stoic elements, that happiness is not based on material goods, but [on] a condition or [the] nature of the soul.
The essence of life is sorrow and joy, fight and victory.  The idea is goodness or success.  As a weapon or cudgel (tsokpoti) to strike at the ‘enemy’; our thinkers formulated the ground striking— creative strife—supplication (sitswaa).  These words which form part of the blessing pronounced upon the child are significant—“its back is dark, may its face be clear (esee tuu, ehie fann).”  Otherwise, man’s antecedent life is to be ignored; the present and the future count; and to be able to meet and crush the ‘enemy’ that lies in the path to victorious or successful or peaceful life, that alone is true happiness or creative life.

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The Matters Arising blog is a collection of thought-provoking, thought-leadership pieces sprinkled with some blue-sky thinking on pertinent issues affecting African communities both in the diaspora and at home. It includes articles on culture, politics, social and economic advancement, diversity and inclusion, community cohesion topics. It is also a repository of the political history of Ghana, traditions of the Gadagme people of Ghana, and the Pan-African politics of Kwame Nkrumah. Read, enjoy, like, share, and join!


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If you have an account on this site, or have left messages, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

Visitor messages may be checked through an automated spam detection service.

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