Let the world and precisely Ghanaians know that Krobos were the only known tribe practicing Girls Boarding House system before colonials started the educational Boarding Schools in Ghana.
The purpose of the young ladies being housed for well over a year was to prepare them for home management in their future marital homes and also to help them take care of themselves, their husbands in various disciplines such as cooking of various dishes, cleaning of both indoors and outdoors, how to purchase good farm produce, fish and meat, what to prepare in the morning and evening, how to store food and reused leftovers etc. They were taken through the following equally on daily basis or when the opportunity arises by seasoned MENOPAUSAL OLD LADIES___ How to take care of pregnancy and give birth at home, how to bath new born babies and take care of the umbilical cord, herbs to use to for the babies and food to stimulate breast milk for the infant child, how to treat circumcised male, how a child will not get wind or colic, how to avoid constipation in a child and treating of common ailments, how to talk to elders, in-laws and the expectations of a wife for large families etc etc etc. Example of one of the legacy of such training is our celebrated Madam Dorcia Narkie Kisseih who was commemorated on the old Cedi notes, she came from the background of traditional midwifery mother taught by the elders but as she had a formal education, she went ahead and trained professionally to be an icon of the midwifery profession in Ghana.
I am equally a recipient of such training as at age 12, I could bath a new born baby with my eyes closed. And I helped some of my friends when they had babies during my sojourn outside the country. I was a joy to watch the young ladies being taught at dawn and sometimes follow my grandma as they take the ladies to the market for shopping though by then it was only 3 months duration of the training.
Today as I write, such beautiful culture practice has been thrown to the so called uncivilized demonic garbage world just like many of our damaged treasured cultures. What is the difference between what the European rich aristocrats called DEBUTANTES and our DIPO LADIES of good memory????? The young European girls are taken to expensive ‘FINISH’ schools and taught how to handle themselves, serve the husbands to be, shopped, dance, home running etc and in their coming out a grand party is organized to showcase them to their future suitors in their exclusive society. Dipo offers same and more. If Dipo has a touch of European culture or values I bet the whole country would have latched on it. We are ready to copy the cheap commercialized foreign cultures against our own, what a shame!!!.
According to one of my older aunties who went through the grueling training for well over a year, by the time you are out of the Dipo House, there is no way you will fail as a wife, a mother or home runner. Their suitors-to-be as it was mostly an arranged and family marriages were equally prepared on how to look after the women or how to be responsible as such during the period of being kept in the Dipo homes, the men will bring foodstuffs, firewood etc for the upkeep of the ladies. The Dipo ladies are groomed and prepared beautifully after the incarceration and outdoored to the community through dressage and dancing and finally to their matrimonial homes. The outcome is what we see in their beautiful beads adorned over the sheabuttered bodies with the mermer stick designed on their arms and legs. The exposed breast and navel was used to detect pregnancy in case of any such thing.
In the olden days, those who sneaked and are caught or got pregnant are thrown out and disowned by the whole community. some of their descendants have mixed up with the neighbouring tribes. There was nothing like teenage pregnancies. YOU MUST BE A VIRGIN THROUGH AND THROUGH TO GO THROUGH DIPO. The krobo ladies became competent and well armed for marriage against some of the women from other tribes who did not have such training and could not compete. The only way is therefore to soil the names of Krobo women.
Dipo has been demonized without any alternative especially by the local Christian communities and those who did not understand the benefits to the Krobo communities, not even the Europeans could do such damage. Instead of the them looking at the benefits and values it has brought, it was totally destroyed and today babies and toddlers are performing dipo because it has to be done at all cost. The only alternative Christians offered is confirmation and baptismal in the churches. So it became Christians versus pagans culture. Our own Krobo Christians claimed it is demonic and a cursed cultural practice, echoing the rhetorics of the other tribes who did not understand the dipo idea…….it is absolutely a lie and there is no truth in it. Then the other tribes went further to say Okomfo Anokye cursed Krobos.. I don’t think my grandma of blessed memory has ever heard such a name as we would have heard it in our house or in the folklore songs and stories.
May I know which side or part of the Krobo mountain Okomfo Anokye met the krobos or resided at that time please? and I am surprised he was not beheaded by the Krobo warriors of those days and had the mouth and nerve to curse their women? Not even the Europeans survived the sharp knives of the warriors nor the rolling of the stones over the invaders. These present day missionaries and their cohorts will not research and realized that the holy places they want to visit has more vices than the Dipo culture. They are prepared to meet and dine with some of the so called spiritual leaders being open gays, pedophiles, drug addicts etc “Gays surrogating all over, G
gay rabbis, gay pastors, gay married pastors, lesbian pastors, married lesbian pastors. Please google or Youtube for knowledge purposes. No one is holier than anyone anywhere in the world. We are all thriving to have and reach our salvation through faith. Some practices are just unacceptable if it affects the human dignity and survival. Meanwhile some of these same local pastors are a law unto themselves and are not accountable to anyone including their spouses and children when it comes to collections from Sunday services, tithes, special services, building funds etc but is that not demonic enough but acceptable practices to their congregants? They will not be seen with a decorated dipo girls pictures but will be glad to have an European White Jesus in their homes and premises!!!!!! That is their choice but should leave Dipo alone.
It is sad to say because of the destruction of dipo culture some of our young women have become caught up in the untrained world of both formal education and home management. Cartons of Maggie cubes statched away in the kitchen cupboards, and difference between good luase and luer has eluded them, a good fresh fish smoked and bad one is same to their taste buds. “a man from another tribe once told me his grandfather who married a Krobo woman out of the many wives enjoyed her hands better than the rest of the women due to the training she had” and any Krobo woman who looses her husband to another woman from another tribe is not a groomed Krobo. Yes true of yesteryears.
KROBOS ARE TRULY IMPORTANT and unperturbed by the relentless insults as we continue to be treats in many homes despite the destruction of our good culture. Yes there was a glitch on our land in the 60s and 70s due to the influx of foreigners and expatriates from Europe to build the Akosombo Dam which destroyed the livelihood of the farmers and their descendants and some of our young ladies innocently and recklessly followed the expatriates to the neighbouring countries for greener pastures which was never there. Every tribe and every community goes through a challenge at certain times in history and we had our fair share but nothing to do with any ones curse. What about the many tribes who are not cursed? How many Krobos or percentage against other tribes do you see at Circle, Osu, Togo roundabout and many joints in the night or day? Let those who can confess and be very honest to themselves claim openly that their grandmothers, mothers, aunties, sisters, daughters remained virgins even after childbirth, and there is no PROMISCUITY in their homes ever? Let people remove the motes in their eyes and the dirty linen in their cupboards before these continuous condemnation of Krobos grudgingly.
We will not dignify any man or woman who deem it necessary to insult Krobos. We are interested in the progress on our land through education, well resourced schools, good health facilities, good roads, clean markets, townships and villages and training skills for our teeming youths.
Our Dipo can be turned around and resuscitated to suite the present trend due to formal education. The Jemelei and all custodians of Dipo should have a different approach that will go beyond our borders. Example no child below 12 years will perform dipo. And dipo will be perform for the young ladies for two weeks with counsellors and resource persons involved to trained them beside the old ladies in some of the following areas… personal hygiene, home management, premarital sex etc so they can continue their education. With globalistion and zeal of Christians to continue to demonise dipo, if changes are not done and immediate dipo will loose its relevant to the krobos (the umbilical cord to our roots) as most educated and Christian families are shying away from it.
The dipo yards and enviromment needs overhauling and saved from some of the the gatekeepers of the custom. Their environments are not clean espeicially the surroundings, and the children should be informed of the purpose of dipo. Dipo can bring our communities so much revenue in the performing months due to local and international tourist. Check out Reed dance in Swaziland and the Virgin test or dance on Youtube. Thousands of tourist flock there to see. ”KUSIMI GBOWE”
Our practices are unique: the intricate moving of our foot to perform the dipo Klama dance, our naming ceremony with tovi and nyoli, the beaded waist beads from babies to adults in checking the weight and shaping the body, the ”fia” in marriage as a covenant for both families, the beautiful ”Yohesedofiɛm”, our Kloyom and and many more unknown to the outside world…Let us uphold our good culture practices and redefined the bad ones with dignity and passion.
Krobos believes in peaceful coexistence with our various tribes within the country as such we will not rock the boat of any through insults directly or indirectly. Krobos will not encourage artists or anyone to insult the integrity of any tribe. It is also enshrined in our constitution to respect one another as our diversity is our strength. Above all every tribe can trace another person in their family from other tribe including Krobos. KROBO WILL SHINE – OH YES!
YOU ARE ALL WELCOME TO OUR UP COMING NGMAYEM FESTIVAL – THERE IS STRENGTH IN UNITY
NGMAYEM – OCTOBER 27 KLOYOM, 28 IS THE GRAND DURBAR.
The above article was written by Mary Ayongo Agbettor, A Proud Kloma Hengme Member, and a Passionate Krobo citizen from Kodjonya, Odumase-Krobo.