Ga State Celebrates Homowo

Nii Ayi-Bontey(middle)Gbese Mantse being accompanied by elders to performing the traditional sprinlkling of kpokpoi inside the ussher fort  . Photo Victor BuxtonThe people of Ga Mashie yesterday marked their annual Homowo festival with a call for peace and unity among traditional leaders.
Homowo is an agricultural festival for the Gas.

It literally means ‘hooting at hunger’ as the aftermath of a great famine which the forebearers went through after settling in the present Ga State (Accra).

The unique feature of the festival is the sprinkling of ‘Kpokpoi’, a traditional food especially prepared for the occasion at paramount family houses and historical sites to remember the dead.

The ‘Kpokpoi’ (prepared with corn dough) alongside and the Palm Soup become the main menu of many families who mark the festival with merry-making and partying.

Prior to the festival, an age-long ban on noise-making is observed and is climaxed with Special Observation day for twins on the Friday preceding the celebration itself.

When The Ghanaian Times visited Ga Mashie on Saturday, many women were seen in open kitchens preparing the ‘kpokpoi and palm soup for the festival.

Traditional rulers, clad in red cloth, with their elders also sit in court to receive goodwill messages from all and sundry amidst throbbing of drums at the background.

Nii Ayi-Bonte II, the Gbese Mantse, initially sprinkled the ‘Kpoikpoi’, followed by the Ga Mantse as tradition demand. Followed by a retinue of elders and divisional chiefs, they headed to the Ussher Fort, a heritage site believed to be where the remains of some chiefs and elders were laid to rest to sprinkle the ‘kpokpoi’.

In the absence of the usual directive from the Greater Accra Regional Security Council confining the chiefs sprinkling the ‘Kpokpoi’ within their abodes, Nii Gbese emerged from the fort to visit major family houses sprinkling the ‘kpokpoi’.

Ostensibly to reiterate the current atmosphere of peace blowing through Ga Mashie, only copious presence of police personnel were at sight to maintain law and order.

As soon as Nii Gbese arrived at his palace, it then came to the turn of Nii Adama Latse II, the Ga Mantse who also took to the streets to sprinkle ‘kpokpoi’ in major family houses and ‘Mojawe’, a significant historical site in the area.

The floodgate was then opened for the place to be set agog with sprinkling of ‘Kpokpoi’ by other chiefs amidst firing of muskets and beating of traditional drums throughout Ga Mashie.

Activities, however, remained calm at the Sempe Mantse’s Palace where there were no drumming and sprinkling of Kpokpoi due to the passing away of their Mankralo.

The residents, however, celebrated the festival by gathering at the palace to eat the ‘kpokpoi.’ Speaking to The Ghanaians Times, the chiefs emphasised the need for peace and unity in Ga Mashie and Ghana as a whole, especially after the verdict of the Supreme Court on the Presidential election petition.

Nii Latse said, in the interim, he would continue to work from public view as Ga Matse’s palace to put things right as he awaited the final crowning to throw himself into full gear of reversing good fortunes that has alluded the Ga State for some time now.

Nii Ayi-Bonte expres-sed his appreciation for the unity among the chiefs which have culminated in the establishment of a new Ga Traditional Council following the granting of paramountcy to some more states of Ga.

He said the newly-constituted council would work earnestly to meet the aspirations of people of Ga Mashie and restore hope and good tidings to the traditional authority.

Nii Ayikai II, Aka-majay Mantse, stressed the need for peace and unity and proposed a new system where all the Ga states would be granted a paramount status.

Nii Otintor, Sempe Mantse, also called for peace and unity and pledged his support as a member of the newly constituted traditional council, to work assidu-ously to promote develop-ment in the area.

Obrempong Kojo Ababio, Nleshie Alata Mantse (James Town), now raised to a paramount status, pledged to use his new position to bring development to the area.

He mentioned the development project as including of the Old James Town Harbour into a landing beach, building of at least four Senior High Schools to boost education in the area, and the introduction of skill base vocations to improve self-employment in the area.

Nii Asere Boi VII, Asere Mantse, also appealed for unity and asked politicians to avoid using the    youth to cause mayhem after the Supreme Court verdict on the Election petition.

He said he would set up an Education Trust Fund to assist brilliant but needy students in the area to attain higher education. - Lawrence Markwei       

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