The Dekadje Shrine …A unique tourism site in Ada West

Dekadze ShrineWhen it comes to issues of faith, belief certainly becomes the determinant variable. Belief may be determined by various factors: the family belief system, by association, a sudden turn of events in a person’s life or as a personal choice.

Our relationship with our maker keeps growing from strength to strength since the beginning of creation and belief in God is therefore paramount. The point of divergence in divinity however, is the medium of supplication to the Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent.

Traditional African Religion has been practiced in Ghana for many, many years pre-dating the Gold Coast era, the arrival of colonialism and the introduction of Christianity. Notwithstanding this development, adherents of this earliest form of worship, still clutch tenaciously with hope, to their unorthodox faith in this current dispensation.

This ancestral way of worship has been their guiding instrument through the turbulence of life. It has served them in various ways. It is a fact of life that whatever works for you, is what you believe in.

In the words of an anonymous writer, Faith is the ability to see the invisible and believe in the incredible and that is what enables believers to receive what the masses think is impossible”

Christianity has equally come a long way and is spreading like bushfire in the harmattan season. The proof of the spread has found expression through spiritual manifestation in the proliferation of Christian worship centers country-wide. But be that as it may, shrines, stool houses and fetish groves to large extent, still abounds, drawing their fair share of faithful adherents.

There are many shrines in Ghana where people visit for various reasons. Some visit for consultations, others for educational tour, and the rest for the purposes of tourism. One of such shrines is the Dekadje Shrine at Goi, a coastal community in the Ada West District, about thirteen kilometers South-East of Sege, the district capital. It was established by the late Mississo Sebbie.

The facility served Goi and communities beyond for many years   until it was strategically relocated to Ashaiman to serve the spiritual needs of the people in the then sprawling suburban neighbourhood that was then trying hard to accommodate the deluge of   population overflow from the industrial city of Tema .

The name Mississokope resonates with spiritual and herbal prowess. People recall with longing nostalgia how the mention of the place could exact an automatic confession from anyone accused of a spiritual demeanor or crime.

In the twilight of the life of Mississo, he relocated to Goi where he kept on with his spiritual health care practice until his death. During his practice the late Mississo was grooming a successor and so it was therefore not surprising when Nene Dahorlu Sebbie II, his son, took over as High Priest of the Dekadje Shrine.

I met Nene Dahorlu Sebbie II and Amate his elder brother, at their residence in Goi recently. Nene Sebbie II to me did not look like a traditional priest.

He was slightly fair, neat and very handsome. Sporting a neat Polo T-Shirt with a pair of jeans to match and a beautiful sparkling silver chain adorning his ringed neck, he welcomed me and Mr. C.T Abayateye, my guide who is also the secretary of the Ada West Coastal Chiefs Association, to his residence.

The Dekadje Shrine, according to Nene Dahorlu, was established together with the Agbe Cult by his father, the late Mississo Sebbie in 1956.The late Mississo was a former President of the Greater Accra Regional Society of Agbe Cults.

The Agbe and Dekadje, according to Mr. Amartey Sebbie, the elder brother of the High Priest of the shrines, were spirits of war brought from Israel (the origin of the Adas) by their grandfather several years ago.

“From Isreal, he (the grandfather) moved to Ile- Ife in Nigeria, through Benin to Ghana. Wherever he settled the cult had converts and this could be seen in the proliferation of such shrines in those locations”, he stressed.

Mr. Amate said consultations are held four days in a week, from Mondays to Thursdays; however, Wednesdays are the busiest of the days. The number of clients who visit for daily consultation vary and consultations start as early as 7.30 in the morning and ends when the last client is served .In some cases, as late as 6.30 in the evening.

“Not every conceivable case is treated at the shrine. When clients visit, the High Priest first need to identify the root cause of each problem through divination and spiritual visual scanning and cases we find to be medical cases we refer to the hospitals”, he stressed

According to him, the facility was admitting persons with mental ailment but had to stop because some of the inmates exhibited violent tendencies and tried to harm people with implements such as knives or cutlasses they could lay their hands on.

Nene Dahorlu said the shrine has records- keeping section where data on both past and present clients are kept.

Apart from the usual clients, the facility receives visitations from various people such as anthropologists and tourists from several countries.

Nene Dahorlu said his main worry is the misconceptions of sections of the society on the work of traditional priests. He said spiritual health care practitioners have also contributed a lot to society. For instance they fulfill the spiritual needs of their faithful as well as other clients. He said, as with every profession there are bound to be bad nuts but quickly added that   the commissions and omissions of a few people should not be a yardstick by which to cast all traditional spiritual care givers in a negative light.

“Some of our clients come from other faith based organizations. We welcome all who wish to find out about our work because this is the only way to correct the misconceptions,” he stressed. According to him lots and lots of people have benefited from their services.

Dekadje is not just a shrine. It could serve as a good resource centre for anthropology and also a unique tourism site. Next time you are in Ada, visit the Okor Forest and the Dekadje shrine. There is so much to learn. By
Otor Plahar

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