A Drummer's Testament
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Chapter I-2:  The Dagbamba Way of Living in the Villages and in the Towns  <PDF file>

The attitude of modern children toward their tradition; how traditional values are taught in the villages; the character of villagers compared to town people

Paragraph outline and links
Proverbs and sayings
Dagbani word and other search terms

Contents outline and links by paragraph  <top of page>

Wisdom:  asking and showing

1.      introduction; Tolon-Naa Yakubu’s name:  one person does not hold wisdom
2.      the one who asks has more sense (wisdom: yɛm) than the one who knows
3.      importance of showing sense to others
4.      holding sense without showing it is a fault to God

Education is not knowledge of tradition

5.      educated Dagbamba and teachers do not know the tradition well; limited in their knowledge and add mistakes
6.      benefits of writing down the tradition; importance of knowing one’s tradition

Village evening discussions:  model for Alhaji Ibrahim’s talks

7.      villagers hold on to the tradition more than townspeople
8.      evening discussions in the village are the same as how Alhaji Ibrahim is talking; older people gather outside house and talk

How village children learn customs

9.      village children respect old people; how a village child sits with his father and presses his legs while the father talks
10.    how the villagers gather and the old men talk
11.    examples of the types of topics; learn about customs; Alhaji Ibrahim grew up in a village, and even older people from the town ask him questions

Village children know Dagbani better than town children

12.    villagers speak Dagbani correctly; town children who don’t know Dagbani words
13.    older people listen to town children and don’t know if they are speaking Dagbani; village children pronounce words correctly
14.    town child who did not know numbers in Dagbani; used English
15.    Kissmal and Ben might not know Dagbani words used in idioms; tafirli
16.    main lesson for village children is to respect old people; town children don’t hold to that custom; villagers have sense and respect

Training of Alhaji Ibrahim and Alhaji Mumuni

17.    Alhaji Ibrahim born and raised in a village; trained by fathers the same way their fathers were trained; taught to fear
18.    how Alhaji Mumuni trains his children and talks to them

Differences between town children and village children

19.    town children don’t sit with elders; roam and go to cinema, Simpa dancing; do not want to suffer like village children
20.    how village children do work farming and as messengers; town children are not as reliable

Comparing town life and village life

21.    comparing town life and village life; village children trained to suffer; limited food for children
22.    villages don’t spend money much; don’t dress up
23.    town person can cheat another; villagers are afraid to cheat
24.    villagers fear being taken to the chief; if village child does bad, the father will be taken to the chief
25.    Alhaji Ibrahim prefers town; maalams say towns are better; villagers have suffering and difficulties and fears, but they have sense
26.    villagers with large families are bolder, can even challenge the chief
27.    villagers don’t travel, rarely come to town; old people just go to the farm and relax under a tree
28.    village children also don’t come to town; follow fathers to farm; tend animals; village children don’t trust town people

The character of villagers

29.    villagers avoid town because they don’t want to be involved in trouble; some old people pride themselves on never going to town; difficulties of villagers to get good food
30.    villagers do not talk about their problems; keep secrets; avoid entanglements
31.    villagers don’t like to borrow money; prefer gifts
32.    villagers freedom is different from town; free from troubles
33.    villagers are happy with village life; eat the food from the farm; don’t use money; peace of mind
34.    peace of mind of the villagers; clarity; town people get farming land from villagers; good relations

Modern times have reduced differences

35.    modern times:  town people and villagers are the same; villages are absorbed into the towns; the differences Alhaji Ibrahim talked about were more in the past
36.    less fear of the chief; village chiefs more empowered
37.    town people go to villagers for help; not the same distrust as previously
38.    village children have similar life to town children; mosque, football, films
39.    the differences Alhaji Ibrahim showed are from the starting of Dagbon; villages are modernizing

Some differences remain

40.    but many villages still holding strongly to custom; village children still more knowledgeable than town children
41.    Tamale children don’t know Dagbamba customs
42.    town children should learn their customs in addition to school education; the way Alhaji Ibrahim’s generation was is no longer there

Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

If you sow a seed, it is the same seed which will grow from the ground.

If you say you are fit to be a person, it’s good you know something about your tradition. 

A child who sits near old people is also an old person.

“Oh!  I don’t even have tafirli.  There is no tafirli in my pocket.”

If someone knows what is forbidden, he has got sense.

When a fish is wet, you can bend it, but when it is dries, you cannot try to bend it or it will break. 

Key words for ASCII searches  <top of page>

Chiefs and elders
Tolon-Naa Yakubu Alhassan Tali

Musical terms

Names and people
Alhaji Adam (Alhassan) (Mangulana)
Ben (Sunkari)
Fusheni, Sheni (Alhassan)
Kissmal (Ibrahim Hussein)
(Alhaji) Mumuni

Towns and places

Cultural groups

Miscellaneous terms
Damba Festival
maalam, maalams
Praying Festival
woho  (wɔho
yem  (yɛm