A Drummer's Testament
drummers
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Chapter I-3:  The Sense of Dagbamba and Their Living in the Olden Days  <PDF file>

The importance of knowing how one’s parents and grandparents lived; recollections of precolonial and colonial life; types of work and the sense of Dagbamba

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



Contents outline and links by paragraph  <top of page>

Knowledge of the past

1.      Alhaji Ibrahim’s age; he has seen many things he talks about from the olden days
2.      example:  when cowries were money
3.      knowledge of past also comes from asking older people
4.      example:  Alhaji Ibrahim’s father told him about hunger and how people ate taaŋkoro

Big differences from Alhaji Ibrahim’s childhood

5.      not everyone asks; those who don’t ask may doubt stories about hunger
6.      Gurunsi people traded children for food
7.      animals used to catch people; children had to be careful outside house at night

Money and the cost of living

8.      Alahji Ibrahim used cowries to buy food
9.      introduction of coins; coin names from cowries:  laɣ’pia, kobo, pihinu, etc.
10.    the amount of food one pesewa could buy
11.    the costs of things for Alhaji Ibrahim as a young man; the prices for animals

Foods and animals

12.    where people sold food on roadsides; costs of living during colonial time
13.    how Gurunsis carried chickens to Dagbon
14.    the uses of guinea fowls were in Alhaji Ibrahim’s early days
15.    the uses of goats for sacrifices to house shrines; compared to sheep
16.    the uses of sheep among Muslims
17.    how plentiful yams were
18.    how butchers slaughtered a cow and why they would give meat to children
19.    how butchers shared meat to the chief and elders

Benefits of knowing about one’s tradition

20.    many changes in Dagbon; children should know how their forefathers lived; a time will come when they will need to use traditional ways of doing things; examples:  fertilizer, grinding stone
21.    Alhaji Ibrahim’s generation was in between the white-man’s time and their forefather’s time; differences in the generations
22.    children should know about customs and about their forefathers’ lives; current generation thinks it has more sense
23.    not knowing custom leaves a child standing alone in the world
24.    the talks:  what future generations should know to call themselves Dagbamba; the talks are for those who will want them

Sense work and family lines

25.    the sense Dagbamba have learned is more than other tribes in Ghana; drumming and calling of names
26.    Dagbamba sense-work moves inside families:  drummers, blacksmiths, barbers, butchers; also weavers, leather-workers

Blacksmiths

27.    blacksmiths:  people from outside the family sometimes can learn it
28.    the work of blacksmiths; tools for farming, shaving and cutting; bracelets like baŋa and baŋgari
29.    blacksmith’s work for drummers and drum-makers:  adzes, knives, chaɣla, feeŋa, luŋ-bansi
30.    blacksmith’s work for chiefs:  weapons
31.    blacksmiths have respect from everyone because of the sense they have to make things people use

Weavers and other work

32.    weavers have sense; types of baskets and storage:  gamli, pɔŋ, kpanjɔɣu, pibirgu; puɣnai, zana mats
33.    sense of making different types of pots:  luŋli, kɔbaŋa, duɣu, yuli, kɔduɣu
34.    sense to make tandi for building blocks; putting roofs on rooms; weaving grasses onto roofs

Reflection on the work so far

35.    sequencing and pacing the talks; how Alhaji Ibrahim prepares for the talks
36.    transition to next talk:  the importance and strength of giving respect to others as part of custom


Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

What you are holding in your hands, you should not let it fall on the ground. 

Too much eye-opening is foolishness. 

If you want to talk to somebody, and the fellow turns his face away from you, do you think he is listening to what you are saying? 

There is nothing at their front, nothing at their back, nothing at their sides:  they are just alone. 

You can’t catch a live bee and put it into a hole.

After morning, you get evening.
 
If you want to do something tomorrow, it is good you start it today.

“We will eat and finish the food”:  it will come from those who are eating.



Key words for ASCII searches  <top of page>

Chiefs and elders
Nakohi-Naa  (Nakɔhi-Naa)


Musical terms
Baamaaya
chagla  (chaɣla)

feenga  (feeŋa)
Jera  (Jɛra)
lung-bansi  (luŋ-bansi)

Names and people
Sheni
Kissmal

Towns and places
Bolgatanga
Dagbon
Ejura
Kpabiya
Kpatinga
Kumasi
Kumbungu
Nanton
Ouagadougou
Salaga
Sang
Savelugu
Techiman
Ziong

Cultural groups
Dagbamba
Dagbana
Dagbani
Gurunsi, Gurunsis
Hausa
Mossi

Miscellaneous terms
anzinfa
banga  (baŋa)
bangari  (baŋgari)

boligo
cedi
cowrie
daanya
dugu  (duɣu)

fufu
gamli
gampilsi
guinea fowl
Holy Qu'ran
Jebuni  (Jɛbuni)

kaafa
kobanga  (kɔbaŋa)

kobga  (kɔbga)
kobo
kodugu  (kɔduɣu)

kpalgu
kpanjogu  (kpanjɔɣu)

lag'pia  (laɣ'pia)
lag'tuhili  (laɣ'tuhili)
lorry
lungli  (luŋli)

maalam
neli  (nɛli)

pesewa, pesewas
pibirgu
pihinu
pong  (pɔŋ)

pugnai  (puɣnai)
soli sagim  (soli saɣim)
taankoro  (taaŋkoro)
tandi
threepence
tuusahi
Wumbee
yuli
zana