A Drummer's Testament
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Chapter I-4:  Respect and the Dagbamba Way of Living Together  <PDF file>

Respect and how Dagbamba show respect on the part of:  those who live in the same area, their families, their in-laws; examples:  patience, temperance, not “showing oneself,” gathering and eating with others, respect for strangers

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

Contents outline and links by paragraph  <top of page>


1.      Dagbamba character and way of living; complement to drumming talks; importance of respect in Dagbon


2.      relation of respect to continuity of custom
3.      give respect to people with position, older people; give respect to outside same as to your family
4.      respect to in-laws; both husband and wife
5.      essence of respect based on women; must give respect to get a wife and get children
6.      respect starts from respect to get a woman; true for all cultures; respect of women is inside all types of respect, including respect for strangers

Respect for people you live with

7.      story about family, friendship, and mingling; seniority or eldership of friendship to family and of mingling to friendship
8.      giving respect and living together with people:  bitter and sweet, quarreling and talking together again; importance of old people to show patience
9.      friendship can spoil and end; Dagbamba don’t let quarrels go far
10.    Dagbamba share the problems of people they stay together with in an area, whoever they are
11.    the strength of living together in an area; sitting together can bring family

Respect and eating together

12.    how Dagbamba gather and eat; blame a person who eats alone as someone who doesn’t want to share
13.    gathering and eating is strong in Dagbamba custom; how people group themselves to eat in a house or in within a nearby area
14.    gathering and eating together creates trust among people
15.    kpatabɔ; how children go from house to house to eat; how their fathers would gather outside the eldest’s house
16.    if someone has no friends to eat with, he will call a grandchildren or even a small child to eat with him; doesn’t want to eat alone
17.    women in the house also divide themselves into groups and eat together
18.    how a chief eats; eats alone but only eats a little then shares with those who are with him
19.    how someone eating medicine will gather and eat with others but will separate the food with the medicine

Respect and bluffing, or “showing oneself”

20.    Dagbamba do not like people who bluff others; princes who show too much price don’t get chieftaincy
21.    people who show themselves often from families of slaves
22.    drummers use drums to show people’s family standing
23.    respect to learning; Dagbamba don’t bluff about having or seeking knowledge

Respect for strangers and visitors

24.    giving respect to all types of strangers
25.    how Dagbamba receive a stranger
26.    the happiness of receiving a stranger
27.    Dagbamba are distinguished among tribes of Ghana for the extent they respect strangers
28.    comparison of Dagbon and the South
29.    trying to get whatever the stranger wants
30.    finding out what the stranger wants; taking the stranger to those who will help
31.    differences of a stranger you don’t know

How villagers receive strangers

32.    villagers keep fowls to feed a stranger
33.    if stranger will not stay in the village, the villager will give the fowl to the stranger to take away
34.    how the village children catch the guinea fowls from the napɔɣu
35.    how the villager gives the guinea fowl to the stranger
36.    how the women in the house and how the neighbors will share part of the stranger’s food
37.    importance of sharing the meat properly
38.    takubsi:  a gift to the child who takes the food to the stranger; its blessings
39.    greeting the stranger with water; how Dagbamba without fowls keep dried fish in case a stranger comes

The blessings of strangers

40.    strangers bring good luck; money or wife
41.    special blessings if a birth in the house when a stranger visits; a baby girl may be promised to the stranger or stranger’s child
42.    why people pray to receive strangers; stranger will speak well of them when he goes home; stranger will also receive them well
43.    how the blessings will extend to one’s children if they travel
44.    relation of talk of strangers to talk of mingling and living together; both good and bad

Transition to further talk of strangers

45.    transition to talk of how a stranger should behave in Dagbon

Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

The teeth and the tongue quarrel. 

Shyness is a human being.

You cannot say all.

A lizard hides and his head is showing out to the public.
A lizard hides and only the head shows.

If you do something bad, it is waiting for you; and if you do good, it is waiting for you.

It is good you visit a dry well. 

If you beat a dog, you are waiting for its owner.

A stranger is like the tongue. 

Key words for ASCII searches  <top of page>

Chiefs and elders

Names and people
Mustapha (Muhammad)

Towns and places

Cultural groups

Miscellaneous terms
biemlana  (bɛmlana)

cherga  (chɛrga)

dogim  (doɣim)

kpatabo  (kpatabɔ)

maalam, maalams
napogu  (napɔɣu)