A Drummer's Testament
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Chapter I-7:  How Dagbamba Send Messengers  <PDF file>

How Dagbamba send messengers to greet others; types of people who are messengers; how a messenger uses sense

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


Contents outline and links by paragraph  <top of page>

Relevance of the talk of messengers

1.    sending people is important part of custom; an aspect of the talk of respect
2.    relation to Dagbamba way of living and identity of Dagbamba

Example:  getting a wife

3.    when asking to marry, send a messenger instead of going oneself
4.    send a friend to get “our” wife; get advice from an elder
5.    a messenger should have sense; know how to talk
6.    after the wife is promised, the messenger continues to represent the husband
7.    the messenger and other messenger will represent the husband at the wedding
8.    messengers give respect to both the receiver and the sender; don’t approach others directly

Example:  chiefs

9.      commoners do not go directly to the chief’s house; only certain elders do that, like drummers
10.    one does not address the chief directly; speak to an elder who talks
11.    one explains one’s purpose to the elder first; helps exchange ideas; adds to respect of chief

Example:  princes

12.    a prince sees elders before greeting his own father
13.    how princes send messengers to the chief who controls a chieftaincy they are looking for

The respect of a messenger

14.    sending a chief or a chief’s elder; high respect
15.    why a messenger gives respect to the sender
16.    messenger a witness to one’s way of living; someone who lives with people
17.    messenger a witness to gifts and transactions
18.    how messengers add other messengers to themselves
19.    a respected or older messenger more likely to succeed 

Examples:  how Alhaji Ibrahim is sent as a messenger

20.    example:  Alhaji Ibrahim as messenger or intermediary between child and parent
21.    Alhaji Ibrahim as intermediary between husband and wife
22.    how a husband’s messengers will beg for an offended wife
23.    messengers help people talk to one another; how friends exchange services as messengers

Example:  sending your wife to a funeral houses

24.    the respect of sending your wife to a funeral
25.    the work and behavior of the wife at the funeral house

Some vicissitudes of sending different people

26.    the problem of not having a good messenger
27.    how a messenger shows whether he is sensible or foolish
28.    sending sisters or wives; sending parents

Funeral houses

29.    the strongest messengers are for funerals; sometimes necessary to protect oneself from danger at the funeral house
30.    why a funeral house can be dangerous
31.    example:  jealousy against Alhaji Ibrahim’s sister’s at a funeral house
32.    Alhaji Ibrahim’s sister’s madness

How messengers can bring information back to the sender

33.    messenger can hear about and prevent a plot
34.    how messengers can bring luck or good news

Trading and borrowing

35.    messengers role in trading
36.    example:  what John would do for a messenger who came from Dagbon to his town
37.    importance of trust in the messenger, especially when borrowing
38.    sending your wife to borrow money

The importance of messengers in Dagbon

39.    sending of people as messengers is prevalent in Dagbamba society
40.    how a stranger gets a messenger
41.    necessity to get a messenger from the town itself to see a town’s tindana
42.    messengers important to everything one wants or does in Dagbon


Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

If you are going to send someone to do some work for you, you should send the one with sense and not the one who can walk.

"Get and taste”:  that is when you will know whether you will be satisfied.

The ladder you climb to look at something far away, that is the same ladder you have to use to come down. 

Collect my child, collect my work.

"You fall and I fall":  that is what makes the playing of the dogs nice.
 
If somebody doesn't know you, he won't do you any bad; it is the one who knows you who does you bad. 

They are asking of you.

However useless or weak a work is, a goat will be afraid of it. 


Key words for ASCII searches  <top of page>

Chiefs and elders
Limam

Naa Nyagsi
 (Naa Nyaɣsi)

Names and people
Mumuni

Towns and places
Bolgatanga
Dagbon
Dalun
Savelugu

Cultural groups
Dagbamba

Miscellaneous terms
chieftaincy
Dagbani
Fridays
houseowner
housepeople
maalam
tindana, tindanas
waistbands