A Drummer's Testament
drummers
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Chapter II-24:  Gods and Shrines   <PDF file>

Household shrines and the ancestors; the major shrines and gods and their work:  Yabyili, Naawuni, Pong Tamale, Chema, Jaagbo, Lansah, etc.

Paragraph outline
Proverbs and sayings
Dagbani words and other search terms
 
Supplementary material

Image gallery:  the Yabyili shrine
Tongo  (3 images)
The plateau  (6 images)
The tindana and his house  (6 images)
Inside the tindana's house  (16 images)
The shrine in the cave  (13 images)
 
Contents outline by paragraph  <top of page>

Introduction

1.    talk of the gods:  different gods; an old talk, with typical Dagbamba

Family gods

2.    household shrines:  Jɛbuni, Tilo, Wuni, Wumbee; sacrifices
3.    Wuni shrine is outside the house, Tilo and Jɛbuni in a room; relation to ancestors
4.    sacrifice with goat
5.    house shrine is with family head; different ways to build it; different sacrifices

Family gods and Muslim religion

6.    Jɛbuni in Alhaji Ibrahim’s family; why he doesn’t follow it as a Muslim
7.    the gods are for non-Muslims; how Prophet Ibrahim broke the gods

Family gods and ancestors

8.    sacrifice and call the names of ancestors
9.    inherit the family gods; Tilo held by a woman
10.  bad dreams; image of dead ancestors lurking and looking at the family; beg ancestors
11.  differences from the sacrifices to placate dead chiefs at Samban’ luŋa; sacrifice an old family talk
12.  soothsayers help people understand problems and know the sacrifice needed
13.  annual sacrifice (repairing); millet pito for Tilo; different animals

Gods of the towns

14.  different gods have different ways or things they help

Pong Tamale

15.  Pong Tamale god is rain and lightning; works against thieves
16.  return to Pong Tamale when get stolen things back
17.  cannot keep the stolen things that are returned; must take them to Pong Tamale
18.  also witchcraft cases; how witches protect themselves against the god
19.  how witches make sacrifices to the god

Naawuni

20.  crocodile; at Diari and Singa
21.  also works against thieves and bad people; ask when on boat crossing the river
22.  some people refuse to answer and do not cross
23.  people from Singa and Dalun do not pay to cross
24.  how households go to Naawuni to find out about stealing; don’t use the boat
25.  in olden days, Naawuni killed many people
26.  receiver of stolen things is also at risk
27.  Naawuni also works against borrowers who don’t pay back
28.  Naawuni also judges witchcraft cases

Yabyili

29.  in Talensi land near Tongo; people from any tribe can go there; good for barrenness;
30.  have to get someone to lead you to the tindana; same for any tindana
31.  how Alhaji ibrahim’s mother went to Yabyili with eye disease
32.  examples of Yabyili’s work and strength
33.  Yabyili for every tribe; anyone can go to visit and beg any god

True gods and false gods

34.  Pong Tamale, Naawuni, and Yabyili are old
35.  Naabuɣli, a false god in Konkomba area
36.  how Naabuɣli was exposed for making a false charge

Bunnyamaashe

37.  Bunnyamaashe at Yapei; how Alhaji Ibrahim’s wife went there for barrenness
38.  the trip to Bunnyamaashe; meeting the tindana
39.  the interpretation of the sacrifice

Other gods

40.  Lansa at Chito in Gonja; barrenness
41.  Chema at Chema in Gonja; also barrenness
42.  how people give the appropriate sacrifice; the responsibility of the tindana

Jaagbo

43.  Jaagbo at Tolon; a snake
44.  the signs when Jaagbo enters the town
45.  how they make the sacrifice to Jaagbo
46.  Jaagbo and barrenness
47.  special treatment for the children of a god

Tampion’s gods

48.  Zeyibu at Tampion; monitor lizard
49.  signs of Zeyibu for Tampionlana and Guma-Naa
50.  bees at the Tampion market; no market taxes collected

Yendi’s gods

51.  Gurugua; Pabo, a hyena; the signs of Pano
52.  the room at  Bagli for dead Yaa-Naas
53.  Kpala at Galiwe; also for Yaa-Naa; Naa Garba’s mother Laamihi; don’t burn the bush; similar god at Taha

Tamale’s gods

54.  many tindanas and gods; at Chaŋni and Tuutingli; Gurugbaya
55.  Kpalaŋga; area with kpalga trees; Dakpɛma’s responsibility
56.  the sacrifice to Kpalaŋga

Other gods

57.  also Tambo at Sang; Saambuɣli at Mion; the strongest gods are Naawuni, Pong Tamale, and Yabyili


Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

If anyone tells you any talk about Dagbon, and he is not a drummer and he is not a tindana, he will talk to you and the talk will leave him standing on the way.

He will talk and it will make your mouth sweet, but I am talking to you on the eyes of the talk.

Inside every family, it was somebody who started it and put it down for them. If not that, if this were not an old talk, would anyone be doing it?

If a person does work and does not get any benefit, will he do it again?

If a town is far, there is another town which is far beyond that town.

And does a bad person tell you that he is bad?

It is not everything one tells a boatman.

In Dagbon here, if you want something from someone who has a name, you cannot just go to him.


Key words for ASCII searches  <top of page>

Chiefs and elders
Dakpema (Dakpɛma)
Dalunlana Blemah
Guma-Naa
Naa Garba
Naa Gungobli
Naa Nyagsi (Naa Nyaɣsi)
Singlana Aduna
Tampionlana
Tolon-Naa
Yaa-Naa, Yaa-Naas
Zugulana Ali
Zugulana Dasana

Names and people
Adam
Amina
Hawa
Ibrahima
Imoro
Issa
Kasuwa
Lansa
Laamihi
Prophet Ibrahim, Ibrahima
Prophet Mohammed
Sulemana
Yaba
Yabdoo
Yapaga (Yapaɣa)

Gods and shrines
Bunnyamaashe
Gurugbaya
Gurugua
Jaagbo
Jebuni (Jɛbuni)
Kpala
Kpalanga (Kpalaŋga)
Lansa
Naabugli (Naabuɣli)
Naawuni
Pabo
Pong Tamale
Saambugli (Saambuɣli)
Tambo
Tilo
Wumbee
Wuni
Yabyili
Zeyibu

Musical terms
Bimbiegu (Bimbiɛɣu)
Samban' luna (Samban' luŋa)

Towns and places
Bagli
Bimbila
Changni (Chaŋni)
Chema
Chito
Dagbon
Dalun
Galiwe
Gumani
Gushegu
Kalariga
Karaga
Kumbungu
Mion
Pong Tamale
Salaga
Sang
Savelugu
Singa
Taha
Tolon
Tongo
Tuutingli
Voggo
Wa
Yapei
Yelizoli
Yendi

Cultural groups
Ashanti
Builsa
Dagbana, Dagbamba
Ewes
Frafra
Gonja
Konkomba, Konkombas
Talensi

Miscellaneous terms
bagyuli (baɣyuli)
bia
bugalana (buɣalana)
calabash, calabashes
chieftaincy
Dagbani
goonji
housegod, housegods
jinwarba
kpalga
langalinga (laŋgaliŋga)
maalam, maalams
maha
Muslims
Oi [exclamation]
pesewas
pito
Thursdays
tindana, tindanas
wua
wuni