How medicine works; types of medicine:
liliga, vua, kabrɛ, tahiŋga, etc.; witches and wizards (bukpahinima); maalams’
medicines: walga, sabli
Paragraph outline and links
Proverbs and sayings
Dagbani words and other search terms
outline by paragraph
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1. comparison to gods; the gods are like medicine in helping people
2. gods can treat sickness
3. God or gods do not solve all problems; people believe in what helps them
Examples of medicine
4. person who struck a medicine man
5. at Voggo, story of Shembila taking the wife of Kukuo-Naa
6. conclusion of the story of Shembila and Kukuo-Naa
Belief in medicine
7. why Alhaji Ibrahim doesn’t have medicine
8. people use medicine to protect themselves; jealousy against John
9. need to fight for yourself in the world
10. Alhaji Ibrahim only likes medicine that will help a person
11. medicine works from belief and trust
12. talk of medicine relates to typical Dagbamba; watchful for signs
13. reading of signs resembles the talk of gods; not for Muslims
14. example: belief in circumstances and luck
15. Muslims do not follow these beliefs
16. always begin with greetings to person with medicine
17. types: talisman, armband, waistband, powder, water
18. annual sacrifices; often during Buɣim
19. vanishing; removes a person from danger; types of liliga
20. example: person with liliga who vanished; it happens at once
21. testing liliga when receive it; your heart must jump; liliga can refuse a person
22. calling; in a horn; person will respond from wherever
23. used by hunters to call animals
24. used by drummers to get money or praise
25. used to get women
26. tying; prevents someone from doing things
27. many types of kabrɛ; does bad work
28. used by Gbɔŋlana to prevent quarrels at a chief’s funeral
Medicines for money
29. lukuri; lukuri sabli; the money does not last
30. compared to maalam’s medicine or prayers for money
Not to die
31. a dead person continues to live; example: Savelugu chief’s dead brother was met in another town
32. example: Gurunsi man at Voggo
33. paɣali: lost from sight
34. tahinga: shouting; its types; jumping medicine, bulimbuɣliŋga, mankubia; stick medicine (doli tim), knife medicine (sutili)
35. chilo; medicine for seeing
36. catch and kill witches
37. the drums used by the wizards
38. how they use chilo
39. chiefs also roam and catch witches; example: Nanton-Naa Alaasambila
The ways of medicine
40. medicine should not be in the open; no boasting
41. even the person with medicine does not see its work
42. people do not know who has medicine or not; only the medicine man knows its name
43. storing medicine in a calabash
44. medicine requires confidence; example: maalam who disarmed a mad man
45. maalams have all the same types; works more slowly but thoroughly
46. example: maalam who was abused by Savelugu-Naa Mahama Piɛɣu
47. British removed the Savelugu-Naa
48. maalams know the words of God; their prayers are powerful
49. maalam’s medicines: walga, writings that are washed an drunk; sabli, writings put inside talisman
50. muhima; medicine to make people like a person; types: bɛ yum’ ma
51. greetings to maalam with cola (money) for kerosene
52. maalam’s medicines for drummers
53. many different types and ways of medicine; this talk only about some of them
Proverbs and Sayings
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You should put a hen basket under your armpit.
The place you want to
go to, it is the road of that place you will ask.
Only a fool says that
everybody should like him or love him.
God said that if you are in a town
and there is no one with medicine in the town, you should leave that town.
God shows that a town without medicine is not a good place to sit.
Medicine is trust.
When he tells you something and you hear, don’t accept
it and don’t refuse it.
It is the heart which sleeps before the eyes.
Medicine doesn’t like boasting.
If you have the medicine that says no
one should knock you, you should sit down coolly.
As the road is outside,
can somebody walk there and you will see that person’s footprints?
only a bad person who can know a witch.
Medicine has no name.
Medicine is hiding.
As for medicine, it has no end.
Take cola and
Key words for ASCII
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be yum' ma (bɛ yum' ma)
tahim pielli (tahim piɛlli)
Names and people
Ibrahim (Alhaji Ibrahim)
Kissmal (Ibrahim Hussein)
Nanton Lun-Naa (Iddrisu)
Nanton-Naa (Alhassan / Alaasani / Alaasambila)
Savelugu-Naa Mahama Piegu (Mahama Piɛɣu)
Towns and places
gaa [Diospyros mespiliformis Hochst ex A.DC.]
nyaringa (nyariŋga) [Vitex doniana Sweet and Vitex grandifolia]
tim [sometimes translated as “juju”]
timlana [literally: medicine holder, medicine owner]