Today we are going to talk about markets in Dagbon here. The markets of different towns have different days, and the markets eat every six days. And so the markets go around like that. Truly, the market has got a lot of benefit for us. If somebody tells you he knows the benefit of a market, he will just know his extent, and he will talk and leave his talk on the way, because there are many works inside it, and you cannot count all of them. And so the market: it is inside the market that friendship starts. Even it is inside the market that in-laws start. As it is, has the market not got benefit? Even on the part of the work we do in the house, the market has got work in Dagbon. And on the part of us who are farmers, the market has got work, because we have our market-day farming. And so the markets do a lot of work for us in Dagbon here, and the sweetness of markets is different. And so how I know about markets, the market has got a lot of benefits, and as we eat markets, the markets have got a lot of profit for us.
In Dagbon here, the chiefs are for the markets. A long time ago, they weren’t selling things in the market and the chief wouldn’t know about it. Why do I say, “He wouldn’t know of it”? If we are going to eat a market, the chief has somebody who goes to the market to take some of the things. He is the daasaha, and he is the one who goes and collects the things, and in some places, we call him daalana, owner of the market. And there are some places where they are two, and the daasaha is the one who collects things for the daalana or for the chief. It is not the tindana I’m talking of; it is not the Dakpɛma I’m talking of. The chief himself will get somebody to go to the market and be collecting certain things from those who are selling. This daalana, the owner of the market, used to sew some cloth to make a big bag. At that time, the white man’s bags, the ones we use to fill with rice, these bags were not there. When the daalana sews a bag like that, on the day of his town’s market, he will go there, and some people will also follow him and carry the bag. At the market, they all have their sitting places. The salt people are sitting at one place, and the fish people are sitting at a different place, and the guinea corn people are sitting at a different place. As he is going around and collecting different things, he knows where he will be putting them. He won’t mix fish and soap and salt. He will have some other bags and calabashes.
This talk is an olden days talk. The time the white man had not yet come, they didn’t start the giving of small papers — tax — in the markets. These small papers, we were getting sense before they started it. Today as we are sitting, they pay tax in the markets. They don’t come to collect things again, unless a tindana comes into the market and says they are going to repair the god. As for that, all the people selling in the market will be giving him something. But from the time the people selling started paying tax, they stopped giving these sorts of things. It is not there like that again.
When the small papers were not yet there, if you are selling guinea corn, the daalana will come to fetch some from you, say, one bowl of guinea corn. If the guinea corn is not plenty, he will fetch a small calabash and put it into his bag. One of those following him will be taking the bag on his shoulder. If the daalana reaches where somebody is selling fish, the daalana will take the small calabash and put it in front of the fish owner. The fish owner will not argue: he will take some of the fish and put it inside the calabash. The daalana is not going to say, “It’s small.” The fish they give him, it’s not one person who is selling fish. If they are up to ten people, they will all give him fish like that. And the daalana will turn.
When he turns, if he sees a salt-owner sitting down, he will go there. The daalana will turn to the salt people and take his calabash and stretch it in front of them. In the olden days they had a very small calabash they would use to measure the salt to sell. The time I was growing up, it was a cigarette tin they were using, the cigarettes that were in tins. They used to use small tins the size of a milk tin to put the salt, and they would set it on top of a big bowl of salt. They used to put salt in a cigarette tin and sell it for twenty cowries. As the daalana is going, there are some children holding a small calabash and following him, and they will take the salt in the tin and pour it into the calabash. Those selling salt, they have all come from their houses to come and sell, and they could be about six or ten, all following one another sitting in a line. The daalana will take his calabash to all of them, and they will all give a tin of salt to him.
And then he will turn. We have something we call nili: they use it for soup, especially with bira. They sow it, and it’s a type of gourd. When it grows, it grows into big balls, as big as a fist, and it’s white. When it finishes, they pick the balls and put them down, and they rot. Then they wash it and dry it, and they will collect it and be entering markets. When they are going to use it to cook, they grind it and then they sieve it and remove the rough part. The day a woman is cooking with it, you will know that on that day you are going to eat a very sweet soup. And so the nili people are there at the market, and the daalana will take the small calabash and put it in front of them, and they will fetch some of the nili and put it in the calabash. They are not just a few people; they are many. He will take some from each of them, and he will put it into his bag.
When he turns again, he will see pepper people. As for pepper, we have different types that we sell. We have naanzutɔɣu. When a woman gives birth, this is what they buy and prepare food for the woman who has just given birth. If I am going to talk to you about its work, its work is plenty. This naanzutɔɣu is what we take again to repair our Dagbamba funerals. It is what we take to make weddings, because when a wedding stands, you will search for it. The daalana will turn to the naanzutɔɣu people and they will measure some pepper for him, and he will pour it into his bag. And he turns to meet naanzuchirga people. This naanzuchirga is very small. The daalana will take his calabash and put it in front of them, and they will also measure some for him. And he will turn again: there is some pepper we call naanzubua. The naanzubua is round. Do you know bua? That is a goat. When you pound naanzubua and put it inside soup, you will get they scent of the soup as if you have put goat meat in it. Even if you don’t put meat, it is as sweet as if there is meat. That is why we call it naanzubua, goat pepper. And those selling it will also measure some for him, and he will take it and add to what he has got.
And when he turns and looks somewhere again, there are woman sitting and selling kpalgu, and I have already told you how we use it in soup. He will take his calabash and go, and they will fetch some for him. We have three types of kpalgu or seasonings like kpalgu. There is some we call kantɔŋ. This kantɔŋ, there are two trees for it. Do you know tua, the baobab tree? It has got some green leaves which we use for soup. We call these leaves tukari. The baobab tree gives birth to small-small children — its fruits — and they are hanging. We take the seeds and use them to make kantɔŋ. And again, do you know guŋa, the kapok tree? They also use the seeds of the kapok tree to make kantɔŋ. As they are selling this kantɔŋ in the market, the kantɔŋ people will measure about twenty cowries of it for the daalana. The kapok tree, too, it does something we call ncho. This ncho smells very much; its smell is equal to the smell of feces. They use it in cooking, especially groundnuts. And they carry it and enter the market and sell it. When the daalana turns to their side, they will all remove some for him. And he will turn to the side of the people who are selling zuuna. The zuuna are the yellow seeds of the kpalgu tree. After washing the fruit, they remove the seeds, and that is what we use to cook the kpalgu. And they take the seeds and enter the market. And when the daalana turns to their side, he will go, and they will give him some, too. And so this kpalgu and also kantɔŋ and ncho, that is what he has collected.
Then he turns again and goes to meet the people selling bambara beans, and they will fetch some for him. And all the types of beans — tuya, sanʒi, simpee — he will take his calabash and put it in front of those selling it, and they will fetch some for him. Then he will turn and go to the side of the yams, and they will be removing some of the yams for him. Truly, a long time ago they weren’t selling corn. Our eyes opened and corn was not something they were selling. As for corn, they have just started selling it, but they were selling millet and guinea corn. I am talking about Dagbon here. I can say that the time they started selling corn was about forty years ago, because I had sense before they started selling it, and when I came into my sense, they were not selling corn in the market. The daalana will go around and they will all give him.
Then he will go to the side of the butchers, and the butchers will be cutting meat small-small for him. If they want, they will remove chenchinga — kebabs — for him. And he will turn. If he is somebody who drinks, every market has got a place where people sell dam, that is, pito. He will go to the place where they sell drink, and they will fetch some for him, and he will drink.
If he wants, he will turn and go to the Yoruba people: a long time ago they were selling cloth in the market. At that time, women didn’t know how to sell cloth. When Dagbon started and the Yorubas had not yet come, they were selling woven strips of cloth in the markets. They would take them and put them down, and you would come. If you had twenty cowries they would measure the length of a hand. If you wanted plenty, they would take your forearm as a measure until they reached the yards for a cloth. And if the daalana comes there, as it is, they cannot cut a small piece for him. Sometimes they would give him, say, ten cowries, and tell him, “We haven’t eaten the market yet,” that is, they haven’t sold anything. He will collect the cowries and put into his pocket. And so when he goes to meet people and he cannot collect some of what they are selling, they can get some money and give him.
Formerly, in Dagbon here, the money was not the white man’s money. We were using cowries to buy things. The time the white man’s money came out, our cowries and the white man’s money were entering one another, and it came to a time when ours was not strong again. And the white men brought different types of money, up to the time that paper money also came out. But as for the cowries, I got up and met them eating cowries, and we had no money apart from the cowries. I have even used one cowrie to eat. Do you know yona? This yona is the way we used to call kooshe. They use tuya and bambara beans, and they fry it the way they fry kooshe or maha. The Hausas call it kooshe, but in Dagbani we call it yona. If you wanted to buy kooshe, or yona, they were selling it for one cowrie, and it came to the time we were buying kooshe for five cowries, and that was the time the white man’s money was also coming in. But as for cowries, the Dagbamba got up and met it. We heard them say that Naa Zanjina counted cowries and gave them to dig a grave for the child of Sabali Yɛri-Naa Yamusah, and I have told you something about it. And I think in my heart that even during the time of Naa Nyaɣsi, all that time the cowries were there. I think that. Inside every talk, money was there. And so the cowries were there long, long ago.
The people frying kooshe also have a line in the market, and when the daalana gets to the kooshe people, they take some and put it inside a calabash for him. And those frying yams are also there, and when he reaches them, they will also take some and put in his calabash for him. He will gather all the foods like that, and it will be plenty. On that day, his children are many. Who are his children? Those who are following him in the market, they are not the children he has given birth to, but that day they are his children. He will come and stand, and he will remove what he is going to give to the children to eat in the market. As for what remains and will go home, he alone cannot carry it. He and the children are going to carry it.
And truly, you can’t count everything that they sell in the market. You will count and leave some out. So I can tell you that when the daalana comes to the market, anything that he comes across, he will collect his share. He is using the strength of the chief to do that. And what takes and goes home, he sends it to the chief’s house. And so as they are collecting the foods from the market, they are taking to come and give to the chief. And the chief eats profit like that from inside the market, and he gains like that from inside the market. That was the profit of markets on the part of the chiefs. And those who give to the daalana, they are giving respect to the chief. As it is, the chief is for the town, and the chief is for the market. It is the chief who repairs the market. As villagers give respect to a chief, the benefit they get is just that he is holding them. And what of the market? Is it not the chief who is making the market to stand? Is it not the chief who is for the market? They call “that town’s market.” And we have never heard anyone calling “that tindana’s town”; they call “this chief’s town.”
And so the chief is for the market. As a market is, it is the chief who repairs the market, that is, performs a sacrifice for the market. I have watched, and they said that a chief was going to repair a market. Why do they repair the market? There can be small troubles inside the market. It can happen and a market day will come, and they will beat one another inside the market till they go home. When the market wants repairing, this is what it does. You will see that the town’s elders will gather and sit down, and they will go and meet the chief. And the one who holds the land is there. Who is he? Someone like the tindana is there. The chief will call the tindana and tell him, “As our market is now standing, it is not standing as one again. And so you will know what we are going to do.” The tindana will let the chief get what it wants. And they will get up and beat beating things and go to the market and repair it. When they repair the market, they will slaughter animals inside the market. They are not going to carry anything to the house. It is inside the market that they are going to roast everything and eat it before they go home. And you will see that the market will stand where it was standing.
The market has got another way. Sometimes grass will grow inside the market or on the sides of the market. It can happen that a town’s market will be in a village that is under that town. And the chief will call inside his land, and in that village and the villages that are near the market, whether they are his villages or they are not his villages, and he will say, “A market does not stand useless. Come on such-and-such a day and we will cut the grass in the market.” When the day comes, everybody will come out with his hoe, and they will clear the whole market. A market has that. Truly, on the part of sitting places, there are some markets that the local Councils repair. But the markets where those who are selling repair their own sitting places and do all their work, those markets are more than the markets that the Councils repair. Even the markets that the Councils repair, the Councils cannot repair all the market. The markets that the Council has not made sheds for sitting places, those who are selling repair their own. They buy the mats and come and put them; they cut sticks and put them. As for such people, when it comes, they come together and repair their sitting places. And if there is any talk on the part of the market, it is the chief who will hold it. That is how our Dagbon markets stand.
That is why it is the chief’s housechild who is going to collect the foods from the market. It’s not the chief’s own son, but it can be someone from inside the chief’s house. That is why they call him daalana, “market-owner.” He is from the chief. And so as for suffering, somebody sees it and eats, and he knows why he is eating suffering. It is his heart that wants it. And it is not any fault. The one who gives the daalana, what he gives is not plenty, and it is not going to prevent his selling from making a profit. Have you seen? There is no forcing inside it. It can happen that the daalana will take his calabash to somebody, and the person will say, “Oh, my in-law, won’t you be patient.” And the daalana will laugh and turn. It is not that the daalana is going to take his calabash and come and fetch with strength. It doesn’t show that.
And as they get the food and give to the chief, it is from it that the chief’s wives eat. If the daalana goes into the market and collects all these things to take to the chief’s house, he will pour it down to give it to the chief’s wives. But the chief himself will not eat it. How these things are mixed, it will not be good for the chief’s wives to cook to give the chief to eat that kind of food. Even, as the daalana is going around to collect things, there may be some people who are not happy about it. And there may be some people who are not on good terms with the chief. If they know that the chief is eating this food, they can put some medicine inside to get him. And so a chief usually has a particular wife or wives who cook for him; it is not all the chief’s wives who cook and cut food for him to ear. But as for the chief’s housepeople, there can be a chief and his food will finish, and his housepeople will be eating from the market. As the daalana is collecting the foods from the market and taking to go and give him, it will be long, and the chief’s housepeople will be eating like that. The chief’s wives and housepeople will eat it, but not the chief. And this is how our markets are.
Truly, a market has got many talks in Dagbon. This market day again: you can want somebody, and he is in another town, and you want to send a messenger there. And his townspeople, too, they come to eat that market. If you were going to send somebody, and the market day is near, you will say, “Leave it. When the market day comes and we go to the market, we will get some people from that town.” If you don’t see the person himself, you will see his townspeople, and you will get a messenger to send to him.
As the market is sitting, every town has got where its people enter the market and where they sit. And we say, “This is Voggo’s people’s market door,” that is, the area where Voggo people come to sit. If you are at Tolon market or Kumbungu market, you can go around and say, “This is Lungbunga’s people’s market door, Kasuliyili’s people’s market door, Savelugu’s people’s market door, Yogu’s people’s market door, Gbanjan’s people’s market door, Jeriguyili’s people’s market door, Daboya’s people’s market door, Zantana’s people’s market door, Wariboggo’s people’s market door, Nyankpala’s people’s market door.” That is how you call it. If you wanted a Gbulun person, Gbulun’s market door is there, and if you go to his market door, you will see him. If you don’t see him, you will see Gbulun people, and you will message them. That is a benefit of markets.
When the market day is coming, you the one who is going to the market, your heart is white. Even if you don’t have something to sell, your heart is white. Because of what? If you were sitting in your house and your body was not very well, or you had some worrying talk and your heart was mixed, when you go to the market, your heart will come to one place. You will wear a nice dress to go to the market, and you will see many people, and your heart will become white, just because of what you have gone to the market to see. If you want them to cook and you haven’t got somebody to sell something to you, when the market day comes and you go, you will get something to buy. If it is that you have something to sell, and you have it and no one has yet bought it, when the market day comes, your heart is as white as the moon, because whatever happens, you will sell. And this is how the market-day sweetness is to us.
A long time ago, because of the sweetness of markets, we took some market days and called them festival markets. If it comes to a festival month in Dagbon here, and they finish the festival, then the festival market will eat on the remaining market days of that month until the moon dies. It is not all Dagbon markets and not all festivals that have festival market days. After we finish Ramadan fasting and the Konyuri Chuɣu moon comes out, we celebrate the Praying Festival, and then the following three market days will be festival markets. And after we slaughter the animals and finish the Chimsi prayers, then the markets following will be festival markets. Dagbon is a large place, and where you live, that is where you will know what the people are doing. How I am talking and showing you details, there may be some places where it is different. And so I am talking about what I have seen. I haven't seen it at Savelugu. I have beaten a drum in Kumbungu, but I haven’t been to drum at Kumbungu on a festival market day. I have seen it at Nanton when Nanton had its market, but Nanton market is now dead. At Nyankpala and Tampion, they have it. But truly, the places where it is strong are Voggo and Tolon.
There are three festival market days. After the celebrate the festival, then the next market that will come is called nuɣso daa. Do you know nuɣso — indigo? Women use it as hair dye, and after men wash their smocks, they also put it on their smocks. And so that day, people come to buy this indigo to dye their smocks or their gowns. And women come to buy it and dye their hair, waiting for the next market day, and they will come out and show their beauty. And so that is the market they call nuɣso daa. The next market day coming is the chuɣu daa, the festival market. And then the next market, the third one, will be the chuɣu daa kpaha, and that is the end. That is all. After that, any market has no name: it is called a market day. And so they will be having their normal markets again.
Let’s say we finish tying our mouths in the Ramadan month, and it comes to, say, the Voggo market day in the water-drinking month. We the old people, and our children, and our wives, and our young boys, we go and eat the market. On that day, that is the day of our bluffing. And that is the day every villager will also show himself. If a village person has got a nice gown, he will wear it on the festival market day. If he has nice trousers or a nice hat, that is what he will wear on the festival market day. On that day, he will smear chilo around his eyes. All his bluffing, that is the day he will eat it. If it is a village woman, that is the day she wears her nice cloth. That is the day she shows herself, and all the women from the villages will want to show themselves more than another town’s women who come to enter the market. The villagers don’t have the festival in their towns, but on that day they are going to the festival market. On that day, too, the butchers will sell meat. If it is that they have made kebabs from ten cows, that day they will eat all of them. Everybody’s heart is white.
The time of the festival market, the selling is not plenty in the market. But when the festival is coming, let’s say, one month before the festival will come, they are selling all sellings and waiting for the festival market. When they sell, they say they are going to sell and go and buy dresses, and wait for such-and-such a festival market. When that time comes, they don’t send things to the market again, or if they carry something to the market, they will not carry it plenty. They are only going to sell and eat it in the market as a festival market. The men too, it is like that. And old people, those who have horses, they will dress their horses on that day.
Let me talk to you about Dagbamba and you will know. The time I was growing up at Voggo, when the Voggo festival market day came, all the villagers around Voggo and Tolon will be coming to the market. They will gather themselves — young girls and young boys, young men and young women — those who are up to the age of marriage and those who are not up to the age of marriage. If they leave their village, getting to the Voggo market, they will stop at a big tree and sit under that tree. Then they will send for something to drink, and then they will move to the Voggo market. They will go around the market three times, and then they will look for drummers to beat for them to dance. They will send someone to tell you that “You drummers should come and take us.” When they group themselves like that, maybe we will be about ten drummers. If they came from Tolon, they wouldn’t bring their Tolon drummers. And even if Tolon drummers came to Voggo, they will come and add themselves to Voggo drummers. And that day they will be bringing out cowries and be throwing them to you. Then you will just be beating. And other drummers will also be having different groups. The Kasuliyili people will come with their girls and boys, and they will also have their place. Tibung people will also come. The Jegbo people are in their village, and they also have their drummers. And leaving the Voggo people also, their young boys and young boys also have their place. We will have a lot of groups around. All these villages will come together, and we will dance the festival market. That day you will not know the end of the market. If you start drumming, unless the place becomes dark before you will finish. And then if you leave the market and get to your village, you will go to the chief’s house and dance again in front of the chief’s house. Before we drummers will get home to our houses, maybe it will be midnight. By then the women who have prepared the food have already eaten, and they are sleeping.
And so if you finish the Praying Festival, you will eat the festival markets like that. And then if it comes to the Chimsi Festival, also, you will also eat the next three markets the same way. The way all the villagers gathered and celebrated the first festival, they will come and celebrate the same way. They will be dancing and showing themselves. And what I am telling you, as for the festival market day, if you see someone saying that he is not going to that market, it means that he is an old man who cannot walk or an old woman who cannot walk. Or it is only maybe if you have a funeral in your house that you can’t go. And again, on the festival market day, some people will keep their small children in the house. Sometimes small children will come to market, and some of them will lose their way to their houses. If you are a small boy and your eyes are not open, you can follow some people to their village. What I am telling you, it has been happening. At that time if your father wants to send you to some place, and that market day is coming, he will be patient and tell you that you should go and enjoy the market day and come before he sends you. It’s not that you will tell your father, but rather it is your father who will tell you that “After the market day, I will send you.” It is because your father knows that when they were young men, they were also entertaining themselves the same way, too.
After Voggo market, the next day is Nyankpala market. And then in three days, Tolon market eats. The time we were young, there were no cars or truck, and so people were walking on foot to the market. And so wherever they are making the chuɣu daa, people from any town or village that was near to there could move to that place and celebrate it. And if that town was making their own festival market, then the people from the first town they went to would also come there and join it. They will be going around like that. You see that Tolon people are already eating Voggo market, and so if the market comes to chuu daa, that is what they want best. They will come. And when their own chuɣu daa also turns up, then Voggo people also go there. They will all be going around and showing themselves. Already, when it is not even the festival market, other villagers around Voggo and Tolon come to the market there. And so when it happens that the festival market comes, then they come more. Everybody will come: men, women, children. Gbulun people will come. Kasuliyili people will come. Kumbungu people will come. All these people from the area will come. You will look at the market and you will wonder how the market can collect all these people.
And truly, the market has got a lot of benefit on the part of all the people who are here, not only Dagbamba alone. As we like it, that is how the Bolgatanga people like it. Going to Bawku, going to Navrongo, that is how they also like the market. If you want, you can say that we like markets more than they do, because we know about the festival markets. But if you follow them, you will come to say that they like markets more than we do, because our markets eat every six days, but theirs eat every three days. As it is, don’t they like markets more than we? They even have night markets. But as for us, we know our six days.
How the benefits of markets are, I can say that if markets were not in Dagbon here, Dagbon too would not have been there. And so markets: I think that markets have been there from a long time ago up to this time we are sitting, because we all got up and met markets. As we are sitting, Tamale market is our big market, but in the olden days, people were not coming much to Tamale market. They regarded it as a tindana’s market. But the other markets were there. It was the coming of the lorries that spread the market-going to far-away towns. But when there were no lorries, and people were walking to markets, people didn’t even want to walk to Tamale market. But even at that time, people were walking to those far places. When the lorries were not there, if you use your foot to leave Tamale or Savelugu to go to Karaga, you will spend about three or four days. How much more is Gushegu? But now as we are sitting, people can get transport from this side to spend Karaga market day and return, and sometimes we will eat night food and be sitting down before they will arrive with their trucks. But in the olden days they were not going plenty to places like Karaga and Gushegu, and they were not going for things like guinea corn. They used to go there mostly for animals: cows and sheep and goats. Now they also go there to buy bags of foodstuffs like guinea corn, groundnuts, or yams. They get them in quantity directly from the farmers there, and they bring them to sell in their towns’ markets. And so these days, they are trading in all these things.
And so we all got up and met markets in Dagbon. The market we got up and we didn’t meet, if they want to make that market to stand, it doesn’t eat. If it eats two days, it will finish. But there are some markets that we got up and met, and they have died. The dying doesn’t come from anything. The markets are many in Dagbon here, and one town’s market can kill another town’s market. How does it kill it? Let’s say that tomorrow is this town’s market, and today is that town’s market. If that town is not big, those who have been selling things or buying things will say, “Let’s stop, and tomorrow we will take it to this town’s market which is big, and we will sell, and we will leave that town’s market which is small. If you carry your things to that town’s market, the people are not plenty there.” Nobody will be eating suffering for nothing, and it is like that and some of the towns became weak. Nanton has no market again: Tampion market has killed it; Savelugu market has killed it. Sagnerigu has no market: Tamale market has killed it; Voggo market has killed it. Banvim has no market: Tamale market has killed it. Gbulun has no market: Kumbungu market has killed it; Tamale market has killed it. Wariboggo has no market: Tolon market has killed it; Nyankpala market has killed it. That is what has killed some of the small-small markets in Dagbon. Kasuliyili has no market again: Tolon market has killed it; Kumbungu market has killed it. Lungbunga has no market: Tolon market has killed it. Tibung has no market: Kumbungu market has killed it. Zangbalin has no market: Kumbungu market has killed it. Zugu has no market: Kumbungu market has killed it. Have you seen? That is how the small markets in Dagbon have died. But as for these big markets, when they come, we don’t joke. On that day, the sweetness is too much.
If I am going to talk about markets, I want to show you how our markets move. In Dagbon here, the markets have names, and the markets don’t eat to follow the days of the month. They eat every six days. And so let’s take it, say, from the Tamale market day. Gbulun market used to come and fall on the same day as Tamale market, but now it is dead. That market died long ago, when I was still at Voggo. This our Tamale market is a big market, and there is no town’s market that will be near it. I’m talking about us here, in Dagbon. All the markets in Dagbon, there is no market that is in front of Tamale, because there is everything here, what everybody wants. It’s only horses that they don’t bring to sell here, and donkeys: that is what they don’t sell in the Tamale market. But everything: if you want it, you will get it to buy. If you want cows, you will get them on Tamale market day, even cows and their children. If Bawku people don’t bring them, Gushegu people will bring them, or Karaga people. And so the bigness and profit of the Tamale market: on that day you will see lorries that come and you cannot count them. You will see lorries from Gushegu, Karaga, Tampion, Nanton, Ziong, and that is only one side coming. On that day, from Yendi side, people are coming to enter Tamale market: they will enter lorries from Yendi, to Mion, Sang, Jimli, Tugu, and coming to Changnayili, Pagazaa, Zuo, Vitin. All of them are going to enter lorries and come to Tamale. Salaga people will take lorries, come to Masaka, to Doogonkade, come to Bunjai, to Bugunayili, to Fu, to Difaa: all of them enter lorries and come to eat Tamale market. From Bawku and Bolgatanga they come and pass Walewale, Diari, Pong Tamale, Savelugu, and they even come from Gambaga and Nalerigu. All of these towns, people come from them in lorries, and no one can know the end of all the lorries. And then you will say that the number of lorries is small: you will take Daboya side and come to Tolon and Nyankpala and come to Tamale here. You will take Singa and go to Lungbunga and go to Voggo, enter Kumbungu, go and pass Zangbalin, and Zugu. All of them, they enter lorries and come and eat Tamale market. And you will leave them and go to Yapei, and you will see people entering lorries. Even Gonja people from Damongo, Sankpala and Bole, they come to this place. On that day, they are all going to enter lorries. They all eat Tamale market, and so Tamale market has no equal.
When they eat the Tamale market, the next day is Tolon market. The Tolon market is not at Tolon itself. If you are going from Tamale, you will pass Tolon and pass Tali before you reach the market. As for Tolon market, we call it Katiŋ daa, that is “far market.” That is how we call Tolon market. In the olden days, Tolon market was our big market. Tolon market has also got people who eat it like Tamale market, but they are not up to the people who eat Tamale market. As for Tolon market, I have told you on the part of funerals that Tolon people can drink plenty. If it were a long time ago, at Tolon market, the Tolon people and villagers could eat the festival market and ride many horses to the market, and they would be drinking pito, and they would forget their horses and leave them in the market. Or someone will tell his horse, “You long mouth! If you don’t go home, you can stay!” He would go home and leave the horse like that. Tolon people were doing that. If you ask Tolon people, they will tell you what I’m telling you. Inside the festival market, they do that, at Tolon. We are now having market talks! And so as for Tolon people, in our Dagbon here, there is nobody who knows and says he doesn’t know, unless Tolon people. The chief will be going, and they will just bend down and be greeting, and the chief will be going and not minding them, and they will just say, “Oh, the chief hasn’t heard.” As for Tolon people, they don’t mind anything. And so inside the market, some people can ride horses and come and leave them and go home. And some will wear their nice dresses, and will drink drinks, and they will ease feces inside their dresses, and some will urinate on their dresses.
If Tolon market eats and finishes, then the next day is Kinkaŋa daa, Savelugu market. There is a tree we call kinkaŋa standing there, and it was under this tree that they started the market; that is why they call it Kinkaŋa market. Bawku people and people from the Upper Region, they eat Savelugu market plenty.
When Savelugu market eats and finishes, the next day three markets eat in Dagbon here. There is Voggo market; there is Tampion market; and there is Champuu market, that is, Yendi market. On that day, truly, they eat the Yendi market plenty. That day is also Sankpala market, on the Yapei road, but Sankpala is inside the Gonjas, and we don’t count it into Dagbon markets.
The next day is Gushegu market, and that is also Nyankpala market day. Nanton market was eating on that day, but that market has died.
Then the next day is Kumbungu market. On Kumbungu market day, if you see all the people inside the market, you will fear. How they eat the Tamale market, that is how they eat it there: the people are plenty! They sell everything there, but it is not up to Tamale or Yendi market. And if Kumbungu market eats and finishes, the next day is the Tamale market again. That is how the markets move.
And so in Dagbon here, the markets are very strong, and the festival markets are a big thing. And what I’m saying, I’m not saying that it’s only Tolon or Voggo people who like the markets. In Dagbon here, all the towns, the young people and the old people all like the markets, and all Dagbamba like the festival markets. As I’m saying that all Dagbamba like the festival market, even the Konkombas have come to like it. And truly I don’t think you will get somebody who will like a festival market more than a Konkomba. The Konkombas like the festival markets more than we Dagbamba.
How the Konkombas like markets, their market is Yendi — Champuu. The Konkombas are many at that area, and many Konkombas eat the Yendi market. This is how the Yendi market is on the part of the Konkombas, and I can even say that it is the Konkombas who eat the Yendi market, and we Dagbamba also go and add to them. And people from Bimbila and Wuli and Gushegu and all the towns at Yendi side, they all eat the Yendi market. But if you ask me, I will say that it is the Konkombas who eat the Yendi market. Truly, the Yendi market is a big market. On the Yendi market day, you cannot count the Konkombas who come. The Konkombas and their wives will all come, and they will eat the market till night comes to fall on them. If you see them, you will think that it is only on the Yendi market days that Konkombas sex their wives. You will see a Konkomba man take a pito calabash and put it on the side of his mouth, and the woman will put her mouth on the other side, and they will be drinking like that. And he will take his hand and place it on the woman, just there inside the shed, and they will be drinking pito. When they drink pito like that, and it’s night, they will sex one another there. If not that, when they follow the way and they are going, if they come to a branch in the road, they will turn onto the small road: when they look behind and they don’t see anybody, they will sex one another there. And so the Konkombas like the market very much: it is there they sex one another; and it is there they kill one another, because somebody can be sexing somebody’s wife, and the fellow will kill him. The Konkombas are like that.
And market-eating in Dagbon here, the towns beyond Yendi also have their markets, too, but I haven’t gone there to see how they eat their markets. I have heard that the lorries go from Yendi, but I haven’t been able to catch which days the markets eat. But I know that Saboba has a market; Yelizoli has; Korli has; Taatali has. They all have markets. And I think that apart from Yendi, on that side, Saboba has a big market, because I hear that Accra people come and pass and go there to buy goats and animals. The people at Sunson, they eat their market at Saboba. The one adding is Taatali: I see people go there and buy things from Togo plenty. And Yelizoli too, I have seen its market, and the market is big. They also eat that one. Korli too, I saw its market, but I didn’t see the market day. It’s also big. Last year I went there, to Nakpali Wariboggo. You know Korli is called Nakpali, and they have a Wariboggo at that side, too. There was a market there. Demon has a market, but it is small. And so the big markets at that side, apart from Yendi: Saboba, Taatali, Korli, Yelizoli. But truly, the Yendi market is the big market at that side. People travel from this side to Champuu market, but I don’t hear people from here going to those other towns’ markets. This is what I know about it.
As for the Gushegu market, we also go there. You will go there and buy something, and come here and sell, and you will get profit. If it is that you are going to buy groundnuts, and if it is that a bag of groundnuts is two thousand cedis  in Tamale, you will go to Gushegu market and get it for one thousand seven hundred. The lorry will charge you, say, forty cedis to carry the groundnuts to this place, and your own charge will be twenty cedis. If you go and buy two bags of groundnuts, and you come here and sell, you will have profit. If you go there and buy a goat, if it is that they are selling a goat in Tamale for, say, one thousand cedis or one thousand two hundred, you will go there and buy it for eight hundred. And so the Gushegu market has profit for us. Even the white man’s things like batteries, if they are short here, you will go to Gushegu and get them. The people bring them from Togo, and such things are there. And cloth is also cheap there. And people buy and come here and sell and take their profit. And so Gushegu market has a lot of profit for us. It’s only that it’s far. And again, it is not all people who go and get something to buy; if you go to the market and you don’t get, you should know that you have fallen. That is why many people don’t go to Gushegu market from Tamale here. But they go. On a Gushegu market day, three articulator trucks go from Tamale here, and the small lorries that go, like these seven-ton lorries, they will be up to about five or six. And as it is, are people not going? Yendi side too, that is how it is. And so they go, but if not for what I have just said, their going would have been more than that.
The Karaga market eats on the Tamale market day, and people from Karaga come to this town, and people from this town go to Karaga. And Gushegu people go to Karaga market, and Karaga people go to Gushegu market, but the Karaga market is not up to the Gushegu market. As for Karaga market, it has also got buying and selling, but as it falls on the Tamale market day, it has not got much profit, and the market-eating is not sweet. That is how Karaga market eats.
And so the people who enter the markets, that is, the people who go to sell or buy, some of them enter the market to buy and take to another market to sell. Let’s say that as Nanton market was sitting, some people would go to the Nanton market to buy, and they will go and sell at Savelugu market, because Savelugu market was bigger than Nanton market. Someone like that, if he buys and goes, he will get profit inside it. The one buying yams is buying; the one buying guinea corn is buying; the one buying groundnuts is buying; the one buying kpalgu is buying; the one buying pepper is buying; the one buying bambara beans is buying. There is somebody whose trading is only one thing: he doesn’t enter into somebody’s trade. And there is somebody: what his eye sees them selling is what he buys, and he takes it and goes to markets. There is something like this inside trading. When they buy and take it and bring, they stop on the way and buy again and also take it and enter the market, and they sell and get profit. That is how trading goes, and that is what they do to eat the market.
Some trading reaches people in their houses: the people who sell animals, they do that. And those who sell goats, or sheep, or guinea fowls, or hens, some of them bring the animals to the market. Let me add you salt. On the part of animals, we have some ways inside our markets. There are some types of hens that do not enter the market. The gbiŋgbiŋ is a type of hen: it has got patches of feathers, and the whole body is not having feathers; you have feathers on one part and you don’t have feathers on the other part. The gbiŋgbiŋ does not enter the market. Kpasaŋa is a type of hen: it also hasn’t got many feathers. It does not enter the market. Pupuɣu is a type of hen: it is grey. It does not enter the market. Noodiɣli is a type of hen: diɣli means somebody who does not grow big when he grows, and he will not grow again, and the noodiɣli is a hen that is very short. It does not enter the market. There is a type of hen we call napoŋtari: its fingers are joined together. It does not enter the market. All these hens, when they enter the market, the tindana will collect them. If any of these types of hens enter the market, those who are in the market will collect it, and if they don’t give it to the tindana, they will give it to the chief and say that he should take it and repair the land. But any other type of hen, or guinea fowl, or sheep, or goat, they all have those who sell them at the market. And the villagers who are near that market town will be bringing them. And you will also go to somebody’s house to buy them. That is how it is.
As our markets were sitting in the olden days, we also had sense. The Gurunsis used to bring animals to sell at, say, the Kumbungu market. They would bring goats, and sheep, and hens. We were calling them Gurunsi goats, Gurunsi sheep, and Gurunsi hens. If the Gurunsis came, they would all be sitting in their line, and those who have also come to eat the market would go and be buying. If you wanted to buy, say, a Gurunsi goat, if you had guinea corn, when you eat the market with the Gurunsi, he is coming to buy guinea corn. And how it falls, that is, if you bargain with him, you will take your guinea corn and ask him, “Do you want money or do you want guinea corn?” And he will tell you, “I am going to sell and buy guinea corn.” And as you have eaten the market like that, it will come and stand, and you will bargain, and you will say, “Take guinea corn and give me my goat” or “Take guinea corn and give me my hen.” And the Gurunsi will say, “Collect my hen and give me guinea corn” or “Get this goat and give me guinea corn” or “I want money.” That was how the Gurunsi’s selling was going.
But as for a Dagbana, if he brought his things, if he sold a goat, maybe he is going to buy a dress, or he is going to go and repair a worrying talk which has come to meet him. That was the work a Dagbana was sending his animals to the market to sell and do. As for the Gurunsis, they were not selling their things to buy a dress, because as for that, already they don’t want it. They have been walking without it like that, and so to buy a dress will not worry them. It could happen that a Gurunsi would be going to the market to sell, and as he is going, he will just put on his kpalannyirichoo, the triangle. You won’t see him wearing a shirt. He will take a small bag on a leather string, and put it across his chest so that he will put money inside. He doesn’t mind, “I am going to the market.” How he is in the house, that is how he is going to be. How the Gurunsis were going to markets, at their side, the markets were not plenty. Even if their markets were plenty, they didn’t have things to sell that would let them get profit or let them gain. The markets the Gurunsis were eating: Savelugu market, Kumbungu market, Voggo market, Tolon market. If they came from their town, this is where they came. These were the markets the Gurunsis knew and were eating, because these markets were near them. Even their women, if they were coming, they would carry big pots, the very big ones like the type you have been seeing in the villages. Their wives carried these pots and came to the market. These markets I have shown, if they left their town to come and meet the market, some walked for three days before they would reach the market and eat the market. They would sell and buy food and go home and eat. That was what they were doing. A Gurunsi was like that. But as for us Dagbamba and our selling, we were selling to repair our funerals, to repair our worrying talks, to get dresses to wear. And as we enter our markets, that is what we do.
A long time ago, the men had what they were selling, and the women also had their part, but now they have entered one another. Nowadays, the things the women and the men sell enter one another. In the olden days, the things that entered into their work, those are the things they followed on the part of what they sold. In the olden days, the women were selling the things they were using for preparing food. How it was, it was a woman who used to sell salt, but today if you enter the market, you will see men sitting and selling it. Formerly it was the man who used to farm guinea corn, and women would buy it and take and sell. Today if a man farms guinea corn, the men buy and the women buy. If he farms corn, men buy and women buy.
I’ll show you an example. Calabashes: when a farmer sows a calabash and it grows, he will cut a hole and open it, and women will go and buy it. A type of calabash like the one we call chuɣu, it was women who used to carry it to the markets. If it was a man who farmed it, he would give it to his wife or his sister or his daughter who is in her husband’s house, and she would take it to the market and sell it and bring the money to him. He himself would not sell it, unless his wife or a woman would sell it and bring the money to him. The woman would ask, “My husband,” or “My father,” or “My brother, if I go, how much should I sell it.” And he would say, “How you will watch and they will buy, sell it like that.” If the woman takes it and goes, and they buy it for ten pesewas, she will say they bought for nine pence, and she will say, “Oh! Even they have bought it high.” And he will collect the money. If the husband gathers these calabashes plenty, the market which is coming, he will divide them and tell her, “Take those, and if you go and sell, you will buy your woman’s things; and sell these for me.” That was how the women were also getting profit from the market. This was what we knew a long time ago.
And so, the foods, it was a man who farmed and sold it to a woman to take to the market and sell. But now it doesn’t stand that only women sell food. There are also men who buy food and go to market and sell, and that is why I say that it doesn’t stand that only the women will sell it. In the olden days, the women were selling foodstuffs, and men were selling animals and meat. Now, if a man farms, it is even inside the farm that those who are coming to buy will meet him. If it is women who buy, they will meet him in the farm. If it is men, they will come and meet him in the farm. It is only one-one farmers who will bring what they have farmed to the house and sell. The farmer will sell and finish it inside the farm. That is how it is.
As for the things they use in farming, a long time ago, there was a place they used to go to buy hoes. They went to Krachi. Even salt, men used to go to Krachi and buy it and put it on donkeys, and come and sell it to the women, and the women would take it to the market to sell. But as for these hoes, if they bought the hoes from Krachi, it was the men who would sell it. And anyone who was going to buy hoes and put them on donkeys and bring them, or salt, they were our rich men in Dagbon. Someone will talk and show, “Don’t you know that he buys such-and-such a thing and puts it on donkeys to come and sell?” Those who were following the donkeys and carrying things, if not this man’s nephews, or his junior brothers, then they were people he had collected their debt for them, his slaves. And so go and buy and sell was also the work of men. That was how it was.
But now all the sellings have entered one another. Now on the part of food, the men and the women mix and sell it. This kpalgu, truly, the Mossis had their kpalgu, and if you went to the markets I called — Kumbungu market, Tolon market, Savelugu market — you would see Mossi men who came and sat down to sell; and our Dagbamba women also used to sit and sell, and they are still selling it. Today, men don’t sell kpalgu inside the market in Dagbon here, but they buy kpalgu and take it and go to Kumasi and sell. As for fish, women were the ones selling fish, but now men sell it and women also sell. As it is, is it one person who is selling it? Even pepper, women were selling pepper, but now men also sell it. And so now as we are sitting, it doesn’t stand that “This is what a woman sells” or “This is what a man sells.” But I can separate some of the things the men still sell and the women still sell.
What women don’t buy and sell: if a woman looks after a hen and she wants to sell it, she will give it to a man. If she has a goat, a sheep, or a cow, if she wants to sell, she will give the animal to a man. If a woman wants, she can grow as big as anything: she cannot take what I have counted and go to the market and sell. It is a man who will sell these animals.
Men were selling medicine a long time ago, and even this time we are sitting, a woman cannot sell medicine. I am not talking of the white man’s medicines, the pills. But as for our local medicines, a woman will not sell medicine and a man will buy.
In the markets, the blacksmiths used to make knives, cudgels, spears, or axes. The blacksmiths, the barbers, the weavers, they all had their sitting places in the market. Up till now, they still have them. All of them are there. But as for a woman, she doesn’t become a blacksmith, and women don’t become weavers, and women don’t become barbers.
As for drink, the pito they cook from our guinea corn, it is women who cook it and women who sell it. As for soap, women sell it, because in Dagbon here it is the women who make our local soap, our Dagbamba soap; and men don’t sell it. It is now that women have entered the selling of cloth. Long ago, the women were not selling cloths. What women were selling was thread. When they would spin thread, they would come and sell. But now, if it is dresses, men buy and sell and women buy and sell. Apart from these things I have counted, their sellings enter one another. And this is the talk about markets, and this is what I know about it.