A Drummer's Testament
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Chapter III-14:  How Children Live When They Are Young   <PDF file>

How children live with their parents; eating; friends and peer groups; games and dances of children; how children are trained; formal education: Arabic and English schools; vocational training

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

Simpa gallery (19 images)

Simpa recordings
Atikatika photos (forthcoming)

Contents outline and links by paragraph  <top of page>

What the parents teach a child

1. child has to be shown the people in the family
2. child has to be fed
3. child has to be taught right and wrong
4. can beat, but not too much; other ways to control: talk or look at the child
5. shouting sometimes, not other times

How children eat

6. money to buy food outside; sometime give and other times not
7. children follow food and where they can eat
8. how children eat and share food
9. sharing food teaches children friendship

How children mingle and play

10. children roam and learn how to live together
11. can observe children playing to know their character or future; nicknames
12. can observe children to see their weaknesses and strength
13. children quarrel and play; adults should not become involved

Kpara ni Jansi, or Atikatika

14. children can have influence; Kpara ni Jansi, Atikatika
15. some people say that Atikatika spoiled Dagbon
16. nothing happens without a reason; Kpara ni Jansi came at the same time Dagbon spoiled
17. meaning of Kpara ni Jansi
18. Kpara ni Jansi started in Tamale and spread in Dagbon; chiefs stopped it many places

Dances children dance

19. formerly children dance Baamaaya, Takai, Tɔra, and other dances
20. Gumbɛ from Kotokolis; later became Simpa; originally used wooden dalgu, then frame-drums called taamaale, and now metal dalbihi; girls dance it
21. before that, Amajiro and Lua were the popular dances of children
22. go to nearby towns to play and watch; return home late and climb the wall of the house to enter
22. Anakulyɛra, a recent dance; use the beating of Amajiro
23. children bring new dances that become old dances; children start many things

Games children play

24. many games; they resemble children’s games of other towns
25. Biɛɣyaaneea / Biɛɣyaamooya; like hide and seek
26. Tuutirɛ; like sock tag
27. Saamiya murga
28. Sibri sibri
29. Kuraya kuraya; like hot potato
30. A daa lan daai ma; Vooli (tug of war); Salangbari; Nooparsima yaɣli
31. games and songs for particular times: Ŋum mali chɛrga
32. all these game are good; only Kpari ni Jansi is useless


33. four to five years, Muslim school to learn Holy Qu’ran; not everyone
34. children show the type of school they want; some learn English; some learn trades
35. school children are sensible and also foolish
36. sense or foolishness depends on how God made the child to be; schooling hardens children
37. those who learn trades become used to having money; at risk to become thieves
38. better to send children to school; send different children to different types of school
39. Alhaji Ibrahim did not go to school for reading and writing, but has knowledge of Dagbon because was raised in a village; next topics about village children

Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

They show a child everything, but on the part of food, they don’t show a child much.

When a fish is dry, you cannot bend it.

If a child is young and you beat him and he becomes hardened, then you cannot keep him again.

You cannot force a child, because a child is not a sheep that you will tie.

You will hold a child with the tongue, and you will hold him with the eyes.

The name of the child is: “It is there.”

How children live, where there is no eating, you won’t see them there.

A child plays in the house where he always eats and is satisfied.

When you see children gathered, playing, if you look inside the children, you will see the one who is the leader among them. If you watch and look, you will come to see that they eat in his house.

Good children don’t want to eat alone.

“Good thoughts, good thoughts: they do good works.”

If a child roams, he will learn how to live.

When children gather, old people look at them,

Inside the playing of the children, the children have talks.

How a child starts is how he ends.

Where children are gathered, whatever happens, when they are going to disperse, if there is no quarrel there, then you must know that some bad thing is lying there.

How children live: “Come let us fight; come let us play.”

You shouldn’t enter into the quarrels of children. If you enter their talks, you will come to stand alone.

Every child is everybody’s child.

A child’s fighting does not go far,

A talk that has never happened and you do it, you will see some talk that has never happened.

When a wolf cries and a goat is lost, who has caught it?

What is forbidden, no one has ever seen it.

What is forbidden does not walk. It is only watching you will watch.

Trouble does not come because of nothing, and if trouble wants to come, it goes to attach itself to something.

Just like the way that no one will remain in this world: every talk has got its meaning,

Baboons and monkeys: they look like one another.

It’s not all dances I go to stand and look, because a dance you are not supposed to see, you don’t go to look at it.

It is proverbs which a person takes to do work.

If you want to see our Dagbon way of life, you watch the children, because it is the children who start it.

Children bring good things into a town.

It is where people are many that a person gets sense, and it is where there are many people that there is foolishness.

It is in the schools that the children learn to live with one another.

Key words for ASCII searches  <top of page>

Chiefs and elders

Musical terms
Anakulyera  (Anakulyɛra)
A na kul yera  (A na kul yɛra)
Gumbe  (Gumbɛ)
Jera  (Jɛra)
Kpara ni Jansi
Kpara ni Jansi be nman' taba  (Kpara ni Jansi bɛ ŋman' taba)
Tora  (Tɔra)
Tuubaankpilli  (Tuubaaŋkpilli)
Num mali cherga, nun chem kulga, jaa naa jee, ti chem kulga  (Ŋum mali chɛrga, ŋun chɛm kulga, jaa naa jɛɛ, ti chɛm kulga)

Children's games and terms
A daa lan daai ma, daam' ka lan nya
Biegyamooya  (Biɛɣyaamooya)
Biegyaaneeya  (Biɛɣyaaneeya)
Kuraya Kuraya
Kuraya Kuraya, Kurjanjan
Nooparsima yagli  (Nooparsima yaɣli)
Saamiya Murga
Saamiya murga, saa saa murga, saa saamiya murga, saa saa murga.
Sibri Sibri
Sibri yaa yoo, Yaa Sibri
Tuutire  (Tuutirɛ)

Names and people
Osmanu (Ibrahim)

Towns and places

Cultural groups

Miscellaneous terms
Holy Qur'an
kpo  (sound of knocking)
sagim  (saɣim)
tizugu  (tizuɣu)