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The Story of HO

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The Ewe Peoples: Culture & TraditionsThe Story of HO

Traditions of origin suggest that they had migrated with a related group-the Ewe-speaking people from southern Nigerian. It is certain that the Ewe originally were in sphere of influence of the old Ayo Empire that flourished in the southern

The lack of central authority there, and the insecurity to life and property compelled the ewe people to migrate westwards and finally settled between the River Mano and Haho at a place called Notsie which is on the modern railway line from Lome to to Atakpame in modern Togo Republic.

Thus Notsie (or Hogbe or Hogbefe) became the ancestral home of Ho, and all the Ewe lived in it. Another name for Notsie is Glime. Most old men call Notsie by this name which means ‘’within the walls’’.

The first Afeto of Notsie, was kind-hearted and they lived together in peace and harmony .they constructed a thick clay wall which had one gate around the settlement for their own safety.

When Afeto passed away, a cruel king called Agokoli reigned over them, when he decided that a magnificent house should be built for him, he instructed that sharp objects such as thorns and cacti be thrown into the mould so that as the men stamped on to mould the mud, they got severely injured an suffered painful lacerations. The mythical or semi-legendary king continued to torment his subject who later decided to deliver themselves from tyrannical and blood-thirsty monarch.

On day their ancestors congregated near the wall and pretended celebrating a festival. Immediately, one of the Ho ancestors called Atiakpo took a sword, held it up the sky.

And then touch the ground. After he had gestured with the sword three times over the heads of the congregation, he looked out into the open, pushed the part of the wall down with the sword to enable them walk across the rubble into safety.

The Ho or Aso people were the first to leave: they were followed by the Akoviefe, but the Abutia and the Kleve people hurried to overtake them. On account of this peculiar feat, all the Ewe speaking people were thankful to the forefathers of Ho for helping to escape from the city unnoticed. That is why the people named them Azokli: which is now pronounced Asogli.

Traditions hold that immediately outside the wall, they retreated backwards, and advanced a little further before turning their back again to the wall. The king had them pursued, but when they discovered that their footsteps pointed towards the wall, they became confused and returned to the deserted city.

The sword with which they stabbed the wall was brought by the Banyakoe elder called Afede, and is being preserved in his town. The larger section of the fugitives took a western course, while smaller section dispersed northwards. The Ho people did not progress directly to any predetermined locality, but wandered long in north-western direction till they made a stop at Hodze were there was water, they cultivated beans. On account of this, the Ga people them AYIGBE i.e “bean people.”

Later, they left this place, complaining that this lowland was dark and would prefer to settle on higher altitude from where they could see far and wide. The initial settlement was located between the Tavieve mountain and Akoefe at a place called Hofedo, i.e.” deserted settlement of the Ho.”

In earlier times the people of Ho, Akovieve and Takla lived together in the territory of Komedrale at Dzampekpo. They felt hemmed in, and moreover the Tavieve people constantly harassed them: so the Ho people settled in Wuflu, while the Banyakoe lived between two streams. Legend has it that a hunter called Dzaba came across the stream Alale which was flowing gently (“lalaala”), and the river was named Alele. Again the same hunter came across another stream with a lot of aho grass (with shape blade), so he named the streams Aholo. Therefore all the palm trees growing along the banks of the two streams automatically became the property of Dzaba.

The Ho people are descendants from three maternal families namely; Ho, Akovieve and Takla with Kpenoe. The migrant leader of Ho had a paternal brother called Hodemekoe who was the father of Akovieve. This means that the Ho and Akoviefe belong to one family or brothers. This is why it was the Akovieve who first followed the Ho people during the mass exodus from Notsie, and had been migratory brothers.

The father of Akoviefe and Ho was called Kakla whose son was Akoe, the offspring of Akoviefe. the second son of kakla was Aso who fathered the Ho ancestors, hence Aso or Ho. the third son of kakla was letsu who gave birth to letsuviwo.

The towns belonging to Ho are Banyakoe, Heve, Ahoo and Ahliha. Legend has it that when they migrated from Notsie they carried four things with them-a royal stool a sword and two bundles. When they opened the first bundle, they found mysterious water stone, and in the second they found rubbish. That is why the Ahiha people serve water, while the Banya Koe runs the market.

The encounter with hostile people, their experiences and sufferings on the way, and the Akwamu and Asante’s invasion (1869) form the background of the history of the Ho people.

History recalls that in June 1869, the Asante army under General Ado Bofuo attacked Ho and arrested Monsieur Bonnat, a French trader, suspecting that he was selling ammunition, they promptly executed his two Muiatto assistants and took Bonnat a prisoner to Kumase. At Ho the mission station was plundered and burned; the church bell, which crash from the blazing ruins, was carried in triumph to Kumase.

Reference: JAKOB SPIETH: “The Ewe People”- A study of the Ewe people in Togo, Berlin 1906. The Oldest Traditions of the Ho People p.64 – 76.

Source: THE SPECTATOR/Ghana, Saturday, January 5, 2013, Page 31



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