MIGRATION INTO SOUTHERN GHANA TERITORIES: A BRIEF ANALYSIS

By Desmond Ayim-Aboagye (Ph.D.)
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By Desmond Ayim-Aboagye (Ph.D.)

4/16/2009 10:42:15 AM -

World history as a whole is young. And so is the origination of man and his later descendants on this planet relatively young. This has influenced the numerous settlements made by human beings during successive years on the planet. Even though Africa was the continent human beings originally evolved, recent developments had revealed that the spreading of man into all other corners of this pioneer continent began later. It is as a result of this that we find certain people migrating to join others who they had no knowledge of who they were and what language they spoke. Presently, migration is taking place all over the corners of this earth, as many people run away from catastrophes, wars, famine, and religious persecution.

Persons or a group of individuals can decide to move to another country or region to stay temporary to work and then later decide to return home to their former environments. Such individuals or group (who may be called guests) may not be interested in getting a deeper knowledge of their new environment and its people. As a result, they may not form bonds or have new identities with those natives living in that country. Such casual exploration may be devoid of deep affection and the will to become part of the group that originally hails from this particular country or land.

But there may be persons or a group of adventurous individuals that will consider their migration a matter of staying permanently in the land where they will form identities and bonds (a form of naturalisation). Such individuals may form a smaller segment of those people living in this particular country. They then become part of the larger group, which may consequently imply that they have accepted the natives as their family and therefore have decided to be part of them. Now, such bold decisions entail a lot of commitments which may even imply that a person learns their host peoples' language and culture in order to make adaptation become easier. Such group members may decide to change their names and also consider intermarriages as one way of becoming fully part of these natives who inhabited there before they migrated to that vicinity.

This illustration has something to do with the history and migration of the Akan-Ewe and Akan-Ga into the country where they have lived for more than 300 years. As their descendants migrated into this country as intruders they came to meet the Akans, large ethnic groups that lived in the hinterland of modern Ghana. These ethnic groups include the Akan-Ashantis, Akan-Akwapim, Akan-Akyem, Akan-Denyira, Akan-Bono, Akan-Fantes, and many others. The Akans had their brothers and cousins in the northern parts; these had also remained smaller groups of people that inhabited their northern territories. These people never saw any need of becoming lasting enemies to those new people that migrated there into their southern territories, so in the end they had a cordial relationship which enabled intermarriages to occur as well as name changes to occur. Some of the adopted names include 'Mensah,' 'Sabea,' 'Asamoah,' 'Adase,' 'Dwemoh,' 'Manu,' 'Afriyie,'and many more. Today, some of these groups still consider themselves as hundred percent Ewe or Ga, but in reality we do not have hundred percent descendants of these groups but instead Akan-Ewe and Akan-Ga for the simple reason that, the land they moved and settled on originally belonged to the Akan ethnic groups. But when they decided to stay for good in order to become part of the natives of these groups of people, they somehow agreed to be part of them. This is testified by the fact over the years there had been assimilation between both sizes of these ethnic groups which is well-recognised as a positive sign. Presently, the two tribes of Akan-Ewe that lived in the Akan-Fante territories are totally lost; one cannot identify any of them as separate groups that migrated into Ghana. They have changed their names and many have even changed their identities beyond recognition. Not only have they taken the names of the Akan-Fantes, but also they have intermarried with the Akan-Fantes, which have consequently led to their total assimilation into the Akan-Fante tribes that lived in coastal Ghana. This being a tremendous positive sign for the country had enabled Ghana to progress and lived in peace, and had also avoided many conflicts which would have been erupted had it happened in any other part of the African continent.

The main thesis of this piece of work is to illustrate that today there are no hundred percent Ewe groups or Ga groups living in Ghana but rather Akan-Ewe and Akan-Ga groups, and therefore, the people of Ghana should be made aware of that and to recognise this as so, so that unity will prevail. When a person moves to a place and decides to stay there forever, this person forms his new identity with the group living there, and so just as the African-Americans will, for example, see themselves as Africans but still Americans, the Ewes and Gas are also Ewes and Gas but also Akans. The northerners are brothers and cousins of the Akan groups in Ghana, in fact, some of these bonds can be traced back easily. Akans do not have problem with these people for they understand each other that they have common ancestors. The fact that these two groups of people, that is, the Ewe and Ga groups, moved into Ghana and settled in the country within the last 400 years ago and they decided to stay but did not to move back to Nigeria and other neighbouring plains/mangroves (where they originally hail from), they accepted to be part of the Akan tribes that lived or inhabited in these lands prior to their migration here. As we have the African-Americans presently in the USA, so also today we have in Ghana the Akan-Ewes and Akan-Gas groups.

I hereby suggest to historians, ethnologists, geographers, and anthropologists that we should be able to make these corrections so that what we have now on the maps and in books will remain as facts and consequently fit to observation. Probably, this knowledge of all being Akans with one common identity, will change the perception of modern Ghanaians to allow this knowledge to make it easier and possible when we are planning to introduce and utilise only Ashanti language (together with the English as the Second Language) in future Ghana.

Disclaimer: "The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article." © Desmond Ayim-Aboagye (Ph.D.).

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