The "Inward-Looking" Couple Vs. The Rest Of Us
When I was in secondary school, I had a biology teacher called Mr. Kofi Jakpasu. Once while teaching our class about genetics, Mr. Jakpasu had the temerity to assert that his Ewe ethnic group practiced the healthiest form of coitus or conjugal relationship in the country.
And as an example of sexual aberration, the recent national-service graduate of Cape Coast University cited cross-cousin marriage among the Akan as a typical example of an unhealthy and unenlightened sexual practice.
He also claimed without any hard statistical evidence that there prevailed more birth defects among the Akan than his Ewe clansmen and women.
The definitive thrust of Mr. Jakpasu's argument, or rather tirade, was that the Ewe were typically healthier and stronger than their Akan compatriots. What he had not bothered to explain was how it came about that the Akan, initially the Akwamu, had crossed the Volta River and conquered, dominated and literally made political mince-meat of their Ewe neighbors all the way to the Yoruba borders of present-day Nigeria.
Indeed, it just well may have been that in seeking to "scientifically" damn the Akan, Kofi Jakpasu was responding to the widely reported accusation by Mr. Victor Owusu, during Ghana's First Republic, that the Ewe were a pathologically inward-looking people.
In retrospect, Mr. Owusu's tirade which had reportedly erupted in a heated exchange with the late Dr. Agama, a Danquah-Dombo-Busia stalwart and former governor of the Bank of Ghana, in parliament, was not altogether unfounded, though we must also hasten to add the fact that neither was it unique to the Ewe.
Whatever the real case may be, the recent media report of the patently tabooed instance of incestuous cohabitation between a 38-year-old man from Dzodze-Ablorme, in the Volta Region, and his 29-year-old sister, reminded me of my high school biology teacher in the late 1970s at Okwawu-Nkwatia's St. Peter's Secondary School. After the said pronouncement, I completely lost respect for Mr. Kofi Jakpasu.
I lost respect for Mr. Jakpasu because growing up at Akyem-Asiakwa, I knew quite a remarkable number of Ewe migrants none of whom was known to have married outside their Ewe ethnic group or sub-nationality.
There were, however, quite a remarkable number of cases, including that of one of my maternal uncles, Wofa Kwabena Okwanin, who had either married or was openly cohabiting with an Ewe woman, Daavi Arku, from the Keta area of the Volta Region.
Indeed, legend had it that at the time of my circumcision sometime at the beginning of the 1960s, at three months, or so, old, it was Daavi Arku who had held me in her arms while the "Wanzam" attacked my mini-space-shuttle with deft and inimitable precision.
My own mother, Auntie Attaa, had been too afraid and blood-shy to hold me up. She had actually ran and hidden behind one of the dozen,or so, doors in the Presbyterian Church Minister's Manse at Asante-Akyem Bompata, where I was also baptized.
At any rate, what piqued my interest more than any other aspect of the Dzodze-Ablorme incest story is the fact that like my high school biology teacher, the man involved is also called Mr. Dzakpasu - Prosper Dzakpasu, to be exact.
Now, isn't the first name of our subject of incest taboo rather ironic; for the reckless practice of incest, such as has been reported of Mr. Dzakpasu, diametrically contradicts the very notion of "prosperity" (See "Dzodze Man Marries Sister; After Bonking Her [For] 12 Years" Modernghana.com 4/16/13).
That the chief and people of Dzodze-Ablorme do not seem to have been able to do anything punitively deterrent about such conjugal act of unpardonable moral perversion, in fact a veritable abomination, staggers my imagination. In the past, such act would have been deemed to be a heinous crime against society and the couple would have since long been driven out of the community.
Which is not to say that as morally disturbing as it may seem, the Dzakpasu scandal, for that is actually what it is, is not totally unheard of in other parts of the country.
To be certain, similar cases of incest happen all the time, all over the country and the world. One just need to turn on the television in any American city and tune in to such decadent programs as "Jerry Springer" and the "Maury Povitch Show" to confirm one's worst nightmare about the abject depths of moral bestiality to which the human animal can sink.
What the preceding simply means is that humans as a species may not have come as far away, morally, into civilization as we would like to have ourselves think and believe. We may well be incurably and bestially lecherous and slutty at heart, when one ponders matters deeply, as it were.