When I was growing up as child, and until today, I hear people mention in their conversations, “aba gyimii bre”. They do this to compare what was happening in time past in the life and development of Ghana and what is happening today. Therefore, when was that period classed as “aba gyimii bre” in the history of Ghana and why was it so?
The “aba gyimii bre”, to wit, the era of lack of civilization in the life, or history, of Ghana, is referred to the period of our forebears.
The modern-day Ghanaian thinks our ancestors were not civilized enough, did things in a manner that was despicable and unworthy of human being. I beg to differ.
Our ancestors had the best means of explaining things and or, deter their wards or members of their household or community from committing crimes or misbehaving themselves.
Our ancestors in those days said things like these, “if you are in the bathroom having a bath and singing at the same time, your mother will die” and “if you sweep your room or house by night, you are sweeping away your fortune”, etc.
The fact that they could not scientifically explain or did not want to expound why they were saying those things in the ways they did, they meant good for their children, grandchildren, their hearers, and the generations yet unborn.
If you are bathing and singing simultaneously, you can choke on the lather or water streaming down your face from your head. That could be deadly sometimes. They wanted to stop such mishap by telling you about such attitude in the bathroom could lead to your mum’s demise.
As you wouldn’t want to have your mum dead, you will not be singing while having a bath.
Again, when sweeping during the night, you could inadvertently lose your precious little things by sweeping them away. There was no electricity in our villages in those days but lanterns that could not emit sufficient light to see everywhere.
They had measures and traditional policies in place, explained in their own wisdom and ways that put fear in people to stay away from committing unnecessary crimes, unlike in today’s modern-day Ghana.
Our forefathers were farsighted enough to see the value of forests, rivers and lands as means of the survivability and sustainability of human life hence asking the members of their community not to visit certain forests that they had been demarcated for this or that god.
Forests aid rainfall and we know the importance of rainwater not only in farming but resourcing our rivers.
In their days, nobody dared remove a game from a neighbour’s trap to proceed to enjoy it as though, the trap was set by themselves. Anyone finding an animal ensnared in a trap laid by a neighbour, would remove the animal, put it aside, place leaves on it and go and inform the owner of the trap about his find.
In that era, all of them were honest and rendered service to one another, dedicated themselves to serving their community and the people therein.
Nevertheless, the modern-day Ghanaians refer to them and their era as “aba gyimii bre”,
Our forefathers thought about the future generations by preserving lands, forests, and water bodies for their use. However, the present day Ghanaian traditional leaders are selling all the lands and pocketing the money as though, tomorrow never come. They are destroying our water bodies, arable/fertile lands, and forests through the sale of the lands for illegal small scale and alluvial mining (galamsey).
I can go on and on and on, to prove that our forefathers that we mock for being uncivilized were a million times over wiser than the present day corrupt and myopic Ghanaians.
Our current traditional chiefs and politicians are the epitome of how uncivilized, insatiably greedy, corrupt, and myopic the present-day Ghanaians are. They have almost sold off all the lands, pocketed the proceeds for their personal use and are lording themselves over their subjects as though, they are the creators of the subjects.
Let me not talk about the politicians who are as bad as, if not worse than, the traditional chiefs.
To finalise, once my deceased cousin, Kwaku Ankrah, to be precise my father’s nephew who was a year or two my senior, told me the following. I was returning from farm and when I reached Abotanso, I decided to take some rest as usual. We struck a conversation, the origin of which I cannot remember, since it happened over fifty years ago.
During the conversation, he said when he goes to bath, he starts from his foot and works it up towards his head. I told him no, that is not good because you will be taking the dirt from your feet to the upper part of your body.
I told him I start from the head downwards. I wash the dirt downwards.
He explained that the elders say, if you wash from the head downwards, you are washing away your worthiness and glory.
The elders by their reason to wash from the feet upwards were right. It was to prevent us from suffering from stroke which can easily occur if you wash from the head downwards due to differences in body temperature as opposed to that of the surrounding area or environment.
The way they explained it would let one be mindful of not losing their respect by washing them away, although it really had to do with the avoidance of contracting a stroke.
Let me quote the following to support my point about how our ancestors were wiser. “Researchers now know that the physics behind this environmental phenomenon apply also to brain activity. In a paper published in the Journal of Neural Engineering, researchers found that small increases in temperature while stimulating the brain can profoundly alter brain activity, sometimes with negative consequences”.
From the above, how dare us treat our forefathers as people without civilization and their era “aba gyimii bre”? They knew how best to cool down the body temperature gradually from the feet upwards before it gets to the head to not quickly alter the brain temperature to cause any negative consequences.
The modern-day Ghanaians with all their deplorable negativities drawing them back when compared to our white contemporaries are the real “aba gyimiifoɔ”.