21.11.2007 General News

Rituals For Witch Tree

21.11.2007 LISTEN
By Daily Guide

THE OFANKOR Chief and elders last Friday performed 'Olilah' rituals to break the resilience of the mysterious onyina tree standing as tall as the 'Tower of Babel' at the Ofankor Barrier.

The tree, which is standing in the way of a road construction from Achimota to Ofankor has to be cut to expedite work on the project.

The tree is said to be the habitat of certain marine spirits and is alleged to have resisted all attempts to cut it down.

Numerous chain-saw machines which were used in an attempt to cut it down were said to have broken down, and a bulldozer manned by a senior officer of the Chinese construction company undertaking the project could not pull down the tree either.

Though a witch hunter, Prof. Sabo Azeez, punctured the mysterious aura surrounding the tree when he succeeded in cutting about eighty per cent of its stem, he was quickly booted out and a fine slapped on him for intruding into the community shrine without permission.

Friday night's ritual was to exorcise the tree and make it amenable to cutting.

The function witnessed a heavy presence of white-clad Ga chief priests and priestesses as well as the asafo groups of the 43 villages under the Asere stool.

Traditional rhythms throbbed powerfully from the beating of the asafo drums, accompanied by traditional melodies which pierced the silence of the night.

Libations were poured and prayers offered to the local deities while a cow, a sheep and fowls were slaughtered for the rituals.

DAILY GUIDE learnt that wares of some road side hawkers were vandalized and they were warned not to sell till the rituals had been completed.

However, when yours truly visited the town on Saturday morning, the hawkers though apprehensive, were seen selling.

In a chat with the Chief Linguist, Nii Ashietey Tetteh on phone, he said all the allegations were false because the pavements along the road were virtually empty at the time the rituals started around 11: PM.

He said a police team even came to observe the activities for a time and left after realizing that all was well. He announced that another ritual is slated for coming Saturday with the last one scheduled for Friday, November 30.

“After that, we shall then decide when the tree will go,” he stressed.

By Mike Avickson