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04.09.2019 Feature Article

Bolga In The 80’s – 3 Names Children Will Not Forget

“Children children give way, the bicycle is zulgable”. And these were the regular words of Jigga man of Jigga man pillows. He was a go happy man who made and sold pillows for a living. His bicycle was a phoenix brand, old and without brakes. He was noted to trade his pillows which were heaped on the carrier (back seat), riding throughout Bolga and its environs. One would usually hear him announce his presence “Jigga, Jigga - jigga the whole corner, jigga man pillows calling”. Children did not have money to buy pillows but will anticipate that announcement so they/we could come out and see the heap of pillows on the bike and also enjoy a conversation with him for he liked children. Oh, yes and to his first quote “children children give way, the bicycle is zulgable”. The word zulgable was actually coined from a Gurune (frafra), word ‘Zulge’ meaning, sloping. He will mean the bicycle is descending a slop by saying its zulgable – needless to remind that, his bike had no brakes so the caution had to be sound to avoid children crossing him and the attendant accidents related with that.

Then was Yellow Yellow. Yellow Yellow was not from Bolga but was one who walked through out Ghana, starting from Accra. He was also called Kaak Dee. The name Yellow Yellow came from the outfit he wore when he came to Bolga (they were yellow). All basic or primary schools were made to line up on the streets of Bolga awaiting his arrival from wherever he was coming. He became the hero of children for walking from Accra to all the parts of Ghana - Bolga being our interest. Subsequently, every child wanted to be Yellow Yellow (someone may know his real name).

Then was Appiah who sold bread. He sold his bread with complimentary jam or butter for free. One will see him with his hand held cart with loaves of bread amidst the announcement – ‘butter yooo, jam yooo’ meaning, free butter and free jam. We loved his bread for it came with freebies.

Then, for indigenous music Lovers, there was Akiller. Akiller was the leader of a traditional drumming band (Gulgo). His music resonated with both the old and young. In such days when other forms of entertainment were rare compared to now, Akiller and his group were the toast of the funerals that served the major entertainment for the people of Bolga and its environs. Alas, whiles drumming to a funeral, children may follow them without thinking how far Akiller and his group would go. One will come home late to the obvious – lashing by parents. But Akiller had his competitor – Asupaman (Spyman). I remember one of the hit songs of Asupaman;

Biya da dohe, poka da dohe ge asupaman wo yirrge

Koma zoya(2 times), ge Asuparman wo yirrge
But Akiller also became mre vsible with his award winning song ‘Akiller ku ma ge vo-ohe’

Other drummers at the time were Apolooo and Abombay. We will conclude this peace with my all time favorite of Abombay.

Abombaay, ti mmire ge kula la Yorrgo
Yorrgo Abombaaay, ti mmire ge kula la Yorrgo

Fred Awaah
Fred Awaah, © 2019

This author has authored 9 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: FredAwaah

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