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27.03.2006 Regional News

Chief says eclipse portends nothing special


Aflao, March 27, GNA - Togbi Hor II, Makorsor (Paramount Chief) of the Some Traditional Area in the Volta region, asserts that there is no meaning to the eclipse of the sun in the culture of the Ewes. He told the Ghana News Agency in Agbozume in the Ketu district that just as the previous total eclipse in 1947, which he personally observed, did not come with any happening, the upcoming celestial event does not signify any omen.

The Chief's assertion was corroborated by the authorities of a popular shrine at nearby town of Nogokpo called Zakadza, who held that eclipses were natural phenomena, which bore no meaning and relationship with the worship, practices and beliefs in their cult.

Midawo Agbadi, who heads the cult, said he and his followers were not expecting any major happening before or after the eclipse. He reiterated the need for people wishing to view the occurrence to use specially designed solar shades, and not their naked eyes. In a related interview, Minawo Avagavegbo, chief priest in charge of Zadokeli-Fe (Eclipse House) at Avoeme-Aflao, a cult named after a past eclipse, told the GNA that relics forming her shrine descended from the skies during an eclipse centuries ago.

She said the gods have demanded alcoholic drinks, water and cola nuts as part of a libation ceremony to be performed on the eve of the Wednesday's eclipse.

However, she said, the intrinsic spiritual connection between the shrine and the eclipse was yet to be fully grasped. Minawo Avagayegbo, 78, said the divination of the shrine, irrespective of the day-to-day practices, depended on visions and results of soothsayers.

She said she was an initiate of the shrine when the last eclipse occurred in 1947.

The GNA gathered during its rounds that the news of the eclipse had reached both young and old in the area, mainly through radio broadcast from neighbouring Togo, which are popular with the communities. The GNA also found that due to either poverty or ignorance, many listeners, including adults, were sceptical about the warnings against the use of naked eyes to view the eclipse with some of them believing that nothing happened to such viewers.

The GNA also learnt that the special spectacles were not readily available for sale in the area.

A pharmacy operator, near the Ghana-Togo border in Aflao, said residents of Aflao were buying the solar shades from Togo where it was cheaper and available at many Pharmacies. The authorities in Togo have declared the March 29, a public holiday to enable parents and guardian take care of their children during the eclipse.