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HEBREW ISRAELITES ORIGINS OF GA-DANGMES OF GHANA IN BRIEF

 Dr. Joseph Nii Abekar Mensah

Oral history had it that Ga-Dangmes people migrated from Israel about 6th Century B.C through Egypt, then to Ethiopia, having been expelled or exiled by the Assyrians (Hebrew Biblical Revelations, July 2008). In Ethiopia, they settled in the Gonder Province in northern Ethiopia, where the Blue Nile originates. That is where the name NAI WULOMO, meaning, HIGH PRIES OFTHE NILE comes from. In 640 B.C, the Assyrians attacked the Ga-Dangmes again while they were in Ethiopia. From Ethiopia, they travelled through Southern Sudan and settled for a period of time at Sameh in Niger and then to Ileife in Nigeria. They migrated again in 1100 A.D and settled at Dahome and later, travelled to Huatsi in Togo where they stayed briefly.

From Huatsi, the Ga-Dangmes travelled to the eastern banks of River Volta (know as JOR). From there, they crossed the Volta River at a place between the Old Kpong and Akuse and established settlements on the plains of Tag-logo where they lived till 1200 A.D. Later, the Ga-Dangmes migrated to the plains of Lorlorvor between Lorlorvor and Osudoku Hills. The Shai occupied a settlement in Shai highlands.

The Ga-Dangmes claim to be descendants DAN and GAD, the fifth and seventh sons of Jacob. Biblical history suggests that Jacob, whom God named YISRAEL had Leah as his wife who gave birth to four sons for him. When Leah noticed that she had passed child-bearing age, she gave her maid servant, ZILPAH to wife. Through Zilpah, Jacob had Dan and Gad and four more sons. Jacob has two sons with Rachel. Gad’s fifth son was Eri who later formed a clan known as Erites (Genesis 30:9, Genesis 46:16, Numbers 26:15-19 and Deuteronomy 3:12; Genesis 30:4-8 3:12.The descendant of Eri, son of Gad are believed to have founded the Nri Kingdom around 900 A.D of the South Eastern and parts of the mid-western Igboland in Nigeria with other tribes of Levi, Zebulon, Ephraim and possibly more. In the Book of numbers, the Bible had made extensive references to the children of Israel, which includes Gad and Dan and their children (Numbers 1:1-54).

Biblical history strongly lends support to the claim by Ga-Dangmes that they are HEBREW ISRAELITES due to the fact Ga-Dangme names are found throughout the OLD TESTAMENT. Examples are: NIIKOILAI (Rev:2, 6, 15); AMASA (2 Samuel 17, 25; 1 Chronicle 33 20-21 DJAANI/JANNE, 2 Timothy 3: 8; AMON, 2 Chronicle 33: 20-21; ASHALE (ASAHEL), 1 Chronicle 2:16, 2 Samuel 2: 18-19.

King AYI KUSHI, spelled Cush in Hebrew, Genesis 10: 6 Jeremiah 13:23, Isaiah 18:12) led the Ga-Dangmes from Cush in Jerusalem to Ayawaso and was the founder of the GA DYNASTY. It is believed that the Ga-Dangmes Kingdom at AYAWASO was the first Kingdom in GHANA. It is interesting that Queen Dode (Dodi) Akabi’s name DODI is a Hebrew Name. Also, the name of the hunter, KADI, who found a group people at OSU DOKU and introduced them to the Nungua Mantse, is a Hebrew name. The Nungua Mantse, in consultation with the Ga Mashi Mantse gave Osu lands to the “KADI GBOI” as people of Osu were referred to.

Ga-Dangmes custom of circumcision of their male born and their patriarch traditions further lend support to their Hebrew Israelites origins (Genesis 17: 1-12). The HOMOWO FESTIVAL (the PASSOVER) celebrated by the Ga-Dnagmes supports their claim that they are Hebrew Israelites, descendants of children of Jacob (Exodus 13: 1-10); Exodus 12: 1-50; Numbers 9:1-5

According to Abbey in his book KEDZI AFO JORDAN (1968), Ga-Dangmes tradition during which they put money in the coffins of their deceased relatives prior to burial is an ancient Hebrew Israelites custom. In ancient Israel of the Bible, the deceased were said to be buried across the river Jordan. Coins placed in the coffins of the deceased believing that their spirits will use it in “paying” for their passage across the River Jordan. The “abayan”, cloth belonging to the deceased, which is torn to pieces, and each piece placed on the left wrist of the deceased relatives and very close friends, is an ancient Jewish custom. Also, the DIPO or OTUFO customs of the Ga-Dangmes are said to be ancient Hebrew Israelites customs. These and ancient traditional customs still observed by Ga-Dangmes clearly lend credence to their claim that they are of Hebrew Israelites origins.

Here are some Ga-Dangmes names and their Hebrew equivalents
Ga-Dangmes Names Hebrew Names

1. Aryeh             Aryeh
2 Afra                Ofra
3. Otto              Yishai
4. Aryelle           Aryelle
5. Ofei               Ofer
6 Ada                Ada
7 Tema              Tema
8 Nunu               Nun
9 Dodoo             Dodo
10 Ashi              Ashi
11 Dangme         Dan
12. Anan            Anan
13. Ga               Gad
14. Abe             Avraham (Abraham)
15 Sachar (Saka) Sachar
16. Dode (Dodi)    Dodi
17. Kadi              Kadi
18. Nerle             Nerli
19 Ayah              Ayah (female)
20 Ayaa              Aya (male)
21. Adama           Adam
22. Nete              Natanel
23. Achimota        Achimot
24. Nungua          Nun
25. Amaa             Amal
26 Abeka             Afeka
27 Omanye          Omen
28. Aku               Akuv
29 Aye               Ayelet
30. Shorme         Shor
31 Nate              Natan
32. Tago             Taga
33. Gama            Gamal
34 Achi               Achi
35 Ashitey           Ashi
36.Sabra             Sabra
37.Adon              Adon
38.Gali                Gali
39 Gai
40 Ade                Adel
41.Amaa             Amal
42.Aryelle           Aryelle

The Holy Bible and GaDangme Proverbs.
Let us consider or evaluate few of GaDangmes values and proverbs in the light of Biblical teaching, which point to their Hebrew Israelites origins.

The GaDangmes call to make the right use of opportunity and act appropriately is affirmed in Biblical texts like the popular passage that there is time for everything under the sun (Ecclesciates 3: 1-8), Bei ye keha nofeeno”

Again, the Bible teaching on cause and effect and the boomerang reaction are echoed in Deuteronomic principle which runs throughout the Bible. The Bible teaches that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6: 7-10) GaDangmes say, “Noni oduo le, no obaakpa”

Justice, fairness and impartiality are counseled in GaDangme proverbs: “Ke okee nwei no le, okei shikpon no”. The idea expressed here is essentially the same as the one expressed in Deuteronomy 16: 18-20 concerning the appointment of judges and administration of justice in ancient Israel.

The Dangmes also acknowledges that blessing comes from the truth as stated in their saying: “Anokwale joo ka tsui he”, meaning telling the truth cools down the angry heart”. The Bible teaches that knowing the truth makes one heart free. (John 8: 32), and speaking the truth to one another makes for harmony (Ephesians 4: 20-32)

The desire and counsel for peace and reconciliation is expressed in the Ga proverb: “Ajo ajo le esee be sane” This means that peace brings no trouble in its wake. Similar sentiments are expressed in Mathews 5: 25-26; Romans 12: 14-21, where people are advised to make peace and not seek litigation or revenge.

Knowledge and wisdom are NOT the monopoly of any one person. This means that we should confer with others in order to benefit from their wisdom. The Dangme proverb: “Yi kake ye da mi” or the Ga proverb: “Yitso kome eyaa ajina”, meaning one head does not sit in counsel. Proverbs 3: 7 and Romans 12: 16 advise us not to claim any special wisdom, and in 1 Corinthians 1 and 2, the Apostle Paul shows the limitations of human wisdom.

WE SHALL CONTINUE THIS INTERESTING DISCUSSION ON GADANGME PROVERBS AND VALUES IN MY FUTURE WRITINGS.

Anyone interested in verifying the above names and more Ga-Dangmes names of Hebrew origins may go to Google.ca, type in MY HEBREW NAMES and search. For details about Hebrew Israelites Origins of Ga-Dangmes, please, refer to the newly published book entitled: GADANGMES OF GHANA:HEBREW ISRAELITES ORIGINS AND TRADITIONAL CUSTOMS by Dr. Joseph Nii Abekar Mensah, PhD. (403-698-5271.

The foregoing supports the Jewish historian, Tamar Kempt, contention in his writing, THE LOST TRIBES OF AFRICA that the ancestors of Ga-Dangmes and some other Africans “have always known who they are or what their descendants is, and they remember their oral history and their connections to their past when their ancestors reigned supreme in the Motherland (Israel)”. Tamar Kempt (2008) described the Ga-Dangmes as authentic Hebrews.

 

Dr. Joseph Nii Abekar Mensah, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
 

   

 

 

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