ORIGINS OF GA-DANGMES OF GHANA IN BRIEF
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
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
15 Sachar (Saka) Sachar
16. Dode (Dodi) Dodi
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
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
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.
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
Joseph Nii Abekar Mensah, Calgary, Alberta, Canada