Monday, April 18, 2011

The day of the wake! Togbega's funeral 1

Today I woke up next door to a dead person. Infact I could see the bed he was lying in from my sleeping position! After being woken up by the gunshots, drumming and women mourning i made my way outside. The place i was staying was built specially to house the dead chief Togbega. He has been dead two years now and finally it is time for him to be sent to the other side to be with the Ancestors.

As I made may way out of my air conditioner sleeping place I see people busy tidying up the area after last nights wake keeping. There was either a live band or loud dancing music to follow. I took part on both as much I could!

Everyone around is adorned in red! This gives some the chance to wear their Manchester united shirts whilst others buy either a togbega t shirt or the special cloth. (which I'm wearing in the form of a shirt as I type this) those who can not afford still join in by wearing anything read they can find. Scalves, football bibs and old tshirts, all in red, are everywhere!

You may wonder how I end up sleeping in the building built to house the dead chief whilst he lays in state, that will follow shortly!

Togbega was the paramount Chief of Agave Traditional State and had ruled from 1992 until 2009 and his untimely death at the age of 55. Togbega was someone I respected very much and was fortunate enough to have the chance to speak to at great length. As well as interviewing him for my thesis I also went to him in his traditional role in order to ask his advice on a project I was managing in a local village. Of course the advice was so good and I can certainly credit him with te success of the project. His words were always humbly accepted!

Now I am waiting for some breakfast at Evelyns (a friend and mother from long ago) The breakfast is kind of strange but quite refreshing after being woken up by a cannon!

My tea, sugar bread, Carrots and cucumber!

Mummy Evelyn and Giftee! My political family

(Please forgive me for now going to past tense!! I am no longer at the funeral!)

On Friday evening I made the journey to Dabala in the Volta region to keep wake at togbega's funeral.
Unfortunately, due to work constraints (bloody work!) I could not attend the start of the funeral from Tuesday, but I was determined to keep wake on Friday night. I got there, changed into my funeral wear ate some Banku and then headed to the palace to watch the big screen where they were showing videos from throughout Togbega's reign. Was really wonderful to see the people giving so much respect for a traditional leader. The Church spends a lot of time castigating the traditional practices and I am happy that people still maintain the strength to respect traditional rulers.

During the video, I had the honour to sit with and talk with some of the late chiefs family. In fact, as you can see I became quite close with his older sister who swiftly proposed to me! (Of course I accepted! Would be rude not to right?!) And that was when they insisted that I sleep in the building specially built to house Togbega as he lay in State.  They were worried as to where i would sleep and made me promise to come to the airconditioned room with the family  if I don't have anywhere. It was extremely lovely of them and I appreciated the few hours of cool sleep i got.

Anyway, after the video, I went out to the mini street party that was happening. I danced and drunk with the locals for sometime, watched the live band at the palace and then decided that it was about time I lay my head down. Now we have come full circle to where I started the post! I will continue saturdays events in the next post.


Offering theif. Crediting his account

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