Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Togbega funeral! Part 2

So the day of the funeral, after waking up (woken by the cannon!) and having breakfast I managed to catch a shower (bucket shower..cold water!) at Mummy Evelyns house. After feeling refreshed I put on my funeral shirt and headed out on my way to the palace and the funeral grounds.

I now know what it feels like to turn up wearing the same clothing as someone else!
I met with Gifty (from the previous blog) and we joined the queue to go and see Togbega laying in state. Of course I had been in the building all night and could see his bed, but I had not actually gone to see him. We gave a little donation and after a wait we finally moved inside. First the wife and children were there to greet everyone. I noticed straight away that the young son (about 15) had great poise and demeanor for a young man at his fathers funeral. The two sisters (both beautiful) were next to him clearly struggling with such a hard occasion. Throughout the whole ceremony the whole family showed themselves in such a good light. I have an awful lot of respect for all of them.

Romeo leading in Rawlings!
A few of the invited guests started trickling in. Jerry John Rawlings, former President of Ghana, came very early. I was really impressed with the way he walked in and offered respect to all the traditional leaders surrounding the area. Then in followed the current MP of the area and District Chief Executive as well as a few interesting faces with them! (politics is very interesting. You can always see the people that only want to be close to people for their own pockets following around certain political figures!(it is always the same snakes!) It is really unfortunate I can not mention names here and discuss some of the "things" that they have been up to and the disloyalties aired in public!

The Drummers! The played everyone in
Anyway, I seem to have gone of the topic here quite drastically. The funeral was largely speech based with chiefs and dignitaries all trouping in to greet the family and take their seats. I must say the organising committee did an excellent job in arranging such a massive event. I think roughly 5000 people turned up form all over the region and in form other parts of the Accra and even from overseas. The car with Togbegah in was in the middle of the big square. I managed to get myself a seat with
the planning committee and sat down to relax in the shade (still hot!) and listen to what was to be said and watch the traditional dancing. (mixed with a little humour) At one point a man in a light grey suit (looking like he was coming from the financial district came out into the middle of one of the shows with a newspaper and started reading it! I am not sure whether he was part of the fun or a little bit mixed up!
The Hearse 
This is the talking drum. This guy would talk to each different chief coming in and welcome them with his drum. The other drummer for the chief would reply.

These girls are the Chiefs Mourners. They walk round slowly draped in beads and with solemn faces. It is really interesting to see and they really are emotive! 

I took to picture of this lovely lady. The first one she stood to attention like a stern army officer. I asked her to smile but she pointed out her lack of teeth could make it a problem. This is as good a smile I could get out of her. She was nice though. (and maybe a little Drunk!) 
The Financial District cultural dancing gatecrasher!

This lady apparently attends all the big funerals. She wonders round with a massive shot gun and with one arm (and a lot of attitude) shoots it into the air. She made me jump out of my skin about 100 times that day! (It was a really big shot gun!)

So after all was finished we all went back to the house of the wife of Togbegah. She had prepared food and entertainment for everyone. the food was great and I had a couple of beers to. It was a really nice wa to unwind and catch up with people from my previous years in Dabala. Its was really nice to see some of my former students and other guys I knew around the town. They always make me feel so welcome and I must admit its been great to see these guys grow and progress. People I taught are now becoming teachers themselves! (kinda weird)

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