This is one of the Ewe texts collected by us. See below the text for an English translation. Later on we will add the grammatical commentary and audio recordings of the text. Djoubogbe Kossi Afoutou is the author of the text and English translation. Enjoy your lecture!
ETSƆ WƆWƆ LE EƲE DUKƆWOME
Le eʋe dukɔ wome la, etsɔ ƒe kɔnu wɔwɔwo tona vovo vɔa vovo totoa me nye enu gã aɖekeo.
Mia gblɛ kpo me, le afisiafi klui la, etsɔ ƒe wɔwɔ nye na ŋkunekame, vɔa akɔta aɖeo tsɔna kɔnu aɖewo kpenɛ.
Ne nye be ameaɖe ku le ƒome aɖe me la, wo tsɔna ame kuku la yina danaɖe frigo le dɔyɔƒe si sɔ eku ƒomea be teƒe. Ŋtilã kukula ateŋ anɔ frigo eyiyi didi aɖe alesi eku ƒomea kpɔbe yewo hiã na dzadzraɖo ne etsɔ wɔwɔ. Emegbe la, eku ƒomea yina ɖe edumegã gbɔ he sianɛ be amekuna yewo eye wo ɖena mɔ na eku ƒomea be woateŋ aɖi ameyinugbe la le edzua ƒe ameɖibɔme me. Le Kpalime nutowo mela, wo wɔna edumegã siasia sia tɔxɛ, wo ɖo ŋkɔ ne kɔnu sia be « eku tsitsi ».
Eku tsitsi nye ŋdi kɔnua ɖe sime dukɔa kãtã ƒonaƒu le ekpododo megbe he sena eyiyi mablɛ ƒe nya tso eku ƒomea gbɔ kuɖe ameyinugbea ŋti. O wɔna eku tsitsi ƒe kɔnu edzi edzi le yawoɖa ƒe ŋkeke si kplɔna fiɖa fe ŋkeke si nyena ŋdɔdɔ ƒe ŋkeke la. Eku tsitsi va yina alɛ ; eku ƒomea ƒoanu kuna ɖe enusi wo dedzesi be yaye wu ame la, esia ateŋ anye edɔleleaɖe, alo edzobibi alo afɔku le mɔdododzi alo le agbleme alo le edɔme. Ƒomea gblɔna enusi wo vayi edzi le gaƒoƒo mamlɛa ome, eye wo ƒoanu kuɖe ameyinugbea ƒe fukpekpe, kpekpeneŋ alo agbagba dzedze si wo teŋ wɔ hena ameyinugbea ƒe haya haya alo eƒe ta ʋliʋli hafi meteŋ va eme o. To siawɔwɔ me la, amesiwo ƒoƒu kple dumegã kple eƒe ŋtimewo bia na nya akpɔbe vodada me tso eku ƒomea gbɔ loo alo ameaɖe si le fui la gbɔ o mahã. Ne esia va va eme nenema be ekua ƒe nya kã ameaɖe alo eku ƒe ƒomea la, wo blana nu nɛ. Neneŋ be ame ana alɛ alo egbɔ alo aha alo nububu wo hã. Esiawo wɔwɔ tutuna kadodo vɔɖi si le ameyinugbea kple amegbagbea dome.
Le esiawo megbe la, le fiɖa ŋkeke sidzi woa dɔŋu le la, wo hɔna ameyinugbea ƒe ŋtilã kuku le frigo le dɔyɔƒe eye le ŋkekea ƒe fiɛyi me alo zãgã dome la, wo va ɖona kple amekukua ƒe ŋtilã le ekutefea. Vɔ hafi eyiyi mawo na vaɖo la, dukɔa mevio kpenaɖe eku ƒomea ŋti he tuna agbadɔ he na etsɔa ƒe kɔnuwo wɔwɔ. Ŋdɔdɔ dzena egɔme le fiɛyi me eye wo yina edzi vaseɖe ŋdikãnyɛ me. Le ga ƒoƒo mawo mela, kɔnuawo va yina ale: gbã la, hɔse tɔwo dzena ŋdɔdɔ gɔme nenyebe ameyinugbea nye kristotɔ, eye wo wɔna misa va senaɖe zã ga wueve godzi eye wo kpana, emegbe la eʋu ƒoƒo geɖe wo va yina edzi, etsona eʋu haƒoƒo si me ameyinugbea nɔ alo eʋu haƒoƒo si eku ƒomea da be woa dodzidzɔ mablɛwo ɖe amekukua ŋuti. Vɔ gake, ne ameyinugbea me nye hɔsetɔ wola, ŋdɔdɔa va yina edzi kpakple voduʋu ƒoƒo ɖeɖeko le zã katã me. Elebe mia do dzesi be eʋu ƒoƒo sia wo nyena enu tɔxɛ aɖe le Eʋe dukɔ ɖesiaɖe me klui. Wo dzi na exa geɖe wo siwo nyena enya mamlɛwo hena emɔzɔzɔ nyui dodo na ameyinugbea. Le zã kãtã me la, wo ɖena emɔ ne amewo kãtã be woateŋ akpɔ ŋtilã kukula zi mablɛtɔe, he ne woateŋ ado mɔzɔzɔ nyui ne, amesiawo ateŋ anye ameyinugbea ƒe ƒomewo alo eƒe hɔlɔwo alo amesiwo kãtã dzibe yewoa do neneŋ ƒe egbe mablɛa ne. Hafi woa ɖemɔ ne amewo be woateŋ akpɔ ŋtila kukula la, wo wɔna kɔnua ɖe si wo yɔna be « abaɖoɖo » si me wo dzrana ŋtila kukuaɖo ɖe abadzi. Vɔ gake, nenye be amekukua nye vodu hamenɔla la, ŋdɔdɔ kple ameɖiɖi ƒe kɔnuawo vayina ɖe vodua ƒe sewo dzi, gaɖeo mela, eku ƒomea me nɔna vodua ƒe kɔnua ɖewo teƒe oo. Elebe mia ɖo ŋku edzi hã be, ne nye be ameyinugbea nye vodusi la, vodu haƒoƒoa me ɖena mɔ be woa dee frigo oo. O wɔna neneŋu be ameyinugbea ƒe etsɔ kɔnuawo kaba kaba le ŋkeke etɔ megbe le vodua ƒe ɖoɖowo nu.
Le ŋkeke evelia si nye memlina ƒe ŋkeke si nyena ŋkeke evelia le etsɔa ƒe kɔnuwo wɔwɔnu la, wo wɔna ame ɖiɖi ƒe kɔnuwo. Le ŋdi kpadzi, wo wɔna gbɔ lɔlɔ si me wo dzina nublanui hawo le, eye hafi woawɔ misa la, wo wɔna kɔnuaɖe si wo yɔna be « ame dede aɖakame ». Kɔnua vayina ale: eku ƒomea kple Mawununɔla nenye be ameyinugbea nye Kristotɔ, alo eku ƒomea kple vodununɔla nenyebe ameyinugbea nye vodusi, yina ŋtilã kukula gbɔ le hɔme he denɛ aɖakame kple enya ƒoɖo aɖeo. Emegbe la wo wɔna misa alo vodu kɔnuwo he nana yayra mamlɛa ameyinugbea. Le emawo yome la, wo dzena mɔ yina ɖe ameɖibɔme afisi wo wɔna konu mamlɛtɔwo le he tsɔna aɖakala dena do me le. Ne wo gbɔ tso ameɖiƒe vɔla, wo wɔna akpedada wɔna vovovowo, eye emegbe la amedzrowo xɔxɔ ƒe wɔnawo va yi na edzi kple eʋu ƒoƒo wɔna geɖewo. Le kɔsiɖa si nye ŋkeke etɔlia le etsɔ wɔwɔ ƒe wɔnawo me la, wo wɔna misa ɖe ameyinugbea ta, eye le fiɛyi mela, wo wɔa aha mama ƒe kɔnuwo he dana akpe na amesiame si kpede eku ƒomea ŋti le wɔna vovovoa wome. Elebe miaɖo ŋku edzi hã be, etsɔ kɔnu siawo wɔwɔ nyena ega zãzã geɖe ɖe nɔna eku ƒomea dzi, eye edzi edzi la ameyinugbe ƒomewo dona ga asɔ wɔ tsoɛ bene woateŋ ahɔ kɔkɔ le wo havio gbɔ.
Etsɔ wɔwɔ nye enu hɔasiaɖe le Eʋe dukɔwo ƒe kɔta kɔnu wɔwɔwome. Enyena eyiyi sime eku ƒomea ƒonaƒu nɔna ɖeka wɔwɔme kpakple ameyinugbea bena Mawu gã si tso dziƒo la nateŋ akpɔ neneŋ ƒe ameyinugbea ƒe nublanui, eye waoteŋ a hɔɛ ɖe fafaƒe.
FUNERAL CEREMONIES IN EWE ETHNICAL GROUPS LAND
In Ewe ethnical groups, the ceremony about funerals is different, but those differences are not so important.
We can say that in general the ceremony look like the same. We can notice some deep ceremony in some Ewe groups,
but it is just some specific add from the particular group or family.
When one-person die in one Ewe family, the dead family brings the dead body to the closest hospital where the family will pay for place to freeze the dead body. This body can stay in freezer until the dead family realize that their ready to start the funerals. Then, the family will contact with the chief of the village or of the neighbourhood if it is in the city to have an approval to bury the dead body in the village or neighbourhood cemetery. In Kpalimé region (one specific Ewe group), this approval from the chief is an important issue, they call it “eku tsitsi” that means information about the dead person.
This ceremony is a meeting with the chief and other people living in this neighbourhood or village in which the dead family has to tell the last moment of life of the dead person. This meeting hang on Thursdays that follow the Friday on which will stand the vigil. All the meeting start as follow; the dead family speaks about the fact that is responsible for the person death, this can be sickness or disease, or fire burn, or accident on road or in farm or in office. The family suppose to tell exactly the things that happen at the last moment, like the suffering, the help that the family provide to save his life from death before he died. From this information, people who stand there with the chief and his speakers will try to ask many questions to check if the family has some responsibility in this death or if this death is connected with another person that willing to short this person life. And if is happen that anybody or the death family has some responsibility in this person death, the responsible person must pay a fee. This fee can be goats, sheep and or some specific drinks or other things else. This kind of action will delete or free the relation between the dead person and the life person.
After this meeting which held on Thursday, Friday night will be the vigil (spending all Friday night for the dead person), the dead family will go to the hospital and receive the dead body and in the evening or in the night, the family will arrive with the dead body in the place where they prepare everything for the last exposition of the dead body. But before that time, the people from the neighborhood or from the village help the dead family to build some tent or hut for the funerals. The vigil starts from the evening and continues till the next day morning. During this time everything go as follow: firstly, Christian starts the vigil if the dead person is believe in God, and then they observe Mass till midnight, and then the drams music will continue the vigil. This dram groups can be one of the dead person group (means that he belong to this group) or the dead family simply order music to enjoy the last moment of the death. Secondly, if the dead person is belonging to any kind of fetish group, then the whole night will be covered by dram music from the fetish group. We have to notice that, this kind of specific dram music is very important and common in all Ewe regions. That music from dram tells in a precise and direct way good-bye and good journey to the dead person. During the vigil in the memory of the dead person, it is allow for everybody to visit the dead body at his exposition. And those people can be the dead family, the friend, the relations and so on, just an opportunity for them to say personal last good-bye. But before this permission for visiting the dead body, they have special ceremony called “abaɖoɖo” which simply means to “prepare the bed” in which they make sleep the death in some specific way that some time you fill like the person is alive. We must know that, if the dead person is disciple of fetish, the vigil and the burial ceremonies are done following the rule of the fetish, some time the dead family is not allow to follow some ceremonies done by the fetish group. We have to remember also that, if the dead person is a member of fetish group, this group doesn’t allow the dead family to freeze the dead body. They simply short the term of the funerals during three days and of course according to the fetish rules.
The second day of the funerals is Saturday, is the burial ceremonies day. In Saturday morning, generally women walk on the road close to the place of funerals singing pity songs to call the dead person spirit out of the Village or the neighborhood, and before the last Mass of the presence of dead body, they have another ceremony named « ame dede aɖakame » which means “put in the coffin”. It happen as follow, the dead family and Priest if the dead person believes in God and the representative of fetish if the dead person belong to fetish group, go to the dead body and put the body in the coffin with some specific traditional words from the dead family and the representative of the fetish group (It depend and it done according to the kind of the death). After then they will observe with the people Mass or fetish ceremonies for the last benediction of the dead person. At the last moment, they will bring the coffin with the dead person to the cemetery where they pray and make the burial ceremonies. When they come back from the cemetery, the dead family receive greeting from people who assist the burial ceremony and thanks to everybody (acknowledgements), and then the dead family make receptions for all people that participate in the funerals ceremonies where ever they come from and how important they are and all this is done in music’s.
The third day which is Sunday, they have generally Mass for the dead person, and in evening, the dead family distribute drinks for everybody that help during the funerals; chief and people that act during ceremonies. We have to mention that funerals ceremonies make a lot of spending on the expense of the dead family, and often the dead family borrow money to cover the spending to show how wealthy is the family. It is a king of competition between families to show their capacity (It doesn’t make sense, but is how it works in Ewe ethnical groups).
The funeral ceremonies are very important ones among Ewe community’s ceremonies. It is a time when the whole family stands together to be in relation with the dead person, and pray for God who comes from heaven to take pity on him, and receive him in peace.
Copyright © 2009-2010 Djoubogbe Kossi Afoutou & Piotr Kozłowski.
Send mail to peterlin -at- jzn -dot- pl.
See also the other language projects: lezgi iranica caucasica misc.