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!
Esrɔ ɖeɖe le Eʋeawo ƒe dekɔnu wonu.
Le dekɔnua wonu le eʋe dukɔ me la, esrɔɖeɖe nye enu xɔasiaɖe si amewo kãtã tɔna tekpɔ le esime evi nyɔnu lo alo evi ŋtsu ɖo eƒe si dze na esrɔɖeɖe kɔnuwo wɔwɔ. Le blema kɔnuwo nula, esrɔɖelawo me nyana wonoɛ wo o vaseɖe esime woɖea wonɔɛ wo o. Aleke kɔnuawo va yina enye esi ; ɖevi ŋtsuvila ƒe ƒomea dzina nyɔnuvi si woaɖe la nɛ eye wo dena gbɔme zi etɔ eye emegbe la wo wɔna esrɔ ɖeɖe ƒe kɔnuwo. Aleke wo dea gbɔme ɖoe !ne miagblɛ kpuiɖe ko la, gbɔme dede gɔme enye be woa biata ne nyɔnuvi si ɖegbe ƒomea gbɔna la ne wo ƒe vi ŋtsuvi la. Zi alesi miegblɔɛ vayi la, gbɔme dede nye enu tɔhɛ si le vevie le esrɔ ɖeɖe ƒe kɔnuwo me. Le kɔnu sia wɔwɔ me la ƒome eveawo dzenasi wonɔɛ wo nyui eye wo danasi ɖe esrɔ ɖeɖe ƒe kɔnuawo dzi. Elebe mia dedzesi alesi gbɔme dedea vayina ɖo :
Ametsãtsã tso na ŋtsuvi la ƒe ƒomea me (ŋtsuvila ƒe atagã alo atavi) yina ɖe nyɔnuvi la ƒe ƒomea gbɔ edzi edzi la le fɔfɔ me eye wo ƒoa ʋɔ na nyɔnuvi la ƒe ƒomea eye wo gena ɖe ƒome la ƒe hɔme he doa gbe, eye nyɔnuvi la ƒe ƒomea edzi edzi la nyɔnuvi la ƒe atagã alo atavi hɔna gbe eye biana amaniɛ. Emayi la wo gblɔna na nyɔnuvi la ƒe atagã alo atavi la be yewo dzibe yewoa ɖe wo ƒe vi nyɔnuvi (eye wo yona nyɔnuvi la ƒe ŋko), eye wo tsona aha sɛsɛ atukpã ametɔ (ekuɖe ƒome ɖesiaɖe ƒe dzedze ŋu). Le emayi la Atagã alo atavi si hɔ neneŋ ƒe aha la doa ŋgbe na ɖevi ŋtsuvi la ƒe ƒomea be yeayi ɖa kpɔ nyɔnuvi la ƒe tɔ eye yana nyanya wo kuɖe nyɔnuvi la ƒe tɔ ƒe ɖoɖo ŋti. Emegbe la ɖevi ŋtsuvi la ƒe ƒomea bia na mɔ eye wo gbugbɔ yina ɖe aƒeme he bɔna amania na ŋtsuvila ƒe tɔ. Amesiwo ƒo ʋɔ vayi sã la ga trɔ yina he hɔna ɖoŋti tso nyɔnuvia ƒe tɔ gbɔ (alo nyɔnuvia ƒe atagã alo atavi si hɔ ŋtsuvi la ƒe ƒomeawo vayi la dɔna ame ɖoɖa na ŋtsuvi la ƒe ƒometɔwo kuɖe ɖevi tɔ ƒe lɔlɔ alo gbegbe ŋti. Ne eva eme be nyɔnuvia ƒe tɔ dasiɖe evia ƒe srɔ ɖeɖe dzila, Ametsãtsã tso ŋtsuvi la ƒe ƒomeame ga gbugbɔ trɔ yina nyɔnuvila ƒe atagã alo atavi gbɔ he sena enusiwo woadi va hena nyɔnuvila ƒe ɖeɖe. Enusiwo woa heva la vayi na ale : aha (aha vivi, aha sɛsɛ, todzi ha, deha kple bubuwo… kple wo ƒe home neni), avɔ ɖaka (tsigãvɔ, holãdvɔ, tsivivɔ, keŋte, sika gavi kple awle, dzonu kle bubuwo…), ega (nyɔnuvi la ƒe ƒomea nana kpɔɖeŋ, akpaɖe yina na nyɔnuvia ƒe tɔ eye akpaɖe yina na nyɔnuvia hã) kple susu be nyɔnuvia megaɖu aya o, edze (ekuɖe ƒome ɖesiaɖeŋ), kple enu bubu wo sɔŋ…… Ne ŋtsuvila ƒe ƒomea ƒle enusiawo kãtã vɔ la, wo dɔna amedɔdɔ ɖoɖa nyɔnuvi la ƒe ƒomea eye wo ɖona ŋkeke si dzi woava ahe enuawo vɛ, eye woa wo nyɔnuvila ƒe ɖeɖe ƒe kɔnuwo. Elebe mia do dzesi be le eyiyi siawo kãtã mela, le tsã hoho ƒe game la, ŋtsuvila kple nyɔnuvila menya na wonɔɛwo o, wɔ gaɖome la ameaɖewo fina tofi na ŋtsuvila alo nyɔnuvila, eya nyena wodada eye woateŋ ahe tona nɛnɛŋ ƒe amewo ne wo dzesi wo. Esrɔ ɖeɖe nye enu tohɛ aɖe le blema me ale be evi ƒomea ye tsana ŋgbetɔ srɔ na wo ƒe vi, kple susu be wo ƒe vi mega kpefu le esrɔ ɖeɖe gome wo. Ne ŋkeke dzi va ɖo la, ŋtsuvila ƒe ƒomea kplɔna ɖekakpuila ɖe asi he tsɔna enusiwo wo ƒle hena srɔ ɖeɖe ƒe kɔnuawo la ɖe asi heyina ɖe ɖetugbuila ƒe ƒomea gbɔɛ. Afima ye ɖekakpuila kple ɖetugbuila dzenasi wonɔɛwo le abe ŋgbetɔ srɔ. Kɔnuawo vayina ale ; nuƒo tɔhɛ tso ƒome eveawo me kple yrayrawo, kple dzidzɔ kpɔkpɔwo, kple enunonowo, kple eʋu ƒoƒowo, ewoe ɖuɖuwo kpakple vividodoɖe srɔɖelawo ŋti vayi edzi nyuie. Elebe mia ɖo ŋku edzibe, gaɖewo mela, ɖekakpuila kple ɖetugbuila me teŋ doa dzidzɔ ɖe wonoɛ wo ŋti o, elabena menye wo dzidzi be yewoa ɖe amesi wotsã na yewo la o, vɔa womateŋ awɔ naɖeke si ƒomea medasiɖo o. Le kɔnuawo ƒe dziyiyi me la, ɖetugbuila ƒe tɔ lena ɖetugbuila ƒe alɔ he dena ɖekakpuila ƒe ƒomea si tɔhɛɖe he gblɔna be, me tsɔ nye ɖetugbuila de asina mi, mialebenɛ nyui eye mia kpɔ etadzi nyui bena mega ɖu aya o, alo mego kpefu o, eye wo gblɔna be ɛ mia lebenɛ eye mia kpɔ etadzi nyui. Le enuwuwu la, ɖekakpuila ƒe ƒomea kplɔna ɖetugbuila yina ɖe woɖokui wogbɔ he tsɔɛ dasina ɖekakpuila.
Esrɔɖeɖe ƒe kɔnu sia nye kɔnu si amewo lebena nyuie le blemame, wɔa gake le egbeƒe ŋkekea wo mela, amewo mega dena bubu neneŋ ƒe kɔnuwo nu o. Amewo le srɔɖem le egbeƒe ŋkekea wo me le mɔdododzi, le ʋuƒoƒewo, le esetɔwogbɔ, le tsɔtsihɔme kple afi bubuwo sike evi ƒomea mega nyena amesi tsãna ŋgbetɔsrɔ o, keboŋ ɖe efu domoɖa la, hafi wonyana. Wɔa, ameaɖeo gakpɔtɔ le neneŋ ƒe blema kɔnuwo meɖe asi, eye wonɔ edzi yim nenema, amedzro aɖeo hã vana va wɔna esrɔ ɖeɖe le Eʋeawo ƒe dekɔnu wonu he gblɔna be enye enu tɔhɛ na yewo eye wo trɔ dzona. Mekã alesi ŋgbetɔsrɔawo kpɔ wonɔɛ woɖo alo afisi wowɔ srɔɖeɖe ƒe kɔnuwo le o, elebe ɖekakpuila na nya ɖetugbuila ƒe ƒomea eye woa degbɔme na ɖetugbuila hena eƒeta biabia le eƒe ƒomea gbɔ, ele vevie. Ne ɖekakpuila mewɔ eta biabia kɔnuawo o la, ne eva dzɔ be ɖetugbuila ƒe ƒomea ƒe ameɖeku alo ɖetugbuila kula, elenebe woawɔ eta biabia kɔnuawo hafi woaɖemɔnɛ be woakpɔ amekukula alo woageɖe ɖetugbuila ƒe ƒomea me le seanu.
Marriage according to Eʋe tradition.
According to the tradition of Eʋe population, marriage is an important tradition event that young men and women likely wait for when the rich the age that allow them to participate in this ceremony. With respect to ancient time ceremonies, the lovers do not have to know each other before taking marriage. The ceremony goes as follow; the family of the boy will find for him his lover and the family will try to make the family of the girl agree, and this takes few days or month, it depends on each family how the appreciate the offer. The family of the boy has to go to the family of the girl three times according to the tradition to fulfill the marriage ceremony. How it works! To say it shortly, this is the way how the boy’s family ask about marriage to the girl’s family. In this period the two families try to know each other very well and try to accept each other in sense of allowing the marriage between their children and such period is very important for the whole ceremony. We generally call this period “nock the door” and will now see his explanation:
A chosen people from the boy’s family (generally the uncles of the boy) will go according to the ceremony earlier in the morning to nock to the door of the girl’s family (generally the uncles of the girl) and this people will receive them and ask about the matter. The boy’s uncles simply reply to the girl’s uncle that they would like to get married with one of their girl (and of course they give the name of the girl) and they give three bottle of alcohol (it depends on every family how much they think is enough). Then the uncle of the girl will let the boy’s uncles know that he will report their intention to the girl’s father and will send then information or propose them another day to come for the answer, it depends. And then the boy’s uncles ask for leaving and go back home to report it to the father of the boy. The same people from the boy’s family will return again to get the answer from the father of the girl (but sometimes the uncle of the girl can send previously the answer to the boy’s uncles if it is yes or no). If it is happen that the girl’s father says yes, the same people from the boy’s family return back again to hear about their duties concerning the marriage of the girl and their son. An example of their duties; drinks (soft drinks, alcohols for example local one like SOƉABI or from abroad like gins, palm wine etc…), cloth (like special home cloth for example loin cloth, wax Hollanders etc.. with some specific quantities, jewelry and so on), money (the girl’s family gives some specific amount, the minimum, some part goes to the family and another part goes to the girl in intention that the girl can start doing business with this money and be safe from hunger), salt (it depend on each family, the will spend this salt in the family and close relation to let them know that their girl get married), and many other things….. When the boy’s family is ready (means they buy every think), they will send information to the girl’s family that they would like to come and fulfill their duties to get into the marriage ceremony. We have to notice that in the pass the lovers do not know each other during this period of consultation, but sometimes some people let the boy or the girl know about the information and this bad intention and those people can be punished if their recognized by the families involve in the ceremony. Why that simply because the girl or the boy can run away from their family if they don’t want get married. Marriage was very important in the pass according to Eʋe tradition in sense that it is the family that chooses the partner for their son or daughter in fear that the boy or girl will not suffer or have difficult life. When the settle day arrives, the boy’s family takes everything they buy for this purpose and go to the girl family with their son. It will be the time when the lovers will officially discover their partner for life. The ceremony goes as follow: some special speech come from the both family with happiness, with drinking times, with the sound of drams, with special dancing times with appreciation of the couple and so on… Here we have to know that sometimes it is difficult for the couple to enjoy this time because it happen that they do not like each other, but nevertheless, they have to show that their happy because of their parents. When the ceremony is still on, the girl’s father takes her hand and gives her to the boy’s family and says for example, I give you my daughter; you have to take care of her that she will never suffer from hunger or will not have difficult life and they will say yes we will take care of her and give her better life. And at the end the boy’s family come home with the girl and gives her to the boy. (About the virginity of the girl is very important from the boy’s family but nevertheless I am not going deeply about this fact here).
People take care of this marriage ceremony in pass, but these days’ people do not respect this marriage ceremony. People taking these days marriage everywhere without parents acceptance, people meet each other on road, in pub, dram music places decide about marriage without parents intervention, taking marriage only with regard with the law, in church and other places. But we must notice that a lot of people still in respect with ancient time marriage ceremonies, and some foreign people come sometimes specially in taking part in this traditional marriage and go back to their country because the fill special after all. No matter where the lovers find themselves or where they get married, the boy must find out the girl’s family and fulfill his duties about traditional married, it is very important in Eʋe tradition. If not, and it happens that the member of the girl’s family died or the girl’s herself died, before this boy will be receive officially by his step-family he has to fulfill this marriage ceremony entirely according to the tradition and it complicated because he has to fulfill more duties.
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