HOGBETSOTSOZA AND THE ROLE OF THE ANLO WOMEN IN THIS GREAT HISTORICAL ESCAPE.
Hogbetsotso is not just a festival for the Anlo people but then a lifestyle born out of a rich history and a cultural heritage of what I call the “Great Escape” as a people from bondage and cruelty to our current location in Ghana.
This is the story of Freedom Fighting and breaking the chains of slavery. Our people fought for their freedoms without shedding a single blood and this makes for a great Hollywood movie similar to Black Panther.
The “Great Escape” of the Anlo People from the cruelty under “King Agorkorli” of Notsie should have gone down in history just as the “Trojan horse” story the Greece used to enter Troy. Because just as the Trojan horse story, the Anlo story was also carefully planned to precision and they succeeded excellently.
Our leaders came up with a solid escape plan which only succeeded because we were united as a people! And this plan saw the Anlo Women play the most small insignificant but highly vital parts which should not go unnoticed.
We barely celebrate the Anlo Woman the way we should in relation to our Great escape from Notsie and I pray one of the Hogbetsotso Festivals would be themed to celebrate the numerous contributions of the Anlo Women in this great history.
First of all the Anlo women were tasked to pour their dirty water at a particular side of the wall to weaken it both physically and spiritually. It is believed that the wall was fortified with spiritual powers and the women were asked to pour their menstrual water and other dirty water at one particular side of the wall for days and months.
The Anlo Women did this in silence and secrecy for a long time until they escaped. One reason you can always trust an Anlo wife to be your ride or die.
And then on the day of the escape there was loud singing, Dancing and Drumming by the Anlo “Dogbo” people which is always an activity of more women than men. So it was the women who kept the singing alive until deep in the night for the wall to be broken and the escape possible.
And then also after the escape from Notsie came the long journey through Togo to the Anloland. And here also the Anlo Women played an integral part to make sure they carried all the needed belongings like food, clothes and essentials in the “kevi” and “akpaku” bags. They also catered for the children as they journeyed and also found a way to make fire and cook for the entourage to eat among the many other chores and responsibilities they had which made the journey a success.
The Anlowomen indeed came up with ways to prepare foods that would last a long time on the journey. And they crafted food like “Dzowoe” and “Agbelikanklo” among others which are more like snacks but also fill your belly like food.
This foods can go days without going bad and our forefathers are said to have always carried this items especially “Dzowoe” to war and it was indeed an essential during the “Great Escape” from Notise.
The Anlomen were Warriors who fought and could stand alone before an army of a thousand and not shiver. And that was the role of the man to protect the women and the Anlomen had enough spiritual powers to make their job easy. Reason every single Anloman would go into battle without hesitation because he knows he is a “one man thousand” with his “tsila” on his waist and “Gbesa” on his tongue.
But then the Anlo women would have to use their normal human strengths to do all the work which is also just as important as being a Warrior. And we’ve got to acknowledge the Anlo women and make history remember their sacrifices and efforts continually.
And one fact remains that it is the Anlo Women who secretly destroyed the mysitical and spiritual fortifications of the wall in secrecy which made it easy for Amega Wenya’s “adekpui” to easily cause the wall to lose its power and be pushed down for them to pass their uhh and escape. So the Anlo Women are heroes(heroines) we need to celebrate.
Cc: Selorm Ameza
Note: Pictures borrowed from the internet. Akpedonugor to the Photographers! Mawunayrami