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General News of Tuesday, 7 July 2020


Why the Akwamus respect pigs

You could compare it to the Bible’s narration of the ‘Escape of the Israelites from the Egyptians and the camp of Pharaoh,’ but they call it their ‘saviour’.

Their saviour because the swines led them (the Akwamus) out into a ‘promised land’ when they were being chased by their rivals; the Akuapems after their defeat in a war.

Narrating how it all happened, the Kronti Osafohene of Akuapem, Nana Addo Kwataa who took his turn on the People & Places show told GhanaWeb’s Wonder Ami Hagan, that the Akuapems who felt oppressed by the Akwamus gathered their resources and with the help of the Akyems, defeated them.

While driving them out, they got to the River Volta and this is what happened;

“Luckily for them, when they got there, the Volta was dry so they saw these pigs in the Volta River and the pigs led them to cross to the boundary. That is the miracle of the whole thing. When they got there, they saw the pigs in the river, it attracted them and they asked how the pigs were able to cross through like that, so they followed them and were able to cross.

When we reached there, it overflowed so we couldn’t cross.”

For this reason, according to Nana Addo Kwataa, “the Akwamus, respect pigs, it is their taboo”.

“They don’t touch it because that helped them to cross to the other end,” he said.

Research conducted by Bismark Kwasi Osei at the Department of Social Sciences, Seventh Day Adventist College of Education, Koforidua Asokor, Ghana and Shirley Dankwa of the Center of African Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences Education, University of Education, Winneba, Ghana reveals more.

A conversation in their research piece disclosed more on the subject. According to them,

“Because the bush-pig saved the Akwamus from their enemies to cross the River Volta, the bush-pig became their protector as well as their saviour, therefore, they were forbidden to eat it.”

The study, however, noted that the taboo is limited to only the royal family of Akwamus, but non-royals can eat bush-pig, if it is prepared far away from the community. They are not allowed to get close to the paramount Chief’s stool as well as the Shrine at Akwamu.

The royal family are forbidden to eat the bush pig because they are responsible for all rituals connected to the paramount stool and the shrine, therefore if they eat the bush pig, they will pollute themselves and this will further pollute the spirts of the stool and the shrine. Also, all non-royal members of Akwamu are permitted to eat the bush pig and if they eat it, they are forbidden to perform any ritual connected to the paramount stool and the shrine otherwise they will defile them.

Anyone caught eating the bush pig will be made to offer seven sheep, seven schnapps and an amount of money. The sheep and schnapps are used to perform purification rituals to appease the gods and the ancestors of the shrine and the stool respectively.

Watch the full interview below:

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