Ghana is one of the West African countries with rich traditions and cultures. Most tribes in the country view time as a sequence of events instead of minutes and hours. The country comprises several ethnic groups, and each group has its traditions. Mole-Dagbon tribe is one of the ethnic groups whose culture is prosperous and vibrant.
The Mole-Dagbani tribe makes up around 16 percent of the current population in Ghana. In addition, the tribe accounts for the majority of the Muslim population in the country. It has five sub-cultures, Mossi, Nanumba, Mamprusi, Dagomba and Gonja.
Mole-Dagbon tribe history
Where did the mole Dagbani migrate from? The Mole Dagbani migrated from northeast of Lake Chad to the south of the Niger bend, Zamfara, modern-day Nigeria. It is believed that the tribe originated from these regions around the 13th century.
Who led mole Dagbani to Ghana? Toha-zie, the red hunter, is the ancestor who led the final southwestern migration. The tribe had some military and political superiority. Therefore, the ancestors could easily move smaller tribes into their kingdom.
The traditional and cultural aspects
The Mole-Dagbani has distinctive traditional and cultural practices that set them apart from other tribes. They are very withdrawn because of their Islamic beliefs. Their culture is also highly dependent on oral tradition. Here are the aspects that make up their culture and traditions.
Traditional kingdom and administration
Ya-Na is the king of the Dagbon traditional kingdom. The court and administrative capital of this kingdom are at Yedi. The seat of the king of Dagbon, known as King of Absolute Power, is a collection of cow and lion skin.
Therefore, the political system is commonly known as Yendi skin. In the kingdom, the houses are arranged precisely with the chief's or elderly man's hut built in the middle.
Another major feature in the administration of the Mole-Dagbon tribe is chieftaincy. This system is very hierarchical, with the paramount chief being the head. A tiered system of governance rules under him. The tiered structure is made of:
- The paramount chief
- Council of elders
- Tendana - Owner of the land
- Village herdsman
Mole Dagbani food
Many people in the tribe are farmers. Men work on the farms while women help during the harvesting period. Their main crops are millet, sorghum, yams, maize, and peanuts. The tribe also keeps sheep, cattle, guinea fowls, chicken, and goats, while others take part in fishing and hunting. Their food is made of the things they rear or plant.
Mole Dagbon speaks the Gur language of Ghana, also known as Dagbani, Dagbanle, or Dagbanli. It is widely spoken in northern Ghana, especially among the leadership of the king of Dagbon. Mole Dagbani languages are compulsory subjects in primary and junior schools in Dagbon kingdom.
Dance and music
Mole Dagbani dance and music are some of the cores of its people. Through the art of dancing and music, they get to preserve their history over generations. They consider dancing as a form of expressing their emotions. The Dagbani people also use it for social interactions and physical exercise.
Through dance, people can illustrate and articulate a story or idea. The Dagbamba people have also embraced and incorporated a modern form of music and dance into their traditional one. At the local level, Dagbani music is heard in non-traditional music genres such as hip hop, reggae, Islamic music, or hip life.
Mole Dagbani festivals
Two of the most important festivals are Bugum (fire festival) and Damba. The chiefs and the people celebrate the Damba festival. The celebration takes place during the third month of the Islamic calendar.
It is celebrated to mark the birth and the naming of the Holy prophet Muhammud. The festival is divided into three different sections:
- The Somo Damba
- Naa Dama
Clan and lineage
The Dagbon people live in compact walled villages. Every household comprises related men, wives, children, and other dependents. The population of the tribe is divided into two groups, chiefly families and commoners.
The patrilineage is the basis of social organization among the people. Matrilineal descent is acknowledged and accredited with the contribution of the spiritual attributes of an individual. The patrilineages are partitioned into different hierarchically arranged sections, which are made of:
- Lineage heads
- Custodians of ancestral shrines
- Moral authority leaders
A kinship unit is a descent group referred to as the dang. It is made of descendants of a single great grandfather or grandfather. Only the sons of Ya-Na are eligible to rise to office.
The Mole-Dagbon people heat and mould iron and steel to make everything from household items to weapons. Some of the weapons used by this tribe include:
- Currency blades
- Cowhide shields
- Bows and arrows
Mole-Dagbon tribe fast facts
- Which ethnic groups make Mole-Dagbani? The five main ethnic groups include Mamprusi, Mossi, Dagomba, Nanumba and the Gonja.
- Where did Mole-Dagbani migrate from? They are believed to have originally migrated from the regions around Lake Chad.
- When did the Mole-Dagbani arrive in Ghana? They arrived between the 12th and 15th centuries.
- Why did the Mole-Dagbani migrate to Ghana? They migrated to Ghana in search of new hunting grounds.
- Which are some of the Mole-Dagbani regions? Mole-Dagbani regions include the Northern Region of Ghana in the sparse savanna region below the Sahelian belt.
- What is the Mole-Dagbani ethnic group language? Mole Dagbon speaks the Gur language of Ghana. The language is also known as Dagbani, Dagbanle, or Dagbanli.
- What is the Mole-Dagbani dressing code? The smock is the most distinctive dress among them. It is shaped like the dondon drum of the Dagombas; two ends are broader with a trimmer middle which, when stitched together, makes a beautiful dress.
The mole-Dagbon tribe is one of the earliest inhabitants of Ghana. Fascinating culture and historical background characterize it. They pass their culture orally from generation to generation.
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