EWE-DOME OF GHANA: AN INDIGENOUS RELIGIOUS
AND BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
Rebecca Yawa Ganusah
For some time now, I have observed among the Ewe-Dome, a subgroup of the larger ethnic group the Ewe, who live in the central part of the south-eastern corner of Ghana, that there seems to be a conflict between the Church and the indigenous religious believer, over the performance of the indigenous rites of birth and initiation into womanhood (and some other rites of passage). By the Church, in this case, I am referring to the Evangelical Presbyterian Churches, the dominant Churches that are found in the area.
The main area of conflict has to do with the making of libations to Mawu (God), togbuiwo (ancestors) and trowo (spirit powers or “gods” in some English translations). While many Christians find the practice of making libations to be unchristian, there are others in the society who consider this an important ritual that has to be performed to acknowledge the presence of the supernatural among the people. To make a libation, the drink (usually alcoholic) is put in a calabash (if palm-wine) or in a glass (if any other), and drops of it are poured on the ground, accompanied with appropriate words, in the form of a prayer. The prayer is directed to togbuiwo in some localities, while in others it is said to Mawu and the togbuiwo. Libation prayers that are said on occasions like agricultural festivals, state functions and at difficult arbitrations, are directed not only to Mawu and the togbuiwo but also to other spirit powers known in Ewe-Dome as trowo.
Like others elsewhere, the indigenous religious believer in EweDome believes that there is a great God, Mawu, regarded as the creator of the universe. Mawu also sustains the universe. In Mawu's creation, it is believed, are found also trowo, that is, various spirit powers that help in administering the world of nature as well as human life in society. The trowo are seen as children of Mawu, those that can help human beings to realize material as well as spiritual needs in life. Supplicants go to shrines that are made for the trowo