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Alex Kpodonu Library
Anlo State Symbol
This literally means Anlo round and serene, a single faggot cooked the meal.
During the reign of Tɔgbi Atiasa I, from 1784-1810 and Aʋadada Kɔwuga I, the Danes had resolved to punish Gerald deLima for waging wars and to control their trading routes on the Volta and along the coast from the Volta estuary eastwards along the coast to Dahomey. Knowing well the prowess of Anlo, they marshalled forces which included the Gas, Akwapims, Krobos, Akims and Adas, numbering 24,000 and invaded Anlo.
The invading forces crossed the Volta and entered the mangrove forest along the banks of the Tɔdzi River. Aʋadada Kɔwuga with an army of 8,000 attacked the allied forces in the night, pursued and took many as hostages leaving them in total disarray and looking for an escape route.
A man known as Adzibli coincidentally appeared on the bank of the Volta River in a large canoe and offered to ferry the retreating allied forces across the river. The unsuspecting fugitives agreed to Adzibli’s request. He carried offered to carry them in batches across and on reaching midstream; he capsized the boat, drowning them. Adzibli returned and repeated this act until thousands of the enemy forces were all destroyed far in excess of those who died fighting during the war.
When news of Adzibli’s heroic exploits reached, the people were amazed that one man could accomplish what hundreds or thousands had previously failed to achieve and the saying “one faggot in the fire cooked the meal”
This adage therefore extols the bravery of one individual, who performed a task meant for thousand people. This set aside the notion that numbers meant strength, but rather upholds the individual bravery and ingenuity.
“Anlo godoo levii. Du nɔ eme mase eme nya”
This literally means Anlo round and serene, a state you live in without comprehending its affairs.
This adage emerged during the reign of Tɔgbi Sri I, and Aʋadada Awusu I, around 1468-1504 just after settlement in Anlo. After releasing the Awoamefia stool to Tɔgbi Adeladza and Tɔgbi Amesimeku Atɔgolo. Tɔgbi Agɔkɔli dispatched some of his elite warriors to accompany the stool to Anlo secretly instructing them to verify whether the head and arm brought to him were those of Tɔgbi Sri I. On the way home, Tɔgbi Adeladza and other leaders conferred amongst themselves and dispatched some of their best hunters, Adegbi and Lamanya to inform the elders at home that Agɔkɔli had sent spies to accompany them to Anlo.
The hunters left the group under the pretext of hunting game for food and when they failed to return after three days the group presumed them dead, lost or captured by hostile forces, they mourned their loss and continued their journey without them. On arrival at Anlo, the hunters briefed the elders on the turn of events. The elders went into council and resolved to hide the King, who was put in a secluded place. He was then referred to publicly as an “Awoamefia” meaning the chief in seclusion.
The whole town was informed of the issue and warned not to reveal to anyone the fact that Sri was alive. The citizens were made to swear an oath of secrecy upon pain of death. The delegation to Notsie finally returned, accompanied by the elite warriors of Agɔkɔli with the stool. The elders warmly received them and organised a big reception for them. The elite warriors stayed in Anloga for three months making all the inquiries needed to establish the truth about Sri’s death. After three months the warriors felt they had enough information and returned home fully convinced that Sri had actually been slain. This event gave rise to the adage “Anlo godoo levii. Du nɔ eme mase eme nya” and became part of the seal of the state.
“Xedra kataka ebe ye ɖa azi ɖe wɔtete gbe”
This literally means the brave and courageous bird lays its eggs in the open. This adage referred to the bravery of the Anlo state which was founded on the south-eastern coastal plain and known to be vulnerable and open to attacks by hostile states. However through the bravery and courage of the people, the state survived till today. It was during the choice of site that one of the founders uttered the “Xedra kataka ebe ye ɖd azi ɖe wɔtété gbe” referring to the vulnerability and strength of the Anlo state.
“Gae tso aƒe ɖe wɔtete gbe”
This literally means the brave has built his house in the open which is similar in meaning to the brave and courageous bird which lays its eggs in the open daring other birds of prey to steal them.
“Nu nɔ dokpo etɔ dzi megli na o”
This literally means that anything which rests on a tripod remains stable or firm forever. Our elders believed that the lithosphere, the atmosphere and the hydrosphere constitute the world and anything built on these three components have the tendency to succeed. It is believed the respective spirits of these spheres rule the world and control or influence the affairs of men. Anything built on them remains firm or stable forever. Water spirits give abundant fish; the land spirits ensure fertility of the soil and production of game and finally the atmosphere which provides rain for both land and water. The choice of site at Anlo and its environs demonstrated their belief in this philosophy of land, water and sky in the affairs of the people.
The Anlo land is full of water bodies made up of sea, lagoons, creeks and underground water which support the economic life of the people. Our ancestors played their part and it is now our turn. We may not be legends like Tsala and Tsali, but we can be hardworking and faithful and contribute our quota to the growth and development of our land. Source: Agbotadua Kumassah (Migration Saga of the Anlo-Ewes)
Naketi ɖeka nɔ dzome bi nu
Anlo godoo le vii
Du nɔ eme mase eme nya
Xedra kataka ebe ye ɖa azi
ɖe wɔtete gbe
Gae tso aƒe ɖe wɔtete gbe
Nu nɔ dokpo etɔ dzi megli na o
Anlo Kotsiklolo Naketi ɖeka nɔ dzome bi nu