Abu Mallam: A Hausa Narrative “Histories of Samory and Babatu and Others” (1992)

Ahmed Bako Alhassan: Babatu in Dagbon (Tamale 1991?)

Akanko, Peter Paul: Oral traditions of Builsa. Origin and early History of the Atuga’s Clan in the Builsa State (1700-1900). Rosengården 1988

Akankyalabey, Pauline: A History of the Builsa People (1984).

Akankyalabey, Pauline:  Geschichte der Bulsa (2005)

German (original) Edition; English Translation

Akankyalabey, Melanie (Ed., Sub Committee Chairperson)

[The Catholic Mission of Wiaga] Title Page missing, (2003)

Asianab, Francis Afoko (Private Notes): The Ayietas (1970)

Awedoba, Albert K.: The Chuchuliga Chieftaincy Affair (2009)

Bening, R.B. : The Regional Boundaries of Ghana 1874-1972 (1973)

Bening, R.B. : Location of district adminstrative capitals in the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast (1897-1951) (1975)

Berinyuu, Abraham: History of the Presbyterian Church in Northern Ghana (1997)

Cardinall, A.W. The Natives of the Northern Territories of the Gold  Coast – their Customs, Religion and Folkore (1920).

Clarke, John: Specimens of African Dialects 1848-1849 (1972)

Davies, O. (compiler): Ghana Field Notes, Part 2: Northern Ghana, Legon 1970.

Delafosse, Maurice: Haut-Sénégal-Niger, Tome II, L’Histoire, Paris 1972.

Der, Benedict G.: Christian Missions and the Expansion of Western Education in Northern Ghana, 1906-1975  (2001)

Duperray, Anne-Marie: Les Gourounsi de Haute Volta, Wiesbaden 1984

French and English Translation

Gariba, Joshua: Weaving the Fabric of Life: An Anthropological Presentation of Traditional Dwelling Culture among the Bulsa of North Eastern Ghana

Holden, J.: The Zabarima Conquest of North-west Ghana Part I (1965)

Howell, Allison M: The Religious Itinary of a Ghanaian People. The Kasena and the Christian Gospel. Frankfurt 1997.

Koelle, Sigismund Wilhelm, Polyglotta Africana, first edition London 1854, Reprint Graz, Austria 1963

Köhler, Oswin: Die Territorialgeschichte des östlichen Nigerbogens (1958)

Kröger, Franz: Ancestor Worship among the Bulsa of Northern Ghana (1982).

Kröger, Franz: Die Erforschung der Bulsa-Kultur (2005)

German (original) Edition and English translation

Kröger, Franz:

The following articles by F. Kröger were published in the internet journal Buluk – Journal of Bulsa Culture and History. As they can easily be downloaded from the website it can be dispensed with the whole or part of the text reproduction.

— The First Europeans in the Bulsa Area. Buluk 3 (2003):  29-32.

— The First Map of Bulsa Villages. Buluk 4 (2005): p. 23.

— Christian Churches and Communities in the Bulsa District. Buluk 4 (2005): 43-57.

— Islam in Northern Ghana and among the Bulsa. Buluk 4 (2005): 58-61.

— Extracts from Bulsa History: Sandema Chiefs before Azantilow. Buluk 6 (2012): 47-50.

—  Kunkwa, Kategra and Jadema: The Sandemnaab’s Lawsuit. Buluk 6 (2012): 51-58.

— Swearing in of the Bulsa Chiefs in 1973. Buluk 6 (20112): 43-44.

— Bulsa Chiefs and Chiefdoms. Buluk  6 (2012): 64-78.

— Who was this Atuga? Facts and Theories on the Origin of the Bulsa. Buluk  7 (2013): 69-88.

— Colonial Officers and Bulsa Chiefs (with special consideration of elections). Buluk  7 (2013): 89-100.

— Two Early Plays on Bulsa History. Buluk 7 (2013): 106-108.

— Means of Transport in History and Today (Northern Territories, Ghana). Buluk  7 (2013): 109-113.

— Extracts from the Diary of Sir Shenton Thomas, Governor of the Gold Coast – Meyer Fortes in Bulsaland (1934). Buluk 8 (2015): 90-91.

— History of Bulsa Journals. Buluk 8 (2015): 104-106.

— Old Oval Grooves and Cylindrical hollows in granite outcrops. Buluk  9 (2016): 69.

Ollivant (D.C.): A short history of the Buli, Nankani and Kassene speaking people in the Navrongo area of the Mamprusi District (1933)

Packham, E.S.: Notes on the development of the Native Authorities in the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast (1950)

Parsons, D. St. John: Legends of Northern Ghana. London 1958

Perrault, P., Rev. Fr., W.F.: History of the tribes of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast. Navrongo (1954)

Rattray, Capt. Robert S.: The Tribes of the Ashanti Hinterland, reprint 1969

Rodrigues, Raymundo Nina: Os africanos no Brasil (2010)

Schott, Rüdiger: Sources for a History of the Bulsa in Northern Ghana (1977)

Williamson, Thora: Chronicles of Political Officers in West Africa, 1900-1919 (2000)

Zwernemann, Jürgen: Ein “Gurunsi”-Vokabular aus Bahia – Ein Beitrag zur Afro-Amerikanistsik (1968) – German and English translation


Abu Mallam: A Hausa Narrative “Histories of Samory and Babatu and Others”   

Translated by Pilaszewicz, Stanislaw: The Zabarma Conquest of North-West Ghana and Upper Volta.
Warszawa 1992

[F.K.: This publication contains most important primary sources on Babatu and Samori]

p. 8
The manuscript under discussion was written in 1914 by a certain Mallam Abu and bears an English title.
Introduction (by Pilaszewicz):
p. 11
We have not information concerning the author of the manuscript and his literary activities. One has to adept his won statement that he took part in the Zabarma raids. It is quite possible that he might have accompanied the Zabarmas in their expeditions under Gazari and Babatu’s leadership…
p. 19
The name Zabarma is a Hausa word for the Jerma people, related to Songhai. In literature concerning Africa there are many variant forms of their name, for example, Zarma, Dyerma, Dyabarma, Zabarima, Zamberba, Djermabe etc.

Chapter one: Babatu
Fn 1: Babatu d’an Isa (known also as Mahama d’an Isa) came from Indunga… He succeeded Alfa Gazari and in the early 1880s became the unchallenged leader…

p. 84
Here is a story of Emir Babatu d’an Isa,
…The ruler of Paga-Buru boasted as well. Thc ruler of Paga-Buru sent to the ruler of Chuchiliga (footnote 75). He also, he made preparations for war and set about. They all assembled together with their troops: the ruler of Navrongo – the town was called Navrongo, the ruler of Chuchiliga – the town was called Chuchiliga, and the ruler of Paga-Buru – the town was called Paga-Buru. They all assembled together with their troops and came to Emir Babatu, [to] the war commander, thc ruler of Gurunsi. They collided with Emir Babatu on the bank of this stream. Emir d’an Isa beat them on that day and drove there away. They were running away and thc Zabarma people were following and killing them. In such a way Emir Babatu conquered the Buru country, he caught their chiefs and killed them. This story is also ended.

(footnote ) 75  In ms. Zuzulo. Another spelling, Juljulo, is also possible. This may be identified with Chuchiliga, a locality in the area under consideration…

p. 88
Here is a story of Emir Babatu
…He stayed in Korogo. [Then] he started on a journey to Sati. He reached a certain town. A great soldier of Gazari, whose name was Amariya (footnoe 98) rose in revolt…

(footnote ) 98 Amariya or Hamaria served as a war chief under Gazari. According to Holden (1965:78) he was born in Santijan near Kanjaga, on the Sisala-Builsa boundary. At the age of seven he was taken by Alfa Hano after whose death he served Alfa Gazari. At the time of revolt he was in charge of Babatu’s guns and powder, and held a high office in Sati. He is said to have heard judicial cases in Sati just like the other Zabarma leaders. He is regarded as having been literate and Muslim.

p. 92
Here is a story of Babatu
He set out from Sankana towards the Kanjaga country. He went and reached a certain town. The town was called Nangruma (footnote 119) [Its] people brought many presents and he accepted their presents. He stayed [there], he had a rest and [then] set forth. This story is also ended.

Here is a story of Babatu
He set out from Nangruma and went to Kanjaga, He reached Kanjaga and stayed in Kanjaga for one month. One day he heard the news as if Amariya and Balugu were coming. Babatu said that it was a lie. [Then] one man came [there] and said: “Babatu, Amariya drew very near [to this place]”. Babatu called his people and said: “Did you hear [it]?” They said that they heard. Another man came and said: “Babatu, make thorough preparations. There are some Europeans among them, I saw [them], it is not a [mere] rumour.” Babatu became silent. The second day, on Sunday in the morning, [when] Babatu had a rest, he heard gun-play. It was said that Amariya came with the

(footnote) 119 In ms. Naguruma – a town in northern Ghana (Ghana, Navrongo sheet).

Europeans of French origin (footnote 120) Babatu set forth arid collided with Amariya and his people, with him and the Europeans of French origin. Babatu, ruler of the Gurunsi.
The Europeans of French origin gathered many Gurunsi people, more than ten thousand people. Babatu killed all of them. As for Amariya, the Frenchmen did not see him that day. He ran away in panic, Balugu ran away in panic and Napere ran away in panic. Babatu drove away many Gurunsi people. He did not collide with the Europeans of French origin. But Babatu split them and drove away all the Gurunsi people. Emir Babatu, war commander, The Europeans of French origin and Babatu, they opposed each other very fiercely. A European of French origin felt indignant with Babatu. He fired a shot at Babatu but he missed. He (Babatu) was more valuable than ten [of them]. Emir Babatu was defeating [them], and the Zabarma people were shouting at them, The Europeans of French origin were worried and they did not rest in Kanjaga (footnote 121).  [They stayed] in a certain town. The town was called Fumbisi. Babatu drove them away that day, but Ali Gazari’s son lost his [life] that day, That day Babatu stayed in Kanjaga. When it dawned, Babatu went to Yagaba (footnote 122). The town was called Yagaba. He stayed [there]. This story is also ended.

Here is a story of Babatu
He came upon the Europeans of English origin (footnote 123).  They were many in Yagaba. They exchanged greetings with Babatu. As for Babatu, they summoned Babatu and said: “Babatu, stop fighting.” Babatu said that he agreed and that he would appease. [Then] a European of French origin came to Yagaba together with Amariya. The European of French origin and the European of English origin came together and held a council (footnote 124). The European of French origin returned. Babatu and the Europeans of English origin, they set out from Yagaba and went to a eertain town. The town was called Yabaum (footnote 125). They (the Europeans) parted from Babatu. Babatu started on a journey to a certain town. The town was called Bantala (footnote 126).

(footnote) 120 The French columns headed by captain Voulet and his aide-de-camp Chaneine entered Wahiguya by August 17th and Wagadugu, capital of the Mossis by September 1st, 1896. On September 19th Voulet-Chanoine signed a treaty with Amariya whieh put the Gurunsis under French protectorate. Captain Voulet moved by damages caused by the Zabarma troops promised to help his new “subjects”.
Cf. Hébert (11: 17ff.) and Holden (1966:80-82).

(footnote) 121 European writers (Hébert 1961:17ff., Holden 1966:83) are unanirnous when stating that Babatu was defeated in Kanjaga. Also according to McWilliam (1960:40) it was Amariya who won the victory over Babatu.

(footnote) 122 In ms. Yagaba, a town in northernGhana…

(footnote) 123 In 1896, havubg subdued the Ashantis and placed them under their protectorate, the British sent two expeditions to the north of the Gold Coast. One of them under lieutenant Henderson’s command (who was accompanied by G.F. Ferguson) in November, 1896 left Kumasi for Wa. The other, under captain Stewart’s command, went to Wagadugu. It was captain D. Stewart who met Babatu in Yagaba.

(footnote) 124  Probably the meeting of catpain Stewart with lieeutenant Scul is meant here. The latter one demanded extradition of Babatu, but captain Stewart refused to do it.

(footnote) 125 In Yagu – a town in northern Ghana, south of Daboya…

(footnote) 126  In Balali – a town in northern Ghana, on the way from Yabum to Ducie…

p. 98

Here is another story
They disputed about a certain town. The town was called Sinyensi (footnote 148) Umaru, son of Gazari said that Sinyensi belonged to him. Ali Muri claimed that Sinyensi was his. Emir Babatu settled the dispute. “Sinyensi belongs to Umaru, son of Gazari”. This story is also ended.

(footnote) 148 In ms. Sinisi – a town in north-west Ghana (Ghana, Wa sheet).



Ahmed Bako Alhassan: Babatu in Dagbon (Tamale 1991?)

[Note (F.K.): Alhassan, as he admits in his preface, adopted a very great deal of his text from Tamakloe (1931). He does not mention the Bulsa (Kanjagas) or any raids on Bulsa villages]

Preface (p. 1): The coming into being of this booklet – “BABATU IN DAGBON” has been made possible through the efforts of Alhaji Mahamadu Maida of Tamale. who is a grandson of Babatu, one of the slave raiders West Africa has ever known.
It was on the death of Hajia Rukaya Babatu the last living child of Babatu, and mother of Alhaji Maid on Friday, 22nd February 1991 that I suggested the compilation of this literature to posterity.
p. 18
Advantages that were had as a result of the presence of the Zabrama in Dagbon were many. Before their arrival, Dagbon know no horsemanship, not mentions weapons for fighting…
Again the arts of black-smithing, commerce, weaving and leathery were the produce of and skills of the Zabrama brought to Dagbon. Aside these the Islamic faith was propagated and taught in Dagbon, hence present Islam. [F.K.: These statement must be doubted]


Akanko, Peter Paul: Oral traditions of Builsa. Origin and early History of the Atuga’s Clan in the Builsa State (1700-1900).
Rosengården 1988

[Note (F.K.): Throughout Akanko’s text many references to Bulsa history can be found. In the following excerpt they have been neglected in favour of his table of contents and the unabridged appendices, containing his primary sources]

Contents (p. iii)
Acknowledgement V
Preface VII
1. Ghana, showing position of the Builsa State VIII
2. Northern Ghana, Builsa State
with towns and other places X
I Early History and Growth of the Builsa State 1
II Origin of the Name Builsa 7
III The Origin and Growth of Atuga’s Clan in Builsa 13
IV The Political System in the State and why Atuga’s
Clan has the Paramountcy of the Ruling Power in Builsa 15
V Early Occupational Activities of the People 31

1 References to Peoplc from whom I Collected oral Traditions
2 Questionnaire 47
3 Bibliographyp. 41

p. 41

Appendix 1
References to People from whom Local Oral Traditions Are Collected

*1 This oral information is collected from Mr. Leander Amoak from Sinyansa-Badomisa, one of the early settled sections of Wiaga. Her is one of the very first few educated men in the Builsa state and certainly one of the oldest teachers in Builsa. He is between 60 and 65ycars, and is now enjoying his retirement bonus at home.
According to him, the Builsa state is composed of different tribesmen with different customs, These different groups of people trace their origins to different countries outside the Builsa statc. These different groups of people included the descendants of Atuga and some southern villages which trace their origin and ancestory to the Mamprusi state, part of Kanjarga and Vare which trace their origin and ancestory to the Moshie of MOssi land and Gbedema, Doning and Chuchuliga which trace their origin and ancestory to Gurenshiland or Yiulug.
This information has been cross-checked with other elderly people:
Adum Asaghc, Akaduk-Anasarek, Akardem and Apagyie from Wiaga, Mr. Joseph Atiim from Kanjarga, Mr. Gabriel Abang from Gbedema, Mr. Clement Atiirembey from Chuchuliga and Mr. Christopher Abuuk from Kadem. All these people seem to identify themselves with Mr. Amoak’s view.

*2 This oral information has been collected from Adum Asaghe of Sinyansa. His age is between 70 and 75. Most people in Wiaga acknowledge him as a knowledgeable oldman who is vested in the traditions of the Builsa state.
In his view, most of the Builsas are descendants of the Mamprusi and Dagombas. The capital town of the Mamprusi state where their chief resided was and is still called Nalerigu. According to his interpretation. Nalerigu means “the chief is coming”. In his opinion Anaaniteng was the owner of the whole Mamprusi and Builsa lands.
This Annanitang gave birth to the following sons: Atandaga, Akomoa. Alaaba, Kovareng, Achoeba, Awabuluk, Wanwaring, Aboruk, Akandenoa and Achianbiik.
According to him, Achoeba is said to be the ancestor of Niaga und Nankani peoplc. Awabaluuk the ancestor of Builsa. Achianbiik, the ancestor of Chiana and Aboruk and Awanwaring,
p. 42
the ancestors of Chuchuliga people. But the name Chuchuliga is derived from a person called Achuchulo who came from Chibele- Pogu in Upper Volta later on, and by virtue of his superiority, lorded it over the descendants of Aboruk and Awanwaring and so
gave his name to the place known in the Builsa . state today as Chuchuliga. I cross-checked this ‘Achuchulo’ story as told by Adum Asaghe with Mr. Clement Atiirembey, a Chuchuliga born and he too shares the sane views.
According to Asaghc, Bachonsa, Kunkuck, Uwasi, Kategra, Fumbisi, Weisi and part of Kanjarga are all descendants oi Anaaniteng
too. According to my several cross-checked interviews, his view seems to be widely held by most Builsas.

*3 This information is collected from the old Adum Asaghe again. According to him, before Atuga came to Builsa, the descendants of Awabuluk were already living in the place, The first group of Awabuluk’s descendants was called Builiba after Awabuluk and the name Builsa might have certainly been derived from the name Builiba. the Builiba were believed to have settled between Kadema and Zamsa. they regarded Atuga and his men as brothers and so readily received then and allowed them to settle at any place in the Builsa state. He holds the view that the reason for the immigration of Atuga’s father from Mamprusi was over thc quest ion of the traditional circumcision among the Mamprusis. He also holds the view that Atuga settled at the place called Atuga- Guuk between Wiaga and Sandema. He has a lot of sympathisers on the reason for Immigration and settlement place of Atuga bur then his opponents arc also quite a good number.

*4 This information is collected from Lawrence Amoak from Kpandema, a section of Wiaga. His age is between 60 and 64. He is one of the few early Christians and about one of the oldest Catechists of the Roman Catholic White Missionaries in Builsa. He has certainly travelled widely with thc early Missionaries to the various villages in the Builsa state, A good number of people believe that he has got a commanding knowledge about thc traditions of the state.
According to him, when the Builsa became fully settled, the place was visited by thc. Mamprusi Chief of Nalerigu. Since thc majority of Builsas believed to have originated from the Mamprusi state, it therefore followed that the Mamprusi chief regarded them as his people.
The Builsas met him at the Yagaba Mighty dam. According to him, the Mamprusi chief was wondering whether there were rivers in the area, and so inquired from the people to know where they
p. 43
got their water from. The people replied that they got their water from “builisa” meaning wells. When the Mamprusi chief hear this, he said, “then you were better called “builsa”, wells, After this meeting the inhabitants of the area were then referred to as ‘Builsa’ up to this day.
This Amoak is also one of the Protagonists who holds the view that Atuga settled at Kadema-Badiok and not at the place called Atuga-Guuk between Wiaga and Sandema, as other people have it. He also holds the view that Agyabkai left the Mamprusi state because his brothers wanted to kill him.
This man also holds the view that Atuga first settled at Kadema Bagdiok, then he next moved to the place called Atuga- Guuk and finally returned to Bagdiok because he had no prosperity at that place now called Atuga-Guuk.

*5 This information is collected from Mr. Leander Amoak, whom I have already referred to in Appendix 1 (*1) on page 5.
According to him, the original people of the Builsa state first settled by a magic pond or well – “builik’ with its water springing from under the ground like that of a fountain. While they were always waiting to draw the water from this pond for drinking, they often hear thc continuous springing sound of the water. from the pond making Buil buil! buil! and then it changed to buil-i-sa! buil-i-sa! buil-i-sa! Soon the people got used to the sound and began imitating it “bul! buil-i-sa! This then became a household word. As the settlement became expansive, the people found that there were several of those kind of wells or ponds. So thc area was called Builsa after the “buil” buil-i-sa!” sounds from the numerous ponds which were increasing in great numbers as thc settlement expanded. this name has remained as the name of the area till this day.

*6 This information is collected from Aboora and Akardem. These two men both share the same view on the immigration of
Atuga’s father from the Mamprusi state.
Aboora is from Longsa, a section of Wiaga, He is between 55 and 60 years old. His father has been one of the early traders in the state and had travelled far and wide outside the state. He might have come across a good number of people from other states and so might have heard a lot of stories about them. According to Abooru himself his father died when he (Aboora) was quite of age and so he has heard a lot of stories from his father about the state. Aboora is well respected for his undisputable knowledge about the traditions of the state.
Akardem is an old man of Central Wiaga. This section is
p. 44
called Yisobsah-Dogblinsa, The people of this section are regarded as the rightful owners of the land of Wiaga. Akardem’s father was
one of the early lords or “earth priests” of Wiaga. Akardem is therefore regarded in a large circle of people as a person vested in the traditions of the state. He is between 70 and 76 years of age.
According to these two men, Atuga was the son of Agyabkai and Apoomsebfanyese. Agyabkai was the eldest son of the Mamprusi chief at Nalerigu. In their opinion Agyabkai wanted to overthrow his father to become the chief instead. But his father noticed his intention in time and so wanted to kill him. However, Agyabkai also realised that his father was after his block and was therefore always almost at large. When his father failed to trap him, he denounced him as a son. Agyabkai and his family together with some followers therefore left the Mamprusi state for safety. From the Mamprusi state they moved along the south-eastern boundary through Waung and Kpesinkpe and then went to settle at Salaga.
But Salaga as a centre of trade, slave market and generally a hot place to live, they next moved from there and came to settle at Walewale. Here, Agyabkai got married to Apoomsebfenyese and gave birth to Atuga, After a very long period of stay at Walewale, Agyabkai died and left Atuga and his mother and followers there. By then Atuga was quite of age and so he assumed leadership of the group. Atuga and his followers were deprived of enough land to do farming. so they moved from Walewale, passing through the Nankani-Gurensi land and Niaga and finally came to settle at the place called today as Kadema-Badiok.
There, Atuga and his men met the Builiba who readily received them as their brothers and gave them land and they settled peacefully among them. After some time Atuga got married to Amwanyasalie from Tankansa and gave birth to four sons, Akaresa, Awiak, Assandem and Asenee, who became the founders of the present Kadema, Wiaga, Sandema and Siniensi. these four villages form the Atuga clan group in the Builsa state.

*7 This information is collected from Akaduk-Anasarek and cross-checked from Akardem, Aboora, Adum Asaghe and Mr. Leander Amoak whom I have already referred to more than once.
Akarduk-Anasarek is an elderly man from Wiaga-Guuta. He is aged between 63 and 68. His father was one of the early traders in the state. When Asarek was of age, he had the chance of travelling with him from place to place. People hold him as one of the knowledgeable persons in the traditions of the state.
According to Akardem, Aboora, Adum-Asaghe, Mr. Leander Amoak and Akarduk-Anasarek, who all hold the same view on the name of Atuga’s four sons, when Atuga got married and had his four sons, he could not name them from the on set. But then one
p. 45
day he went hunting and happened to kill a cow. When the woe [cow?] was brought home and skinned, he asked the people to cut it into reasonable chunks. When this was done, he took the chance to test the intelligence of his sons by asking them to choose the chunk of the cow they liked best in turns. The first son chose the bony legs, shins, known as “Karesa”. When they asked him why he chose the ‘karesa’ he said they were strong and the cow used them in walking.
The second son chose a whole thigh, known as “Wiek” and cut it into pieces. When he was asked the reason for his choice and process, he said he wanted to preserve it for future use because it was too much for a day’s meal; Moreover, it was not easy to come by meat everyday. The process of preservation is known as “Wiarka”. This showed sense of wisdom in him and he was referred to as the wisest of all the four sons, after they had all made their choice.
The third born chose the bladder known as “Sinsamluik”. His reason was that there was water in it. The fourth and last born chose the chest called “Sunum” and cut it into. pieces for roasting on fire which he had prepared for eating on the spot. The process of roasting and eating of the pieces of meat is known as “Seneeka” or “Seliensika”. His reason was that the meat was meant to be used as food and so must be eaten. Through this he was able to get names for all his four sons.
The first son chose bonny legs ” karek-karesa – so he was called Akardem. The second son chose the thigh and cut it into pieces for preservation – thigh- Wiek, perservation- Wiarka, so he was called Awiark or Awiak, The third son chose bladder – Sinsamluik-
Asinsam and so he was called Asamdam – short form of Asinsam. Lastly the fourth son chose the chest and cut it into pieces to toast and eat on the spot – seneeka – or sellensika- selsensi-sense and so he was also called Asinieng, These his four sons – Akardem, Awiak, Asamdem and Asinieng grew up to give their names to the present day Kadema, Wiaga, Sandema and Siniensi, the four Atuga clan villages in the Builsa state.

*8 This information is collected from Mr. Joseph Atiim from Kanjarga. He has been one of the first persons to attend the first Government Primary School in the state and later at the Tamale Boys’ Senior School for the Northern Territories. This is now the Tamale Secondary School, former Government Secondary School. He has therefore, a mature mind about the traditions of the state by virtue of his early experience as an educated person. He is between 40 and 44. He is a senior teacher and the head teacher of the Builsa Middle Boarding and Continuation School. His information has been cross-checked with Mr. Leander Amoak, Adum Asaghe, Akardem Aboora and several others from the four villages of Atuga
p. 46
and all seem to share his view on chiefship in the state.
According to him and his protagonists, the idea of chiefship appears to be a borrowed term from the Mamprusis who called
their chief “Na”. The term might have been ancestory inheritance because most Builsas traced their origin to the Mamprusis. So a person who seemed to exert some ruling power was called “Nab” or chief. It was generally the “earth priests” teng-nyam who exerted ruling powers over the people on ancestory lines as if he had his powers from the Mamprusi state – their ancestory state. but these sort of rulers were regarded as rulers on religious terms.
Later on same plutocrats (Dobreba) rose up and by virture of their wealth seised power to rule as “nalema” or chiefs. Thus the saying “nanta nyono le nab”, meaning a wealthy man is obviously a chief, which has remained with the Builsas up to this day. These plutocrats were often approved by the people as leaders on the basis of the sort of leadership they gave. However, there was no guarantee that one plutocrat or a group of plutocrats could rule as “nalema” forever.
The rule by the “earth priests” with delegated ancestory powers from the Mamprusi state was known as “naik naam”, that is to say ancestory chiefship, this was because these ‘earth priests” claimed that they had their divine powers to rule from the people’s ancestory land.
According to Akardem, the people who were ruling with ancestory powers in some of the villages before the coming of the Europeans to the Builsa state were: Akomwab at Kadema, Awuumi of Yimonsa at Wiaga, Anamkum at Sandema, Abaagyie at Siniensi, Anapagye-Achoata-Atibilat Kanjarga and Anyiamjutee at Fumbisi,
But with the arrival of the whitemen, there was a change from traditional chiefship to Europeanised chiefship because the traditional leaders were not ready to co-operate with the whites, they were never on the spot to meet these Europeans when they arrived. They could not provide carriers to carry their luggage and so on. While there was this sort of board pulling relations between
the traditional leaders and their white visitors, there were people in the various villages of the state who were often ready to meet the whitemen to give them the needed help. The whitemen could not fail to notice these men with leadership qualities and co-operative spirit. So when the whitemen came to have full control in the state they did not hesitate to do away with these uncompromising traditional leaders.
This interruptions by the Europeans then gave birth to modem
chiefship in the state. People who became the first Europeanised chiefs in some of the villages in the state were: Atigbiurou at Kadema, Ateng at Wiaga, Anamkum still remained chief of Sandema Abadiin at Sinienai, Ankangnab at Kanjarga and Ayaagyig at Fumbisi. With these changes in leaders, the chiefs then ruled on modern lines. However, there was still that feeling of ancestory powers, so although the chiefs were chosen by Europeans, they
p. 46
still had to go to Nalerigu and Kpensinkpe for confirmation by the Mamprusi chief. This was necessary because the people wished to rule with the consent of their ancestors.

*9 Sergeant Akanluba Adamu is a person who has seen services in both the gold Coast Regiment as a soldier and later on as a Policeman. As a soldier he saw action in both the First and Second World Wars – 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. According to him most Builsa soldiers saw action in these two wars. According to him, the Builsas (then popularly known as Kanjargas) were described as ‘the men who never fear death”. As regard the recruitment of soldiers for the Second World War, he quoted the paramount chief Mr. Azantilow as saying “if thousand Builsas are killed in this war I will give another thousand”. This was after a British Officer came to the state and recommended the bravery of the Builsas to him and requested that he should get ready for further supply of soldiers for the Gold Coast Regiment.


Akankyalabey, Pauline: A History of the Builsa People

(Legon 1984)
Dissertation… for the Award of the B.A. Degree

(Note F.K.: Since the whole thesis is concerned with Bulsa history, we have not printed all significant passages, but have enlisted something like a summary or index. Her main results can also be found in Akankyalabey 2005, following the part)

Introduction: vi: …the Builsas never developed the art of the drummer… [to preserve] their history…
Chapter one: The origins and migrations of the Builsa People (1-23)
p. 1-3: derivation of the name “Builsa” (section of Kadema…; bulik, well);
p. 4: the name “Kanjargas”
p. 5: a “hotch-potch” people (Rattray)
p. 6: Ananiteng (in Zamsa) as the founding ancestor of the indigenous Builsa…
p. 7: indigenous people: Kadema: Builiba, Tengdagrisa, Achianbisa, Taaba and Kovarensa,
Wiaga: Kperengse, Komdem, Chamdem, Tankansa (founder Atankang); Sandema: Badiinsa, Kanaansa, Bambalsa; people of Vare (extinct). …all claim that their ancestors came from the sky
p. 8ff: immigrants: four main immigrant groups between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries: Kasem-Isala speaking group from the north, a Sisala group from the west, a Mole-speaking group from the Tallensi area and a Mamprulli group from the south and south-west
p. 9: blacksmith sections in: Kanjarga, Chuchuliga, Fumbisi, Sandema, Wiaga; all taboo the cricket pang.
p. 10: Sisala immigrants… came mainly from Santejan (or Kong). Some settled at… Kanjarga, others at Dongning and Sandema where they founded… Kandem
Dogninga: founder Adogning, a hunter who probably migrated from the Nankanni area. He first settled in Kandiga… rode on a bushcow to the present Dogninga; killed people and settled there with his family
p. 11: Other versions of the origin of Dogninga say that its founder come from Wiaga or Kadem, while other claim that Dogninga was an offshoot of Kanjarga.
immigrants of the area of Tongo; … the descendants … are those of Agoak or Along in Wiaga and especially the people of Gbedema, where Atong founded an off-shoot of… the external bogar near Tengsugu
p. 12: …two groups of immigrants… from the east or south-east… related to the Mamprusi…
One of them have Atuga as their founding father. He was a Mamprusi prince who left Nalerigu and settled at Atuga-guuk (near Sandema Junior Boarding School). His sons founded the four major villages of Sandema, Wiaga, Kadema and Siniensi.
The other group which also migrated from Mamprusi land was led by Afia and they founded Fumbisi from where later the people of Kategra branched off. In addition, a man called Akunjong is said to have left Nalerigu, settled at Kpasinkpe and he or his son later founded Kanjarga. There are, however, conflicting traditions relative to the foundation of Kanjarga (see Rattray, p. 400).
p. 14: …the story of the lone hunter who founded the settlement of Dogninga…
…when the immigrants came to the Builsas, they were welcomed by the indigenous people who gave them land to settle… Soon the immigrants adopted the Builsa language and (p.15) the Builsa way of life.
(p. 15)… some of the pre-existing people migrated to Kologu in the east, Naga in the west, Nakong and Katiuk in the north and others to Sisala-land.

p. 15-23 (no detailed excerpts here): … the position of the teng-nyono; the wealthy men (dobroba); clans; sections; the compound; marriage; system of inheritance patrilineal; agriculture; blacksmiths

p. 24: …Atuga’s father was an elder son of the Nayiri of Mamprusi. He was called Agurima but other traditions refer to him as Agyabkai or Wurama (cf. Cardinall p. 11).
p. 25:
(1) …Agurima was undermining his father with an aim of deposing him and becoming chief of Mamprusi.. he seduced the most beloved wife of his father
(2)…Agurima moved away from the Mamprusi state because he disagreed with his father about the question of circumcision… Agurima refused to have his children circumcised…
p. 26: (3) — dispute among Agurima’ brothers..[who] planned to kill him
(4) According to G.A. Achaab, “the migration occurred during a war between Mamprugu and Dagbon. While fighting, the Nayiri decided to build a wall of protection around Nalerigu. The wall was to be built with a mixture of earth, shea-butter and honey to make it stronger. Atuga, a prince, set out to find the honey. he, however, got lost in the bush and in his wandering came to Kadema where he settled with one Abuluk ( Inf. G.A. Achaab).
(5) Atuga was a good and kind man… His brothers were envious of this… They seized Atuga ‘s pregnant wife and ripped her belly open. This resulted in a fight (p. 27) between atuga and his brothers… Atuga mounted a horse which took him to the Gambaga scarp… [then] they moved to Salaga… From Salaga they moved to Walewale where Agurima died… then Atuga assumed leadership and moved to Kpesinkpe (Inf. Sandemnab to Schott, p. 9).
p. 28:
Views: Atuga settled in “Bag diak (Kadema; Inf. Lewis Awiadem and Awuchansa) or at Atuga Guuk. His grave at Atuga Guuk marked by a tree called “Atuga-pusik.
p. 29: The Growth and Expansion of Atuga’s clan
Atuga married a woman from Tankangsa called Amwanyagsalie. …other versions: … married a daughter of Abuluk. Anecdote about animal meat….
p. 31: Political, Social and Economic Change (1700-1897)
earthpriests.. chiefs with limited power…
p. 33: traditional chiefs of Wiaga: Awuumi and Anankansa of Yimonsa; Yimonsa was founded by Ayimoning, Awiak’s son.
p. 34: Akomwob, a descendant of Akaa became chief of Kadema; Abaagyi, a descendant of Asenee or Asenieng became chief of Siniensi. Sandema: Ananguna and Anankum.
Kanjaga: Atibil; Fumbisi: Anyiamjutee, Gbedema: Atong. But since the ancestors Atibil and Atong did not come from Mamprusi, they did not go there for the “naam”. Atong is said to have gone to Tongo while Atibil might have gone to Sisala land for his “naam” (Lewis Awiadem).
colonial administration brought the Builsas under Mamprugu in 1912.
p. 37: The people of Bachonsa assert that their grandfathers came from Wiaga under Afeok who met some Kasena on the land. …the people of Fumbisi drove the Wiasi people away to where they are now,
p. 38: economy, local crafts…
p. 40: The Zabarima Invasion of Builsa (after Holden…)
p. 44: …the raids of Babatu led to the union of the Builsas. …decision to unite under Sandema have Sandem as the capital.

p. 45:
CHAPTER THREE: The contact with Europe (1897-1951)
p. 46: Delafosse: “Le 14 Mars 1897, avec l’aide de partisans Gourounsi le lieutenant Chanoise battait Babatu a Gandiaga”
p. 48 Political Change in Builsa
1902 Punitive expedition (see original source)
p. 51: The following Builsa chiefs are among those who resigned or were forced out of offices; Akomwob of Kadema, Awumi of Wiaga, Abaagyi of Yekpenyeri Siniensi, Atibil of Kanjaga and Anyimjutee of Fumbisi (Leander Amoak).
At Kadema, Atigbuirou was enskinned as the official chief in place of Akomrob. At Wiaga, Ateng Abooma of Yisobsa was made chief in place of Awuumi of Yimonsa.
p. 52: …at Siniensi, Abadiia Akpiok was appointed chief in place of Abagy. Akninkangnab took the place of Atibil as chief of Kanjarga, while at Fumbisi, Anyiamjutee was replaced by Ayaagyig.
In 1907, the British replaced the military administration with a civil one. Administrative districts were created and Builsa came under the Navrongo Administrative District.
…on 23rd September 1911, Ayieta… was elected paramount chief (Navrongo Districts Record Book, NAG Adm. 63/5/1)
p. 53: …creation of the Native Authority Areas, hegemony of Mamprugu
p. 54: In 1912, Native Authority Areas were created and the Builsas were placed under the Mamprusi Native Authority Area. …the Nayiri became head of the North-eastern province, that is South Mamprusi, Kusasi, Zuarungu and Navrongo Districts. … the Nayiri continued to confirm the elections of Builsa chiefs. The Sandemnab presided over the elections of the chiefs.
p. 55 .The chiefs of Kategra, Jaadem and Kunkuaga preferred the more experience Azinab of Wiaga as paramount chief to the youthful Ayieta… Thus when the Chief Azinab declined to contest the paramountship, they were disappointed. …deposition of the chief of Kanjarga was seriously considered by the District Commissioner.
p. 57f.: (relation to Mamprusi): The chiefs favoured the formation of a separate Builsa division with the Sandem-nab as the president. This decision was derived at meeting held on 19 May, 1934 (came into effect 1st September 1934. … a Builsa Native Authority , a Native Tribunal and a Native Treasures were recognized.
p. 58: Builsa Native Tribunal… with the Sandema-nab as the presiding members. …membership limited up to five…
p. 59: A Builsa Native Treasury was established in Sandema under the Native Treasury Ordinance, 1936. [It]… functioned under the leadership of the Sandem-nab Azantilow until 1951 when the Native Administrations were replaced by District Council and responsibility transfered from the Native Authorities to the Local Councils.
p. 60A Social and Economic Changes
p. 63: A Native Dispensary was opened only in 1937 by the Native Authorities
p. 64: By 1920, a road was constructed from Sandema through Wiaga to Kanjarga and Fumbisi.
… Many Builsa were also enlisted in the Gold Coast Regiment which was formed in 1900. Some of these saw action in Togo, East Africa, India and Burma as members of the West African Frontier Force during the two World Wars.
p. 65: … opening a primary school in 1930 and a dispensary in the 1940 (by White Fathers)
p. 66: … the Kantosis settled in Sandema and Siniensi in the first two decades of the twentieth century.
Bullock-drawn implements were introduced to the Builsa farmers but no interest was shown by the people until the 1950 and 60s.
p. 67: 1935 and 1936 about 200 bulls bred at Pong Tamale were issued to chiefs and farmers in Bulsa and Kusasi for the development of the local breed.
p. 68: Markets were opened in all the Builsa villages and towns. Those in the towns were provided with sheds by the Native Administration.
p. 71: …the British introduced new foods for example rice which is now a staple…
…Western education has afforded the native the possibility of taking down his own history and particularly allows him to see European rule as an interaction between two sets of people rather than as gods dealing with sub-human beings.

1. Mr Abaseba G. Achaab, 45 years, from Kadema, interview: 11/10/82; occupation: teaching
2. Mr. Aboora, 70-75 years; interview: 13/10/82, occupation: farming; Wiaga-Longsa
3. Adum Asaghe: 70-75 years; interview: 15/10/82; occupation: farming, Wiaga-Sinyangsa
4. A. Akardem; 75-85 years, interview: 15/10/82; from Wiaga-Yisobsa-Dogbilinsa, his father: teng-nyono
p. 74:
5. A. Awuchana (now dead); 100 years; interview: 6/10/82; Wiaga-Wobilinsa, Wiaga-Chandem
6. Lawrence Amoak, 65-70 years; interview: 10/10/82; retired catechist, now farmer, W-Chandem
7. Leander Amoak, 65-70 years, interview: 19/10/82, retired teacher, Wiaga-Sinyangsa-Badomssa
8. Lewis Awiadem, 65-70 years, interview: 11/19/82, retired catechist, now farmer, Wiaga-Yisobsa

p. 75: BIBLIOGRAPHY (21 publications)


Pauline Akankyalabey:  Geschichte der Bulsa 

In: 15 Frauen und 8 Ahnen. Leben und Glauben der Bulsa in Nordghana. (Eds.) M. Grabenheinrich und S. Klocke-Daffa, Münster 2005, p. 29-37.

German (original) Edition

…Ursprünge und Einwanderungen

p. 30

Wie bei vielen Nachbargruppen beginnt auch die Geschichte der Bulsa mit Erzählungen über ihren Ursprung und Einwanderungen aus anderen Gebieten. Ihre heutige Zusammensetzung resultiert daraus, dass sich ganz verschiedene Ethnien unabhängig voneinander im heutigen Bulsagebiet ansie-

p. 31

delten. Im Laufe der Jahrhunderte schmolzen alle zusammen und wurden schließlich eine selbständige kulturelle und politische Einheit. Leider besitzen wir kaum geschichtliches Quellenmaterial über die Bulsa für die Zeit vor dem 20. Jahrhundert und dem Eintreffen der europäischen Kolonialmächte in Nordghana. Unser heutiges Wissen über die frühe Geschichte und Kultur der Bulsa ist daher auf Relikte beschränkt, wie sie sich in traditionellen religiösen Riten (z. B. bei Heiraten und Totenfeiern) und in mündlichen Überlieferungen finden lassen.

Mit Ausnahme der Pionierarbeiten von Rattray (1932) und den Veröffentlichungen über orale Traditionen (als historische Quellen) durch Schott besteht ein allgemeiner Mangel an geschichtlichen Sekundärquellen über die Bulsa. Andererseits steht uns heute über die Sozialstruktur, politische Organisation und Religion dank der Arbeiten von Schott, Kröger, Heermann, Meier und Blanc umfangreiches Material zur Verfügung2. Relevante Quellen aus der Kolonialzeit sind uns als Archivmaterial in der Form von Akten, Urkunden, Briefen, Berichten, Zeitschriften und Gerichtsprotokollen zugänglich.

Unser Wissen über die frühe Geschichte der Bulsa, ebenso wie über die ihrer Nachbarn, basiert nicht auf Faktenmaterial. Es gibt nicht eine einzige historisch völlig vertrauenswürdige Überlieferung. Die Berichte und Erzählungen dienen alle, wie Schott richtig bemerkt, einem politischen, gesellschaftlichen oder religiösen Zweck, und sie können daher alle nur in ihrem jeweiligen Zusammenhang verstanden werden. Sie dokumentieren ein heute noch lebendiges historisches Bewusstsein der Bulsa (SCHOTT 1977: 152).

Schott fand jedoch heraus, dass es sogar innerhalb eines Dorfes unterschiedliche, ja sogar widersprüchliche Versionen historischer Traditionen gibt. Die populärste Ursprungsmythe berichtet vom Entstehen des Atuga-Clans und der Gründung der vier großen Bulsa-Dörfer Sandema, Wiaga, Kadema und Siniensi. Hiernach verließ Atuga, ein Prinz aus der Mamprusi-Hauptstadt Nalerigu, zusammen mit seiner Familie seine Heimat und siedelte an einem Ort, der heute noch Atuga-pusik heißt und zwischen Sandema und Wiaga liegt. Seine vier Söhne Akam, Awiak, Asam und Asinieng gründeten Kadema, Wiaga, Sandema und Siniensi, und deren Söhne sind die Gründer weiterer Untersektionen dieser Dörfer. Sie vermischten sich mit der dort ansässigen Urbevölkerung und nahmen deren Sprache an.

In seiner kurzen Studie über die Bulsa-Traditionen kommt Rattray zu dem Schluss, dass die Bulsa ein Mischlingsvolk (“hotch-potch people”) aus verschiedenen Sprachgruppen sind.

p. 32

Wir haben weder schlüssige Beweise oder Erklärungen für die Züge der Einwanderer, noch wissen wir, wann sie stattfanden und welchem Druck sie gewichen sind. Jedoch ist bekannt, dass die Zeit vom 15. bis zum 18. Jahrhundert eine unruhige Zeit des politischen und sozialen Umbruchs in ganz Nordghana war: Das Entstehen der zentralistischen Königreiche in näherer und weiterer Nachbarschaft der Bulsa (Dagomba, Mamprusi, Nanumba, Gonja, Wa und Mossi), die Einflussnahme des Ashanti-Reiches auf ihre nördlichen Nachbarn und der transatlantische Sklavenhandel hatten sicher einen großen Einfluss auf die demographischen Strukturen Nordghanas.

Die frühe soziale und politische Organisation im Bulsaland 

Eine Folge der Einwanderungswellen war, dass die Bulsa seitdem aus zwei großen Abstammungsgruppen bestehen, die friedlich Seite an Seite leben. Es sind die Nachkommen der Urbevölkerung und die Nachkommen Atugas und anderer Einwanderungsgruppen. Allen gemeinsam ist, dass sie in Verwandtschaftverbänden leben, die sich vom Clan bis hin zum einzelnen Gehöft in viele Einzelgruppen verzweigen, ohne dass dieses System eigentlich eines starken Häuptlingstums bedurfte. Über einen jeweils größeren Siedlungsverband hatte wenigstens früher ein Erdherr oder Erdpriester einen starken Einfluss, vor allem im religiösen Leben. Oft war er ein Nachkomme der ursprünglichen Bewohner. Seine Hauptaufgabe bestand darin, als Mittler zwischen den Menschen und der Erde zu walten. Als Aufseher und Opferer der Erdheiligtümer, der nach Bulsa-Glauben streng auf die Einhaltung der Moral und besonderer Tabuvorschriften achtete, hatte er Einfluss auf viele Dinge des täglichen Lebens und war für das Wohlergehen seiner Gemeinschaft mitverantwortlich.

Der Erdherr war aber nicht die einzige Autorität im vorkolonialen Bulsaland. Die Nachkommen Atugas sollen angeblich eine Art Häuptlingstum errichtet haben, das sie in einer sakralen Form noch an ihr Ursprungsland und an den Häuptling der Mamprusi (Nayiri) gebunden hat.

Die Bulsa-Häuptlinge besaßen ebenso wie die Erdherren eine rituelle Autorität. Sie konnten Land verteilen, in Streitfällen des eigenen Clans vermitteln und sogar im Falle eines Angriffs von außen Krieger zur Verteidigung des Landes rekrutieren. Es muss jedoch betont werden, dass der Häuptling

p. 33

keine politische Verfügungsgewalt über Personen hatte, die nicht zu seinem Clan oder seiner Verwandtschaftsgruppe gehörten. Dieser Mangel an ausübender Gewalt auf Seiten der Häuptlinge passte der britischen Kolonialverwaltung nicht in ihr Konzept und führte zu der Vermutung, dass die Bulsa und andere Ethnien früher überhaupt keine Häuptlinge hatten und dass das ganze Gebiet sich in einem gesetzlosen Zustand befand (DER 2000). In den mündlichen Bulsa-Überlieferungen wird jedenfalls berichtet, dass alle Dörfer des Atuga-Clans schon eine Art Häuptlingstum kannten.

Die Sklavenjagden der Zabarima und der Übergang zur kolonialen Epoche 

Schriftliche Quellen berichten, dass Sklavenjagden im heutigen Nordghana schon seit dem 18. Jahrhundert stattfanden (AWEDOBA 1985, S. 57). Der Brite Bowdich, der 1817 Kumasi besuchte, berichtete, dass das Königreich Dagomba (Nordghana) jedes Jahr 500 Sklaven und andere Güter als jährlichen Tribut an das Ashanti-Reich senden musste (BOWDICH 1819, S. 320). Auch Goody schreibt, dass Völker des heutigen Nordghana von Mossi (heute in Burkina Faso) und den südlicheren Königreichen überfallen wurden (GOODY 1967). Übereinstimmend aber erklären die genannten Quellen, dass die frühen Sklavenjagden weder das militärische noch das räumliche Ausmaß der Zabarima-Raubzüge zwischen 1894 und 1898 erreichten.

Die Zabarima (auch Djerma genannt, aus dem Gebiet des heutigen Niger), die zum ersten Mal in den 1860er Jahren als Pferdehändler und Kaufleute bei den Dagomba-Häuptlingen auftraten, errichteten später ihr Hauptquartier in Kasana (bei Tumu). Sie fühlten sich nun unabhängig von den Dagomba und überfielen von dort benachbarte Ethnien. Unter ihrem späteren Anführer Babatu erreichten die Sklavenjagden ihren Höhenpunkt. Die Zabarima mit ihren Hilfstruppen aus Nordghana griffen ein Dorf nach dem anderen an, töteten die Häuptlinge, nahmen Männer und Frauen gefangen, verkauften sie als Sklaven und beschlagnahmten ihre ganze Habe: Vieh, Getreidevorräte usw. Aber die Völker Nordghanas waren nicht immer so wehrlos wie oft angenommen. Unter Führung des Sandema-Häuptlings sollen vereinigte Bulsa-Truppen die Zabarima zweimal geschlagen haben (MORRIS 1902).

p. 34

1901 erklärte Großbritannien Nordghana zum Protektorat. Allgemein lässt sich sagen, dass die Briten den Norden vernachlässigten und seine Entwicklung wenig förderten. Sie nahmen an, dass die Nordterritorien wirtschaftlich nichts einbrachten, da man hier im Vergleich zu Südghana weder Bodenschätze ausbeuten noch landwirtschaftliche Überschüsse erzielen konnte.

Da die Zabarima-Überfälle das Land politisch, wirtschaftlich und sozial zerrüttet hatten, hielt die Verwaltung es für dringend erforderlich, dass alle weiteren Fehden und Überfälle eingestellt wurden, damit in einem befriedeten Land ein neuer Handel und Wandel aufblühen konnte. Dieses erreichten die Briten zum Teil dadurch, dass sie Strafexpeditionen gegen angebliche Unruhestifter durchführten, um die Bevölkerung ganz unter ihre Kontrolle zu bekommen. Zwei solcher Expeditionen wurden gegen die Leute von Sandema ausgeschickt mit dem Erfolg, dass sich schließlich der Häuptling von Sandema ergab und um die britische Flagge bat.

Die Kolonialverwaltung brauchte nicht nur Rekruten, sondern auch Menschen, die Lasten trugen und Straßen, Bahnhöfe und Rasthäuser für sie bauten. Schon 1906 begann man, Arbeiter für die Goldbergwerke von Tarkwa im Süden anzuheuern. Um 1917 bestätigten die Behörden, dass ungefähr 90% der Polizisten aus Northerners (Leute aus dem Norden) bestand. Obwohl das beständige Anheuern von Arbeitskräften für Bergwerke und Eisenbahnen des Südens schädlich für die Leute im Norden war, argumentierten die Kolonialbeamten, dass dieses ein geeignetes Mittel war, “sich eine aufgeklärtere Weitsicht anzueignen als es bei einem lebenslangen Aufenthalt innerhalb der Grenzen eines kleines Distriktes” möglich gewesen wäre (HOWELL1997, S. 40). 1927 wurde dem Anheuern von Arbeitskräften endgültig ein Ende gesetzt. Die Kolonialbehörden sahen ein, dass die Politik der Zwangsarbeit jeden wirtschaftlichen Fortschritt in der Heimat der Arbeiter blockierte (THOMAS 1973).

Aus dem Bedarf an Arbeitskräften für die Briten ergab sich die Notwendigkeit, geeignete Führer zu finden, die diese Arbeiter rekrutierten. Zu ihrem Ärger besaßen die meisten traditionellen Führer nicht genug politische Macht, auf ihre Leute Zwang auszuüben. Die britischen Beamten verkannten jedoch die Machtbefugnis der Häuptlinge und beschwerten sich beständig über die Unfähigkeit der Häuptlinge, angemessen zu regieren. Als Ausweg aus diesem Dilemma blieb der Kolonialverwaltung nichts anderes übrig als die Autorität der Häuptlinge zu stärken, neue Häuptlingstümer zu schaffen

p. 35

und, falls notwendig, unbotmäßige Häuptlinge abzusetzen (RATTRAY 1932). Hierdurch wurde der Charakter des Häuptlingstums verändert: Aus einer eher religiösen wurde in stärkerem Maße eine politische Einrichtung. Die Häuptlinge und Unterhäuptlinge wurden in Stellungen befördert und mit Autorität versehen, wie sie niemals zuvor in der Bulsa Geschichte bekannt waren. Dieses führte in einigen Fällen zum Missbrauch ihrer Macht, die sich durch Korruption und Unterdrückung der Untertanen äußerte. Die Einführung der Geldwirtschaft und die Besteuerung der Bevölkerung führte dazu, dass viele Menschen nach Süden migrierten, um dort Geld zu verdienen, weil es im Norden zu wenige Arbeitsplätze gab. 1911 rief die Kolonialadministration eine Versammlung aller Bulsa-Häuptlinge ein, und Ayieta Ananguna, der Häuptling von Sandema, wurde zum Paramount Chief (etwa gleichbedeutend mit Oberhäuptling oder König) aller Bulsa befördert. 1934 wurde das Bulsaland eine eigene Verwaltungseinheit (Bulsa Native Authority Area) mit einem eigenen Gericht (Native Tribunal) unter dem Paramount Chief .

Westliche Schulbildung und Christentum

Die Einstellung der Kolonialregierung gegenüber der Einführung westlicher Schulbildung im Norden war eher zurückhaltend, um so die Macht der traditionellen Institutionen zu erhalten. Lediglich die Kirchen unterhalten einige wenige Schulen. Die Konsequenz daraus war eine erhebliche und bis heute bemerkbare Bildungsbenachteiligung des Nordens gegenüber den Ashantigebieten und dem Süden (THOMAS 1975, S.427).

Tatsächlich verdanken viele der ersten gebildeten Bulsa und darüber hinaus viele andere Bewohner Nordghanas ihre Ausbildung den Weißen Vätern, die sich 1906 erstmals in Navrongo niederließen und 1907 eine Schule eröffneten. Trotz eines anfänglichen Misstrauens und Desinteresses seitens der Bevölkerung stieg die Nachfrage kontinuierlich an, jedoch wurden die Bemühungen der Weißen Väter um neue Stationen und Schulgründungen von der Kolonialverwaltung kategorisch abgelehnt.

Erst 1927 erhielten die Weißen Väter die Erlaubnis, eine Schule in Wiaga (Bulsaland) zu eröffnen. 1936 eröffnete die Bulsa Native Authority auf Drängen des Sandema-Häuptlings eine eigene Grundschule in Sandema. Bis 1932 gab es in den gesamten Northern Territories lediglich vier Missionsschulen und vier staatliche Grundschulen, eine Junior Trade School und eine weiterführende Schule, während allein das Ashantigebiet 46 staatliche und 68 nicht-staatliche Schulen zählte. Die restriktive Politik dieser Zeit wurde in den 30er Jahren gelockert, als eine stärkere Missionstätigkeit im Norden zugelassen wurde. Die Weißen Väter nutzten die Gelegenheit für die Gründung von Missionsstationen und Schulen auch in anderen Teilen des Protektorats.

Insgesamt wirkte sich die Politik der Kolonialadministration negativ auf die Verbreitung von Schulen und westlicher Schulbildung im Norden aus. Darüber hinaus hatte sie auch ihren Anteil an der geringen Beteiligung von Mädchen am Schulsystem. Das anfängliche allgemeine Desinteresse der Kolonialbehörden, Mädchen für den Schulbesuch zu gewinnen, sowie die Zurückhaltung der Eltern, ihre Töchter zur Schule zu schicken, drückt sich anschaulich in Zahlen aus: Bis 1920 waren von den insgesamt 243 Schülern in den gesamten Northern Territories lediglich 9 Mädchen, bis 1938 hatten nur 38 Mädchen dieser Region den Standard VII Level erreicht. In Ashanti waren es zur gleichen Zeit 337. Abschließend kann man festhalten, dass der Norden im Hinblick auf die Schulbildung – insbesondere von Mädchen – im Vergleich zum Süden stark benachteiligt war, was bis heute Auswirkungen hat.


Pauline Akankyalabey: History of the Bulsa 

In: 15 Wives and 8 Ancestors. Life and Faith of the Bulsa in Northern Ghana. (Eds.) M. Grabenheinrich and S. Klocke-Daffa, Münster 2005, p. 29-37.

English Translation (Deeple and F.K.)

… p. 30

Origins and immigration 

As with many neighbouring groups, the history of the Bulsa begins with narratives of their origins and immigrations from other areas. Their present composition is the result of very different ethnic groups settling independently in what is now the Bulsa area.

p. 31

settled. In the course of the centuries they all melted together and finally became an independent cultural and political unit. Unfortunately, we have hardly any historical source material on the Bulsa for the time before the 20th century and the arrival of the European colonial powers in Northern Ghana. Our current knowledge of the early history and culture of the Bulsa is therefore limited to relics as found in traditional religious rites (e.g. at marriages and funeral ceremonies) and in oral traditions.

With the exception of the pioneering work of Rattray (1932) and the publications on oral traditions (as historical sources) by Schott, there is a general lack of historical secondary sources on the Bulsa. On the other hand, we now have extensive material on social structure, political organisation and religion thanks to the work of Schott, Kröger, Heermann, Meier and Blanc2. Relevant sources from the colonial period are available to us as archival material in the form of files, deeds, letters, reports, journals and court records.

Our knowledge of the early history of the Bulsa, as well as that of their neighbours, is not based on factual material. There is not a single historically completely trustworthy tradition. The reports and narratives all serve a political, social or religious purpose, as Schott rightly points out, and they can therefore all only be understood in their respective contexts. They document a historical consciousness of the Bulsa that is still alive today (SCHOTT 1977: 152).

Schott found, however, that even within one village there are different, even contradictory versions of historical traditions. The most popular origin myth reports the emergence of the Atuga clan and the founding of the four large Bulsa villages of Sandema, Wiaga, Kadema and Siniensi. According to this, Atuga, a prince from the Mamprusi capital of Nalerigu, left his home together with his family and settled in a place that is still called Atuga-pusik and lies between Sandema and Wiaga. His four sons Akam, Awiak, Asam and Asinieng founded Kadema, Wiaga, Sandema and Siniensi, and their sons are the founders of other sub-sections of these villages. They mixed with the indigenous population there and adopted their language.

In his brief study of Bulsa traditions, Rattray concludes that the Bulsa are a mixed race (“hotch-potch people”) of different language groups.

p. 32

We have no conclusive evidence or explanation of the immigrant traits, nor do we know when they took place and to what pressures they gave way. However, it is known that the period from the 15th to the 18th century was a turbulent time of political and social upheaval throughout northern Ghana: the emergence of the centralist kingdoms in the immediate and wider neighbourhood of the Bulsa (Dagomba, Mamprusi, Nanumba, Gonja, Wa and Mossi), the encroachment of the Ashanti Empire on their northern neighbours, and the transatlantic slave trade certainly had a major impact on the demographic structures of northern Ghana.

Early social and political organisation in Bulsaland 

One consequence of the waves of immigration was that the Bulsa have since consisted of two major descent groups living peacefully side by side. They are the descendants of the original population and the descendants of Atuga and other immigrant groups. What they all have in common is that they live in kinship groups that branch out into many individual groups, from clans to individual homesteads, without this system actually requiring a strong chiefdom. At least in the past, an earth lord or earth priest had a strong influence over a larger settlement, especially in religious life. Often he was a descendant of the original inhabitants. His main task was to act as a mediator between the people and the earth. As overseer and sacrificer of the earth sanctuaries, who, according to Bulsa beliefs, strictly observed morality and special taboo rules, he had influence on many things in daily life and was jointly responsible for the well-being of his community.

The Earth Lord was not the only authority in pre-colonial Bulsaland, however. Atuga’s descendants are said to have established a kind of chieftaincy that still bound them in a sacred form to their land of origin and to the Mamprusi (Nayiri) chief.

Like the earth lords, the Bulsa chiefs possessed a ritual authority. They could distribute land, mediate in disputes of their own clan and even recruit warriors to defend the land in case of an attack from outside. It must be emphasised, however, that the chief

p. 33

had no political authority over persons who did not belong to his clan or kinship group. This lack of exercising power on the part of the chiefs did not fit into the British colonial administration’s concept and led to the assumption that the Bulsa and other ethnic groups had no chiefs at all in the past and that the whole area was in a lawless state (DER 2000). In any case, oral Bulsa traditions report that all villages of the Atuga clan already knew some kind of chieftaincy.

The Zabarima slave raids and the transition to the colonial era 

Written sources report raids had been taking place in what is now northern Ghana since the 18th century (AWEDOBA 1985, p. 57). The Briton Bowdich, who visited Kumasi in 1817, reported that the Dagomba Kingdom (Northern Ghana) had to send 500 slaves and other goods each year as annual tribute to the Ashanti Empire (BOWDICH 1819, p. 320). Goody also writes that peoples of today’s Northern Ghana were invaded by Mossi (today in Burkina Faso) and the more southern kingdoms (GOODY 1967). In agreement, however, the above sources state that the early slave raids did not reach the military or spatial scale of the Zabarima raids between 1894 and 1898.

The Zabarima (also called Djerma, from the area of present-day Niger), who first appeared in the 1860s as horse traders and merchants at the Dagomba chiefs, later established their headquarters in Kasana (near Tumu). Then they felt independent of the Dagomba and raided neighbouring ethnic groups from there. Under their later leader Babatu, the slave hunts reached their peak. The Zabarima with their auxiliaries from Northern Ghana attacked one village after another, killed the chiefs, captured men and women, sold them as slaves and confiscated all their belongings: Livestock, grain stocks, etc. But the peoples of northern Ghana were not always as defenceless as often assumed. Under the leadership of the Sandema chief, combined Bulsa troops are said to have defeated the Zabarima twice (MORRIS 1902).

p. 34

In 1901, Great Britain declared Northern Ghana a protectorate. In general, it can be said that the British neglected the North and did little to promote its development. They assumed that the Northern Territories were economically useless because they could not exploit mineral resources or produce agricultural surpluses compared to Southern Ghana.

Since the Zabarima raids had disrupted the country politically, economically and socially, the administration considered it imperative that all further feuds and raids cease so that new trade and change could flourish in a pacified land. The British achieved this in part by conducting punitive expeditions against alleged troublemakers in order to bring the population entirely under their control. Two such expeditions were sent against the people of Sandema with the success that the chief of Sandema finally surrendered and asked for the British flag.

The colonial administration needed not only recruits but also people to carry loads and build roads, stations and rest houses for them. As early as 1906, workers began to be hired for the Tarkwa gold mines in the south. By 1917, the authorities confirmed that about 90% of the police force was made up of Northerners (people from the North). Although the constant hiring of labour for Southern mines and railways was harmful to Northerners, colonial officials argued that it was a suitable means of acquiring “a more enlightened foresight than would have been possible by a lifetime’s residence within the boundaries of a small district” (HOWELL 1997, p. 40). In 1927, the hiring of labour was finally put to an end. The colonial authorities realised that the policy of forced labour blocked any economic progress in the workers’ homeland (THOMAS 1973).

The need for labour for the British resulted in the need to find suitable leaders to recruit these workers. To their chagrin, most traditional leaders did not possess enough political power to exert coercion on their people. However, the British officials misjudged the power of the chiefs and consistently complained about the chiefs’ inability to govern adequately. As a way out of this dilemma, the colonial administration had no choice but to strengthen the authority of chiefs, create new chiefdoms

p. 35

and, if necessary, remove insubordinate chiefs (RATTRAY 1932). This changed the character of chieftaincy: From a more religious institution it became to a greater extent a political one. The chiefs and sub-chiefs were promoted to positions and given authority never before known in Bulsa history. This led in some cases to the abuse of their power, which manifested itself in corruption and oppression of the subjects. The introduction of a cash economy and taxation of the population led to many people migrating south to earn money because there were too few jobs in the north. In 1911, the colonial administration called a meeting of all Bulsa chiefs and Ayieta Ananguna, the chief of Sandema, was promoted to Paramount Chief (roughly equivalent to head chief or king) of all Bulsa. In 1934, Bulsaland became a separate administrative unit (Bulsa Native Authority Area) with its own court (Native Tribunal) under the Paramount Chief .

Western education and Christianity 

The colonial government’s attitude towards the introduction of Western schooling in the North was rather cautious, in order to preserve the power of the traditional institutions. Only the churches maintained a few schools. The consequence of this was a considerable educational disadvantage in the North compared to the Ashanti areas and the South, which is still noticeable today (THOMAS 1975, p. 427).

In fact, many of the first educated Bulsa and, moreover, many other inhabitants of northern Ghana owe their education to the White Fathers, who first settled in Navrongo in 1906 and opened a school in 1907. Despite initial mistrust and disinterest on the part of the population, demand increased steadily, but the efforts of the White Fathers to establish new stations and schools were categorically rejected by the colonial administration.

It was not until 1927 that the White Fathers received permission to open a school in Wiaga (Bulsaland). In 1936, the Bulsa Native Authority opened its own primary school in Sandema at the insistence of the Sandema chief. By 1932, there were only four mission schools and four government primary schools, one junior trade school and one secondary school in the entire Northern Territories, while the Ashanti Territory alone had 46 government and 68 non-government schools. The restrictive policies of this period were relaxed in the 1930s when more missionary activity was allowed in the north. The White Fathers took the opportunity to establish mission stations and schools in other parts of the protectorate.

Overall, the colonial administration’s policy had a negative impact on the spread of schools and Western schooling in the North. Moreover, it also had its share in the low participation of girls in the school system. The initial general disinterest of the colonial authorities in attracting girls to attend school and the reluctance of parents to send their daughters to school is vividly expressed in figures: By 1920, out of a total of 243 pupils in the entire Northern Territories, only 9 were girls; by 1938, only 38 girls in this region had reached Standard VII level. In Ashanti, at the same time, there were 337. In conclusion, the North was at a severe disadvantage in terms of schooling – especially of girls – compared to the South, and this continues to have an impact today.

Akankyalabey, Melanie (Ed., Sub Committee Chairperson)

[The Catholic Mission of Wiaga] Title Page missing

(Note F.K: Only a raw draft with handwritten additions and corrections was available to me, some of which were illegible in my copies. Cf. also, BULUK no 4 (2005) Main Feature: Religions and Missions among the Bulsa, F. Kröger: pp. 44-48; M. Abaala (History of Wiaga Clinic): pp. 49-50).

p. 4 (?)
History of Wiaga Parish (St. Francis Xavier)
Wiaga Parish was the third parish to be opened in the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese in April 1927 by the White Fathers (Missionaries of Africa) under the pastorship of Rev. Father Dagenais, Rev. Father Champagne and Rev. Brother Albert.
The White Fathers Society was founded in 1868 in Algeria by a Frenchman (Cardinal Lavigerie, the Archbishop of Algiers.
They began to evangelise from North Africa down the Sahara Desert to the Sudan with a Caravan – when suddenly they were attacked and killed by the Tuaregs…
In 1899, Rev. Father Chollet (Superior of the White Fathers) together with Rev. Father Oscar Morin succeeded to settle at Navrongo in 1906 to open the 1st Parish in the Northern Territories.
The Vatican Authorities from Rome wanted to separate the Catholic Missions of the English Colonies of the Northern Territories to have their own control and supervision.
An Apostolic Vicar was appointed (Rev. Bishop Oscar Morin) the overseer of Missionary Activities in the Northern Territories. He was mandated to open two more parishes in the Northern Territories.
In February 1925, he opened the second Parish in Bolgatanga and two years later the third Parish was opened in Wiaga and named St. Theresa.
Later another new station was opened in Nandom, the White Fathers in Wiaga were transferred from Wiaga to Nandom and the Wiaga parish closed down due to lack of personnel, to little positive impact and little involvement of the traditional people.
In 1939 the set backs were reviewed and the parish re-opened by the Apostolic Vicar (Rev. Bishop Oscar Morin) under …two priests (Rev. Father Contu and Rev. Father Paul Laval).
The Wiaga Parish was then named St. Francis Xavier.

1. Rev. Bishop Oscar Morin (RIP)
2. Rev. Father Contu (RIP)
3. Rev. Father Laval (RIP)
4. Rev. Father Charles Gagnon (RIP)
5. Rev. Father Glover (RIP)
6. Rev. Father Dazini (RIP)
7. Rev. Father Lamien
8. Rev. Father Philip Marneffe (RIP)
9. Rev. Father Van den Haute
10. Rev. Father van den Hoven (RIP)
11. Rev. Father Guitet
12. Rev. Father Théraut
13. Rev. Father Coningham
14. Rev. Father Kervin
15. Rev. Father Damien
16. Rev. Father Heinrich Kirschner (RIP)
17. Rev. Father Grosskinsky

1. Rev. Father Richard Pwaman (RIP)
2. Rev. Father Camilo Sarko
3. Rev. Father John Asoedena (RIP)
4. Rev. Father Peter Azenab

No        NAME                          ORDAINED    REMARKS
1. Rev. Father Peter Azenab, 1st April 1962 Laicised
2. Rev. Father Percy Abandin 18th December 1982 RIP
3. Rev. Father Alfred Agyenta 6th August 1988 Further studies
4. Rev. Father Ignatius Anipu 1991 UK
5. Rev. Father Emmanuel Adeboa 29th July 1995 Tanzania
6. Rev. Father Andrew Anab 1996 Niger
7. Rev. Father Caesar Atuire 1997 Rome
8. Rev. Father Joshua Gariba 1998 Accra Diocese
9. Rev. Father David Akanbang 15th July 2001 Bolgatanga
10. Rev. Father Thomas Achambe still to become priest, Congo

1. Sandema, opened 1952
2. Fumbisi, opened 1945
3. Kanjarga
4. Chuchuliga
5. Wiesi – Gbedembilisa
6. Siniensi – Doninga
7. Kadema Chansa
8. Gbedema

Schools under the supervision of the Catholic Education Unit (CEU) Wiaga Parish
Circuit Pre-schools Primary J.S.S Total
Wiaga Kadema 4 8 2 14
Sandema 1 1 0 2
Chuchuliga 2 2 1 5
Kanjarga 2 2 0 4
Fumbisi 1 1 0 1
Total 10 14 3 27

St: Martin’s De Porres Middle school was established in 1957/58, which later became a continuation and finally a Junior Secondary School in 1997.
Azenab Girls Primary was established in 1970 for only girls.
Wiaga Day Care, which was established in 1980 to take care of the Pre-school pupils (Boys/Girls)
The shepherd schools were established in 1990 by the late Rev. Van den Hoven and late Gerald Atayaaba… Presently these shepherd schools have been mainstreamed into the Regular Education system. They were thirty-one schools spread throughout the District. The total enrolment recorded was 3,854 Children with Boys = 2,451 and Girls = 1,403…

1. Dominic Awindok retired
2. Melanie Akankyalabey 1996 to date


Asianab, Francis Afoko (Private Notes): The Ayietas (1970)

Copied by J. Agalic with permission Nov. 1975, transcribed by Rüdiger Schott (RS), Bonn, April 2005 with some comments by James Agalic  1  Further comments and additions by Franz Kröger (“FK” in footnotes). Further comments and corrections by Robert Asekabta (RA). The page numbers (e.g. p.2, p.3…) refer to Agalic’s and Schott’s copy, not to the original manuscript.

[pages 10 and 11 of the original maunscript are missing!]

footnote 1 (RS)

[?] means 1. writing illegible, 2. sense of the word or the sentence is not clear. Added words or phrases are put in square brackets [ ]. Obvious misspellings have been corrected.

p. 2:

In the days of Abil, founder of Gaadem, lower Sandema, now called Abilyeri, the people recognized Achoek [RS: Achiok?] of Awusuiyeri as chief. Achoek was a strong and wealthy man. He ruled with iron hands and for punishment he would go to the extent of pulling down crops of his subjects.
This chief became so unbearable that the chief makers and subjects came together and deskinned him. In place of Achoek, Abil was made chief. Abil was also a wealthy man who was very liberal and so admired by the people of Sandema. Abil ruled for many years and brought up of a family as shown below:






From the reign of Abil, succession followed down to Anamkum in about 1850.
It was during the reign of Anamkum that the notorious slave Raider, Babatu started his exploits in this part of the country through the North West by way of Bachongsa.Babatu fought and broke up villages like Bachongsa, Doninga, Vare, Kanjarga and Fumbisi. People fleeing for safety massed into Sandema for help.
Babatu had information and tried to march into the town through Chana. There was a battle between the slave raiders and Sandema people at Fiisa where the raiders were beaten off with heavy casualties. Up to date, the scene of the battle can be easily seen by the remnants of Dane gun butts and barrels left behind by the retreating invaders can still be seen in the area. This did not deter Babatu from making [a] further attempt at breaking up Sandema.
[In the] meantime Anankum had organised the people of Kadema, Wiaga, Siniensi and Sandema into a strong force. And when Babatu next made an attack from Kanjarga

p. 3: – Gbedema direction, one rainy season about harvest time, the battle cry went out and a fierce battle was fought at Suwarinsa bordering Wiaga.
This was the decisive battle and when Babatu lost, he never came back again till the coming of the »white man« to this district. An[d] this was the beginning of the building of the Builsa state with Sandema as the seat of Government about the year 1890.
At about this time there was news of the »white man» in this part of the country. Unfortunately Anankum did not live to see one (white man) before his death. Unlike his predecessors who had [led] a peaceful peasant life, Anankum fought tribal wars and Babatu of legendary [?] Anankum died after a long reign and among his sons were Ayieta who later succeeded him, Adong and Agbanvuuk. By his death, Builsa had lost a protector and Sandema a leader and a father. For almost five years there was no official successor. This vacuum would have lasted longer but for the coming of the white man (the British).

The making of a chief (footnote 2)


In 1902, the British administrators in trying to make contact with the district for the first time met resistance. Ayieta led Sandema against them and fought a losing battle outside Bilinsa and Sandema was broken into two [?]. Three years later, in November 1905 under the supervision of Major R. A. Irvine, Ayieta was formally recognized as chief in succession to his late father Anankum. The procedure followed in this ceremony was that the princes or sons of the late chief who were desirous to become chief presented themselves for election. The contestants stand apart, and headmen of the various sections of the town are asked to elect the one they would like
to be made chief. The headmen move and stand behind the candidate of their choice.
Account is taken and the one with a majority is declared elected. In this simple but most democratic way, the chief of the people is elected by the people.
The chief elected is carried home amidst drumming and dancing. At the chief’s house, the new chief elected is handed over to the traditional skin or chief makers, made up of two groups, namely ABANE’S family of Balansa and ABANDO ANGMAPAGISI of Suarinsa. Abando or his representatives are first to receive the chief elect, take him to the ancestral chieftaincy room known as NGIAK-DOK. Here he is kept

(footnote 2) RS: Headline added on top of page 4 of the manuscript. This headline is repeated on top of every page up to page 9 of the manuscript.

p. 4

indoors for seven days within which period he is forbidden to communicate with any person besides the Angmapagisis. He is taught the dos and don’ts of chieftaincy as far as tradition is concerned.
Meantime drumming, dancing and firing of musketry continues depending upon the popularity of the chief elect and his ability to entertain the drummers. The success of this period is usually closely associated with the age group to which the new chief belongs and his sociability in general.
The seventh day is then the climax of the celebrations when the new chief is outdoored. The ceremony of ngiak naam is performed by giving him the naam bogluk, the bagi and the siuk which are the chief fetish[es] of the chieftaincy. The Bagi is the biggest of all the fetishes in front of the chief’s palace and the siuk is the groove of trees about a quarter of a mile off the Palace. No prince swears oath on these two fetishes except on very grave and serious matters of custom.
The new chief is robed with the naam garuk and zutok muning, a blue black large smock, a bangle on his hand and Nabiin soruk [nabiing-soruk] (footnote 3) around his neck. (It is a taboo for a prince of Sandema to wear [the] red fez.) He is finally given the skins of his predecessors if any exist and are in good condition. The smock and fez cap are the symbol[s] of authority as chief, while the bangle on his hand [and the] soruk signifies that the chief is forbidden to take up arms in time of war or strike any person with his hand in anger. Therefore in times of war, the Tugurik-naab, i.e. [the] minister of war personally directs and leads the people in battle. Traditionally Akatuk-yeri in Tankunsa occupies this position.
The outdooring ceremony consists of slaughtering of a bull preferably white at the entrance of the palace and the chief strides over it. Failure to do this is interpreted to mean a short span of reign while success indicates a possible long term of reign.
The bull is skinned together with the tail. The meat is taken by Abano’s family of Balansa and the skin is given to the chief to sit on in all matters of state. On this day, there is real merry making, drumming and dancing, firing of musketry, drinking and eating. Then comes an appointed day to take the Chief to the market or Nak [nag?] tuika (footnote4). The god of the market is a large baobab tree known as Tuik. On this day the

(footnote) 3  nabiing-soruk: »(nabiing majesty, soruk chain of beads) [ … ] spec. chain of beads (with red, white and blue stripes, ‘Rosetta bead’, probably imported; one single bead: soruk-biri«, Franz Kröger: Buli-English Dictionary, 1992, p. 241.

(footnote) 4   magi v. »to beat«, tuik n. »baobab tree (adansonia digitata)« cf. Kröger 1992, p. 241, 360.


inhabitants of Sandema and the surrounding villages turn out in their best, the well-to-do by local standards on horseback, and lead the Chief to the market for the last ceremony of his enskinment. At the market Abado’s family get someone who touches the trunk of the Tuik and introduces him by announcing: Nya Naaba! meaning »He is a Chief!«5. It is believed that the person who performs this office usually either does not prosper or does not live long. And so a half-wit is often sought to do so.
Back at home, the domestic scene becomes the occupation of the chief. He sits in state to receive his subjects from Sandema and all over the district. It is important to note that where the oldest man of the family is made chief, he combines both duties of head of family and chief together whereby he performs sacrifices to the Gods of the ancestor of the family. He becomes custodian of family property, viz. livestock – cattle, cash and personal effects, and supports all the younger members of the family till they are of age. On the other hand, [illegible?] the chief is not head of family; he concerns himself with matters of state only and rules with the advice of his uncles and brothers as the case may be.
It is interesting to know that no bachelor is ever enskinned chief of Sandema.
Therefore all candidates for election must be married. It is usually at the time the new chief sits in state that friends and well-wishers bring him presents of all kinds including young girls for wives, cows, and clothes
[pages 10 and 11 of the manuscript are missing!]
[text continued on page 12 of the manuscript:]
section is headed by a Headman who accounts to the Sandem-nab and takes orders of the day for the smooth administration of the area. In effect therefore, the headmen in old times were sub-chiefs as they are called Kanbon nab (nalema for the plural) election to which post is by popular vote also. Besides the Kanbon-nalima are Teng-nyam or chief priests (lit. land-owners Teng-dana) whose role is that of [giving] traditional sacrifices to the ancestral gods.
Ayieta was enskinned chief in a new epoch of events entirely different from those of his predecessors. Faced with a) coping with the new power – the British administrators and b) domestic affairs. This was a testing time for the new chief.
At home, he was head of family, having established his own compound and moved from the original family one, i.e. Anant [illegible?]. This is common practice whereby very large families often break away to establish smaller ones for convenience of mixed

footnote 5    Lit. »See« or »Look at a chief!« (RS).

p. 6:
farming and other domestic reasons. Ayieta inherited a large herd of cattle from his father for which he had kraals all over Sandema, particularly Suwarinsa. In 1907, there was a serious conflict between him and Amelizi of Wiak-chook [Wiaga-Chiok”] over
cattle, when Adem, son of Amelizi, robbed 69 cows from Ayieta’s kraal at Suwarinsa. It resulted in a protracted trial at Navrongo and for various reasons ended inconclusively.
To make the new administration of the White Man work well was quite a task as this involved a lot of change and re-organisation, This included primarily combining the various small villages in the area into larger groups for easy administration. To this end, several meetings of time exacting were held between the chief and Captain J. O. Kinealy D.C. [District Commissioner] for Navrongo.
An extract from Capt. J. O. Kinealy’s diary, date 2nd October 1911 reads as follows: [»] Seniority of Chief: At every town I held palavers which were largely attended, and amongst other things, the seniority of chiefs was explained and the benefits derived from combination. [?] The chiefs readily acknowledged them and all expressed their desire of having one Head Chief and following Nalerigu once more, but the difficulty is who should be the Head Chief. They all covet the position. I went carefully into all their claims and came to the conclusion that Sandema and Kanjarga had prior claims.
The former although no longer acknowledged had undoubtedly been considered senior chief in the land before the town was broken up by Babatu. He also is a descendant from a son of the Chief of Nalerigu, the founder of the town of Kanjarga and probably the founder of the present tribe, which as far as can be gathered took their name from the town.
Sandema owes his rise to Babatu’s raids. He and his people succeeded in driving him off with the assistance of the Siniensi, Wiaga and Kadema people whose towns had already been broken up. These people found refuge and safety in Sandema and are in consequence, if not exactly subservient, they are at least indebted to him for their very existence.
At a general assembly of all the chiefs at Kanjarga, I put to the vote. Fumbisi alone supported Kanjarga. Wiaga, Siniensi and Kadema voted for Sandema. Doninga, Uassie [Wiasi], Bachonsi were neutral, being perfectly willing to folIow either. After the election the people were informed that the chief of Nalerigu would have to be consulted on the subject and eventually they would be informed of your decision in the matter.«
p. 7
This extract was a report submitted to the Chief Commissioner for the Northern Territories stationed at Tamale. A few days later, on 15th October 1911, Mr. C. H. Armitage, Acting Chief Commissioner for the Northern Territories wrote: »The election of the Chief of Sandema as Paramount Chief of the Kanjargas approved.« (Confirmed on 1st May 1912.)
»[At] a large palaver at Navrongo on 24th October, copper money was explained to the chiefs and people of the District by Mr. Nash. Chief Ayieta was given 3d [?] in 1d, 3d in 1/2d and 3d in 1/2d denomination for sample.«
The villages, towns and areas of Builsa then included the present geographical markings in addition to Katigra, Kunkwaa and those towns situated between the Sisili and the Volta rivers.
The confirmation of Ayieta of Sandema as Paramount Chief of the Kanjargas in May 1912 should have seen the end for power struggle, but that was not the case. Selfish people who are self-seeking especially when it is for power are known for stopping at nothing and using all me ans fair or foul to achieve or satisfy their aims.
About this time, some people from Kanjarga, Fumbisi and Katigra got in touch
with the chief of Kpesinkpe who, after taking cows from them, purported to have had authority from Nalerigu to make them chiefs of their respective villages and towns. On their return they tried to assume office as chiefs, and [there] was trouble all over the places and several complaints were made to the D.C. at Navrongo.
On 4th June 1912, an inquiry revealed that the chief on Kpesingkpe, assisted by messengers from the court of the Nayiri, held a meeting at Kpesingkpe on 12th May 1912 and after duping them of cattle, knowing that they were malcontents, told them they had been made chiefs by order of the Nayiri. For this unlawful meeting and its subsequent proceedings and results, the Nayiri was fined £25 (Cedis 50.00) and the chief of Kpesinkpe was also fined £5 £10 [?] (Cedis 20.00) and self-seekers arrested and detained. It will be recalled that during the slave raids of Babatu, Kanjarga town was one of the worse hit and therefore many of her sons and daughters were taken and sold into slavery. When the White Man arrived on the scene and slavery was abolished, many of those sold into slavery regained their freedom once again. Many of them joined the service of the British administration as soldiers and constabulary of the Gold Coast army and police. These people portrayed [?] Kanjarga when they were asked what their names were. Thus all who spoke the same dialect whether such people came from Bachungsi [Bachonsi] or any other towns which were broken up by Babatu were all termed as Kanjargas.
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and his town was broken up.« From all this account one is left in no doubt whatsoever that chief Ayieta’s reign was not shrewn [strewn] with roses. His term of office was one of consolidation of the building of the present-day Builsa state which he helped to do with credit.
Back on the domestic scene, Ayieta had brought up a sizable family of 16 males and well over 21 females. By Builsa custom nothing much important is placed on the females of a family in that they can neither perform sacrifices nor inherit. They are regarded as belongings of their husband’s family where their offsprings are the heirs of
their parents. A lot of Ayieta’s sons in order of seniority is given below:
1. Asukoruk 2. Anub-jam [?]
3. Ajingboruk 4. Azi
5. Atunwe 6. Afoko
7. Azong 8. Angusi
9. Atankorek 10. Ameong
11. Amama 12. Akansuk-gaasa
13. Awuka 14. Abakisi
15. Azantinlow 16. Asekabta

The survivors of these 16 brothers are Amama, now head of family, Abako [?] Azantinlow, Chief of Sandema, and Asekabta. For various reasons Abakisi and Asekabta have established their own compounds while as a matter of must [?] Amama, head of family who performs all the sacrifices to the ancestral gods of the family and chief Azantinlow live and maintain the Aieta-yeri (compound) at the time these notes were being taken (June 1970).
By 1912, old age had taken its toll on the once active and energetic chief Ayieta, so much so that he no longer could go about his duties as before. He found it necessary
to delegate these duties to one of his sons and his choice fell on no other man than Afoko in whom the old man has seen clear signs of leadership. Afoko therefore was introduced to the D.C. and he took orders for all government works and he saw to it that they were carried out satisfactorily. As to every man is appointed a day to die, on the morning of 18th May 1912, Ayieta passed away from this life, and his death was reported to the Chief Commissioner N.Ts. [of the Northern Territories in] Tamale on 24th of the same month by Mr. S. D. Nash, then acting D.C. of Navrongo.
The death of Ayieta, father of over 40 children, threw Sandema into a long period of mourning which brought in its wake keen rivalry of chieftaincy over succession to the skin of chieftaincy. By now the range of contestants had grown larger than before.
p. 10
Descendants of all the late chiefs to the third degree are legible to contest which in effect meant that the sons and grandsons of Apoteba, Anaankum and Ayieta could if any desired present themselves for election. It was not until a year later that the final funeral rites were completely performed. Meantime, Afoko continued to take government orders and executed them. During the one year that the funeral rites were performed, would be contestants had time to lobby for votes. One such contestant was Ayipaaro, a son of Anaankum and an uncle of the Ayieta’s sons. In this endeavour to win the skin of his father Anaankum, Ayipaaro sent a delegation of three of his supporters Angmanyed, Agbanvuuk and Adiak to the chief of Nalerigu (Na-yiri) with presents to try and help him to be made chief of Sandema. Ayiparo’s reason for doing so: This is not far-fetched. Nayiri was certainly a big and influential chief with the British administrators, and was therefore quite a suitable back door means for selfseekers and malcontents and as can be seen by the revelations of the enquiry of 4th June 1912 wh£25 (Cedis 50.00) for certain acts of messenger [?] of his court in the Builsa area. This type of behaviour lent evidence to the notion in most quarters then including the ill-informed White Man newly established administration that Builsa was part of the Nayiri Kingdom. There is nowhere in history that one could trace to a conflict tribal war between the Mamprusi and Builsa where the latter was conquered and annexed into the skin of Nayiri. Nor is there any evidence of the Nayiri ever having enskinned any chief in Builsa before the White Man’s administration.
Here one could at least concede that the early Mohamadans [Mohammedans] in trying to get following or to establish [?] would come to chiefs in the name of Nayiri as Nalerigu was one of their places. Builsa are known for their hospitality and generosity, when such visitors brought little insignificant gifts, in return they were given handsome gifts for themselves and others for those they purported to represent. This therefore did not in itself go to mean that by reason of playing host to such pilgrims meant being subservient to Nayiri. We shall in the course of things have a look at this part of the role of Nayiri in traditional matters of other tribes of the Upper Region in a later stage.
While Ayiparo was campaigning, Afoko, backed by two of his older brothers Asukoruk and Amobjam, left no stone unturned to make sure that Afoko’s already promising position was consolidated. Finally election day came on the morning of 11th December 1912. In the presence of a very large crowd of Sandema people, the various headmen were asked whom they wanted to be made chief. Out of 16 headmen, 75 % voted for Afoko. It was 12 to 4 against Ayiparo, a rather elderly person.
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Tall youthful, elegant looking Afoko, who stood at about 6 ft, 7 inches, was declared chief of Sandema in succession to his deceased father Ayieta and everything pointed to success. However, Ayiparo became embittered about the results of the elections and all was not smooth for him and the new chief. Barely two weeks after the election Ayiparo accompanied by Amuusa [?], son of Acham of Balansa, went to Navrongo and reported that he, Ayiparo had been given the fetish and made chief of Sandema by the fetish man Acham, and that if the administration did not recognise him, the fetish would kill Afoko. The D. C. told Amuusa to warn his father that if there was trouble in the District, the government would hold him responsible and that his punishment would be such that as has never been mettered [meted] out to any person in the district.
Ayiparo was still dissatisfied and complained at a meeting in Sandema that he was the rightful successor to the skin of Sandema. After discussion Ayiparo’s complaint was dismissed and he was told that because he had the support of the fetishman did not entitle him to [the] skin. It appeared that Ayiparo at least [last] accepted both public opinion and administrative ruling in this matter. But this was not the case. He was later to start trouble again.
At this time road building was in its initial stages to open up the country in place of footpaths. In this direction, a new road was built from Sandema to Kanjarga through Wiaga and Gbedema. It was during this work Ayiparo showed his disobedience for authority by not only refusing orders, but also stopping others from going to work on the new road. This was brought to the notice of Cpt. Trawaley who was supervising the construction of the road. Meanwhile, work proceeded ahead of schedule, and on 13th January 1913 the road had been completed. On an inspection visit to Sandema, D.C.E. O. Warden was informed of Ayiparo’s conduct and he ordered his arrest the 25th of March 1913 and [he was] detained at Navrongo for 3 months as political prisoner. After this he returned home very sobber [sober?] and had a quiet life to the end of his days, not to mention his minor local achoities [?].
The administration of the N.Ts. [Northern Territories] then was left solely in the hands of the District Commissioners. Occasionally, the C.C.N.Ts. [Chief Commissioner of the Northern Territories] visited the various districts. During one of such visits in the early days of Afoko’s reign, chief of the Builsa District [F.K. he] accompanied Afoko to meet the C.C.N.Ts. at Navrongo bringing presents of chickens, ducks, eggs, head loads of corn and a large monkey presented by Afoko himself.
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By November 1916, Afoko had already won the admiration of the administration and was awarded his first »King’s Medal for African Chiefs«. A year later, in 1917, he received another medallion for meritorious work,
Afoko, 6th son of Ayieta, was the only son of his mother Apog-nab. He had [a] bloodful [full-blooded?] sister called Avelemba [?] who was married to Wiaga. Both his parents were from royal houses. His father Ayieta was prince and later chief of Sandema, and his mother the daughter of Ache, chief of Kologu in the Kasena-Nankana District. Little wonder therefore that his father saw in him qualities of a born chief and leader, hence he made him regent in his own lifetime out of 16 brothers, five being older than him, Afoko.
Afoko’s short term of stewardship as regent stood him in goodstead [?] when he was finally elected Chief. He was already conversant with the rudimental responsibilities of a chief, sat in council with older men, met and discussed administrative programmes with Government officials and carried them out with exceptional success. Afoko was not made up of duty only. In addition, he was sociable and had time to attend to private matters of his subjects and family. Never was it known that anyone left his court dissatisfied whatever his matter was. His judgments were both fair and lenient. He so much endeared himself to his subjects so that they poured presents in wives and cattle on him. This easily explains off his enormous riches at his death. [?] short Afoko’s reign is aptly described as the period of rain of milk and honey for Sandema and peace and harmony for the Builsa state.
It was during his reign that all the roads in the District were built. And though it was through forced labour unlike the present day communal labour, work was carried out with zeal and enthusiasm. Afoko was often at times personally present lending a helping hand. Whenever he came across a weak person in any working group, he either excused his or assigned him a lighter duty such as fetching drinking water. He would crack jokes in a most humorous manner which went a long way to inspire workers on. There was peace devoid of chieftaincy and boundary disputes. An exception here was Chuchuliga under Navrongo. About 1910 Capt. Armitage had put Chuchuliga under Navrongo. At this time Nayaga-nia [?] of Chana was under Chuchuliga and partly Chana. In those days people in Chuchuliga elected their chiefs regardless of succession and this gave a lot of trouble. Two of their chiefs were removed by the administration for offences against the diseases of cattle ordinance. The last one, Akanpoba, was imprisoned for an offence after special warnings.
p. 13
In 1923 an inquiry was held which finally settled the issue that Nayagania pass under Kasena-Nakani while Chuchuliga came under Builsa. At this inquiry chief Afoko and chief Awe of Navrongo were agreed on this settlement. The administration recommended that Afoko should get a strong chief in Chuchuliga. As a manifestation of their being subject to Sandema, the people of Chuchuliga were made to surface and beat the road from Chuchuliga to Sandema. It was not until 1927 when the C.C.N.Ts. approved and confirmed the recommendation of the inquiry of 1923. In February 1927 Afoko went to Chuchuliga and enskined Asangaksa Chief of Chuchuliga. Asangaksa rules [?] Chuchuliga to [this] date.
It is important to note that the Catholic Mission was established at Wiaga under Father Dagenais (pronounced Dazina) in 1927. Chief Afoko was recommended for his 4th Medal for African Chiefs, but unfortunately he did not live long enough to receive it. On the afternoon of Sunday March 20th 1927 horror and grief struck Sandema.
After a short illness of seven days Afoko died. Mr. Anderson, then D.C. at Navrongo was on trek at Doninga village, so two of Afoko’s brothers, Akansugaasa [?] and Amama, went and reported his death to him at 9.15 p.m. on the same day. In a report to the C.C.N.Ts. on this sad event the D.C. remarked inter alia: »It appears to be pneumonia he had been sick about 7 or 8 days. He will be a great loss to the District and hard to be replaced.« Word of his death quickly spread throughout Builsa and from Kunkwa, Katigra, Kanjarga and other villages came chiefs and their entourage to mourn a beloved ruler.
Afoko’s body was laid in state for three days to enable his numerous subjects near and far to have a chance of attending the burial ceremony. Finally the body was interred in the yard of his mother’s room on the evening of 22nd March 1927. The witch-doctors blamed his sickness on his younger wives. Death had laid its icy hands on yet another mortal being irrespective of position or social standing. Afoko was dead.
Afoko left behind a humble family of few males and a host of females. Of his surviving sons are Peter Akanchepuing, Acheemdak, Akantigisi, Casterllian [castellan?] Francis Asianab and an adopted son Abaade. As a matter of interest, the names of his sons as most Builsa names are proverbial given by his mother. For instance Akanchepuing – we do not cut a rock, Afoko-bisakantigisi, Afoko’s children are never united. Asianab-abey, the chief [?]. In the case of the Casterllian pronounced as »Kasilin[?]« who was named after a D.C. being the name of »Louis [?] Castellian« whose visited [?J co-incided with the birth of the baby boy.
To close on this great light of Builsa, the narrative will be incomplete if mention
is not made of few salient qualities which contributed in no small way to make Afoko
worshipped and beloved by both his subjects and Ayieta family.
Upon the death of his father, Afoko despite that he had already the green light to lead though not most senior in line of birth, immediately submitted to his older brothers. This paid off well. In return they endorsed their father’s choice and backed Afoko to be enskined chief. Afoko took over [?] all his young brothers who were not of age and cared for them until his death. In this way the family was kept intact and happily united to the end of his life. In matters of state he always consulted with his older brothers before taking any important decisions. In Afoko’s court were men of public standing like Adiita [?] and Ayig-debe to mention a few who were closely associated with him in any matter of state.
In a very short time of his enskinment, the whole district instantly felt an air of change for the better. Justice tempered with mercy was seen to be carried out. There was a great sense of oneness among the various towns and inhabitants of the district. All these together won him the loyalty and admiration of his subjects and chiefs, resulting in a united Builsa working together for peace and prosperity, Though Afoko lived and died in Colonial Gold Coast, it was destined that his name will live through time. In 1951 one of his sons Akantigisi Afoko, a living image of his father was nominated to the National Assembly of the Gold Coast, later called Ghana at independence in 1957. Akantigisi maintained his seat in the National Assembly as a nominated member for Builsa and retained it from general election to election until when the constitution of the gov’t [Government] of the country led by the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was toppled in a coup on February 24th, 1966. Akantigisi’s success was to a large extent due to the fact that Builsas saw in him a chance of doing honour to the memory of late Chief Afoko. This, coupled with his own ability as an individual politician with a sense of humour soon marked him as a person of great potential. Unlike most politicians of his day in the country, Akantigisi’s political opponents, especially those who contested him at each election were his closest friends and it could fairly be attributed to him that by all standards showed no political bile or animosity towards
anyone. This could be easily seen from the records of political detention when during the later stages of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Gov’t. for one to merit detention was only for the M.P. of the constituency to brand one as a Dombo [?] or an opponent of the C.P.P. [Convention People’s Party]. Happily enough no person was either detained or threatened with fear of detention in the Builsa constituency.
p. 15:
Developments in Builsa during this period included Builsa being raised to the status of an independent District. Sandema Health Centre and Pipe born water to mention a few [?]. And the Agric project at Wiaga.

Akansugaasa – success[or] to Afoko

The pace for rivalry among princes to the skin was again set by the death of chief Afoko. This turned out to be one of the most keenly contested elections unlike the previous one which was a straight fight between Afoko and Ayiparo. On the 8th of April 1927, barely a month after Afoko’s death, elections of a successor took place. There were five contestants, the claim[s] of two of which were rejected. The five were: 1. Akansugaasa, 2. Amama, both brothers. 3. Akanwomnab of Apulkayeri, 4. Adong [?] Anaankum and 5. Agbanavuuk Anaankum. Finally the claim of two were rejected. Amama stepped down for his older brother Akansugaasa and Akanwomnab’s claim [was] rejected. Those who stood for election were: 1. Akansugaasa – brother of Afoko, 2. Adong, 3. Agbanavuuk – both sons of Anaankum. This was therefore a contest between two brothers and a nephew.
Builsa tradition in electing chiefs is very distinct and different from others like the Dagombas, Mamprusis and Walas for example. In their cases there are at least three families or gates as they are termed from which a successor is nominated by sorcerers and later enskined in rotation. In Builsa or Sandema as such, the one important qualification being that a contestant must be a blood relation to the third degree whose fathers had been chiefs before.
The contrast is that in the former [cases] a majority of their Paramount Chiefs are often too old by the time they come to the skin. Choice of candidates is restricted to a number and there could be doubt and division of opinion over the whole matter of enskinment culminating in unrest and disputes. While in the later i.e. Builsa the range of choice is free and wide to begin with. A clear cut undisputable result of the peoples’ own choice publicly declared gives room for much younger blood to be elected who often rule for many years. This no doubt in a large sense [?] accounts for the almost non-existence of litigation of chieftaincy disputes in the district. Finally this way had fine qualities of modern democratic methods of elections.
One would have said that there was misunderstanding, disagreement between Anaankum brothers, Adong and Agbanavuuk, but this was not the case. It was a design intended to cripple the successor’s [?] succession to the skin by the Ayietas. [?] By
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tradition, if there are more than two contestants and none of them wins convincingly, nothing prevents a fresh majority. In this way, therefore, if there was no clear win, one of Anaankum’s brothers would then swing his supporters to the other by stepping down for him. However, it did not work well as Akansugaasa won with a clear majority to their surprise. This time the administration invited the other Builsa chiefs to attend and participate in the election. Twelve of them were present. Together with 16 headmen, the vote was put and 28 electors unanimously chose Akansugaasa, younger brother of the late Afoko to be chief. Akansugaasa was therefore declared elected chief on 12 months probation.
It is our belief that chiefs are born, but not made. Therefore, by the end of his probationary period the administration had no adverse report against Akansugaasa, but praise and recommendation for confirmation, it was no surprise to anyone. The administration had this to say: »Akansugaasa [is] elected chief in succession to his brother Afoko. This man had been [a] most loyal and thoroughly efficient and reliable chief. He continues to show loyalty, efficiency and initiative. He has control over his people and on two occasions was recommended by Agricultural Officers. I recommend for this confirmation of Akansugaasa as Paramount Chief of Builsa. He was elected on 8th April 1927.« Sgd. Capt. Whittal1.
Meantime Akansugaasa had continued and put finishing touches to works on the roads which late Chief Afoko could not complete before his death. On 28th April 1929, about a year after his election, he visited Kadema and enskined Adaang[a]gbe, chief in succession to his dead father Atigbiiro who had been enskined by Ayieta. After this there seemed to be nothing of importance till 1931, when towards the end of the year, the Gov.t started talks on Native Administration with Akansugaasa. Market sheds had already been erected in Sandema market as a means of revenue. A native treasury started in early 1932. Initially, the Chief was to in [?] half of his court fines and all the market fees at the end of each month. Chief Akansugaasa was entrusted with the responsibility of treasurer as there was no one to be clerk. A handful of Builsa boys then in school at the Catholic Mission were still under instructions.
About this time there seemed to be [a] decline in payment of homage to the Paramount Chief by his chiefs and people of the villages lying between the Sisili and Volta, i.e, Katigra and Kunkwa, including Fumbisi and Kanjarga. This matter was not given serious and effective consideration at the onset, probably because the chief had to see to the establishment of Native Authority System. It no doubt therefore preoccupied his attention above all other matters.
p. 17:
The neuclus [nucleus?] of the Native Council was in progress and on 27th July 1932 a list of the first Councillors was submitted to the D.C. and also made his first
payment of lampo into the treasury. .»:
Before then, on the night of 5th July 1932, there was an occurrence which led to a lot of speculation. Late Afoko’s horse which was tied between two other horses in an open shed stable was devoured by two lions, but none of the other two horses was hurt at all. When the news was broken to the people, they believed that Afoko was angry that other people were riding his horse and therefore sent the lions to kill it, Later a search party led by Asekabta, a young brother of Afoko, failed to track down the lions.
Coming back to the matters of southern Builsa where dissatisfaction had been brewing for some time now, Akansugaasa sent messengers from his court to try and restore the situation to normal. These messengers aggravated matters by overstepping the bounds of their authority. It is known that some of them in addition to extorting money and livestock from the malcontents also forcefully [?] took other people’s wives and threatened them with reprisals. All these together made matters to get out of hand and the chief of Katigra [and?] Kunkua asked permission to be allowed to follow Nalerigu. This permission was granted.
At home all was not well. Introducing the Native Authority system brought its own problems. Fines were heavier than ever experienced. In any case Akansugaasa had become unpopular for intolerance and hard-handedness. People who appeared before his court with tobacco in their mouths were made to swallow them.
Soon after the break away of Kunkwa and Katigra, Akansugaasa was taken il1 and just as he was seen to be recovering from his illness and looking cheerful, he suddenly died on the afternoon of 21st November 1932, after a short record [?] reign of 5 years, 7 months and 13 days. In the evening of the same day a report of his death was made to the D.C. at Navrongo who commented on his death thus: »A keen and energetic young chief who will be sadly missed. I do not know yet whether his death will mean a re-arrangement of Builsa people under Mamprusi, but I think they will still want to remain separate owing to the inherent hatred for the Mamprusi. His successor will have to work hard to be as successful as he was.«
Akansugaasa was survived by 5 children: three boys and two girls. The oldest, Akunkuanaab, being about 12 years at the time of the death of his father. The other two boys [were] Akanmarinaam and Amabilinsa. (the latter died in 1970. The former also died in 1974.)
p. 18:
Akansugaasa’s untimely death brought grief and shock to the entire Ayieta family.
Since sooner or later we all stoop to faith [?]. The Ayietas had to bear with their lot in the knowledge that God’s will be done.
Here again [came up] the question of Builsa and Mamprusi, from the administration point of view it [was] clear that there had always for some time been a desire to place Builsa under Mamprusi. But even then they knew about the feeling of the Builsas towards the Mamprusi. On the other hand, Kategra and Kunkua of their own choice asked to be allowed to join Mamprusi. This decision is explained by the actions of the courtiers of Akansugaasa. It turned out that in later years the same two towns advocated to comeback to Sandem. This resulted in a long and expensive litigation which reached the West African Court of Appeal in 1953.

Enskinment of Chief Azantinlow – 19th December 1932

By special request of the Sandema people, election of a successor to Akansugaasa was fixed for the 19th of December, 1932. Present at the election were the chiefs of Wiaga, Kadem, Siniensi, Gbedem, Chuchuliga, Doninga, Fumbisi, Kanjarga, Kunkua, Wiasi, Bachongsa and Uasi [?]. Mr. Oliver, then D.C. of Navrongo, supervised the elections. The contestants were: 1. Amama, 2. Adong, 3. Awobsa and 4. Azantinlow.
The old men among whom were Anyadin of Awusiuk-yeri, Akatuk of Tankunsa, Amobjam of Abil-yeri, Atowe and Anankpein [?] explained to the D.C. the procedure of electing a chief before the White Man came. The D.C. asked whether they had someone in view. They said that Azantinlow was the man. The old men were absolutely unanimous except the candidates. Azantinlow was therefore declared chief.
Azantinlow, the youngest of the contestants, was aged about 2[?] [years]. [He] stood 6 ft. 2 in. and weighed about 200 lbs. He is the youn[?], his mother 4 sons [?]. By this succession Azantinlow was not only son [of?} Ayieta, but also a womb brother of the late Akansugaasa. [?]
The D.C. took the opportunity in the evening of the election day to talk to the chiefs about the formation of a tribal Council. The chiefs of Fumbisi, Kanjarga and Uasi agreed to join provided that they would be looked upon as chiefs by the new chief of Sandema and not as his small boys. They were assured that in the Council they would all be equals, but that their president would have to be given a casting vote in disputes in Council meetings. At this stage of discussion, the matter was left to Azenab,
p. 19:
chief of Wiaga, who was the most senior chief having been enskined in 1909, to meet all other chiefs and have further discussion and report to the D.C.
One notices here the unusual procedure by which the new chief had been elected. There was going to be trouble and that not very long too. [?] Interested contestants were not given the chance to present themselves to the electorate, i.e. the headmen of the various sections of Sandema for election or rejection.
A week after Azantinlow’s election trouble rose between him and two of his staunch supporters Atowe [?] and Akanjilenur on one side and Angusi, his elder brother on the other. This resulted in Angusi being beaten up till he fainted and forced out of Ayieta-yeri. This incident was reported to the D.C. on 28th December 1932.
The cause of the trouble between Azantinlow and Angusi was that Angusi protested against the wrong procedure by which the new chief was elected and advocated that it be brought to the attention of the administration. Added to this wrong procedure or as a result of it, a candidate not agreed upon by the Ayieta brothers had been elected chief. Their man was Amama who was an older brother to Azantinlow and an errand boy of [the] late Afoko. Amama was so close to Afoko that when Afoko died but for the reason that the Ayieta brothers decided that Akansugaasa being older than Amama should be chief. Most people wished that he was enskined chief, so that at the death of Akansugaasa the automatic successor was no doubt Amama.
But instead of Amama, it was Azantinlow and this is what happened behind the scene: When Afoko was chief, he had for his aids and errand boys Akansugaasa and Amama, two of his younger brothers, and Atogwe, the grandson of Analagaam, daughter of Apoteba. While they served their brother and grand-uncle respectively, on several occasion there was disagreement between Amama and Atogwe. The latter often wanted to divert or conceal gifts in cash, clothes or livestock brought to Afoko for himself. Because Amama would not allow this practice, there have often been conflicts between them. In this way Atogwe once got severely reprimanded by Afoko over a cow he tried to keep for himself and Amama reported him. At this time, there was on the service of the administration Mr. Cyprian, an interpreter to the D.C. Cyprian up top date is a household word in Builsa and Navrongo Districts for his influence. Atogwe was a close friend to Cyprian from the days of Afoko.
Therefore, on the death of Akansugaasa, Atogwe found that Amama against whom he had nursed grudge would be enskined chief spared no effort in making sure that this was not so. He easily got Cyprian to convince the old men that the administration would be angry with them if they put any candidates at this election besides Azantinlow who
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was Atogwe’s choice. In like manner Cyprian made the D.C. on the other hand to understand that for certain reasons the Sandema people were agreed on Azantinlow and that was that. By this cunning way Amama and other candidates were quietly edged out and there was no vote as had always been the custom.
[Comment on this by James Agalic: What I, James {Agalic} heard is this: Atogwe favoured Azantinlow may be for the reasons Francis {Afoko} gives above. It must be remembered that at that time Atogwe was the only civilised man at the Chief’s court among the elders. He was the only man who could speak Hausa, Kasem and a little English. He misinterpreted the palaver that day to his own advantage. He told Cyprian that the people wanted Azantinlow, because if Amama was chief, there [?] would be fighting and the English hated this.]
It is no secret that Azantinlow was taken unawares, that his womb brother Abakisi was on Amama’s side on election day. No wonder therefore that Angusi objected to and
protested against the procedure adopted at this election. Added to this, the Awusima (mother of Akansugaasa, Abakisi, Azantinlow and Peter Apuing Afoko), brothers of Ayieta had been known by their brothers to be egoists [?], hard hearted and selfish, qualities which did not fit in well for a large family made up of polygamous marriage [?] like theirs. There was the fear of the family breaking up if a person with such qualities happened to be at the head of affairs.
When Angusi raised this objection, Atogwe saw in it what the result would mean, i.e. re-election and his perfidy would have come to light. [?] With the help of Akanjoten [?] and Achaksi, both strong and influential wealthy young men, got hold [of] Angusi and beat him up. They got Azantinlow to banish Angusi from his father’s house. Angusi made report to the D.C. afterwards, but was told that it was a family matter. Angusi later died in banishment at Navrongo having worked as a cattle-guard. Because of the unorthodox method by which Azantinlow was elected Chief, the necessary customary enskinment of a chief by the chief makers have not yet been performed. [Comment on this by James Agalic: What I, James {Agalic} heard is that: Any chief who goes through the customary method of enskinment, does not stay long; he [?] soon dies. Akansugaasa is an example. So Azantinlow is afraid to take the Bagi Naam Ngiak Naam. But one day he must [?] take it even on his death bed or else he will not be regarded as having
been chief. He is therefore intentionally delaying this customary n[?]. He is therefore regarded as the “White Man’s chief”. In any case [he] can decide to have it done at any time. However it is worth mentioning that anyone in the family could ask to be
p. 21:
enskined the customary way and if [this be] done, he would be recognized as chief. But since this will bring unnecessary trouble, let sleeping dogs be [?]].
Azantinlow enskined chief on 19th December 1932 was first introduced to the C.C.NTs.[Chief Commissioner of the Northern Territories] on 1st January 1933 at an Agricultural show at Pong-Tamale. It will be recalled that before Azantinlow election there was a lot of unrest in the District. On 7th March 1933, a second meeting of all Builsa chiefs was held to try and arrange the local administration system. Azenab, chief of Wiaga who had been charged with the duty of contacting the other chiefs on the question of a President addressed the meeting. When the vote was put, with the exception of Kanjarga, they all voted for the Sandema-nab as head chief and not a federation of chiefs as was in the case of the Kasena-Nankani District. The chiefs of Fumbisi and Wiasi [?] asked that the D.C. goes round to explain what had been decided upon to the people to forestall any future misunderstanding. The D.C. spent the next three days going round explaining the decision of the meeting to the people.
At Fumbisi, the people said that their real reason for asking them to be allowed to join Kpesinkpe was that the late chief of Sandema, Akansugaasa, had oppressed them too much, and in addition to his courtiers extorting money and forcefully taking their daughters and wives away from them. They were assured that nothing of that sort will happen again and if it did, the chief should report it to the D.C. Kanjarga was the last village to visit in connection with this excise [?]. Here the people were quite willing and ready to follow Sandema in spite of the refusal of the chief. The chief was therefore told that if he still refused to follow Sandema, the people were free to choose a new chief who would do their wishes. He gave in and decided to pay allegiance to the Sandema-naab as head chief. This somewhat brought an end to Kanjarga advocating to join Nalerigu.
Two months later, in May 1933, locust hoppers invaded the district in very large numbers and destroyed everything green in their way. Initially, Sandema, Wiaga, Chuchuliga and Siniensi were affected in the Builsa District – and Kayari [?] in the Kasena part. The situation was very serious, so all crops and vegetables were destroyed to their roots and farming was most inevitable [?]. The people interpreted this to mean a bad omen for the rule of the newly elected chief Azantinlow. To date, the locust hoppers’ invasion has become a historical event to the [?] people.
In August 1933, the C.C.NTs. paid official visit to Sandema, had talks with the new chief about the origin of his family and the Red Fez cap which chiefs wear. The chief replied that it was an old custom, but from previous statements by him, he seemed
p. 22:
to be [have] contradicted himself. This was quite obvious because Azantinlow by 1933 [?] was only a young man of about 25 years and had not enough knowledge [?] of his family. As was the practice, from shepherd boy up to 16 years, Azantinlow spent his time trading in tobacco from Yagaba to Sandema in [?] headloads. It was at this time that he went to witness the election of a new chief which turned out to be him [?].
The Native Authority was in progress now. A clerk and treasurer had been engaged. They were Mr. Leander Alchew of Navrongo and James Analenab [?] of Wiasi who were later joined by Patrick Awogta. Then followed the establishment of the first School by the N.A. [Native Authority] in Sandema in 1936. finis J.Agalic.


The Upper East Region Conflicts
Albert K. Awedoba: The Chuchuliga Chieftaincy Affair

In: An Ethnographic Study of Northern Conflicts: Towards a Sustainable Peace (Legon 2009) p. 113

Chuchuliga is a chiefdom lying to the west of Navrongo. It falls within the Bulsa District of the Upper East. Until 2006 when one of the chiefs is reported to have agreed to step down, the chiefdom of Chuchuliga, a divisional chiefdom under the Sandema paramountcy, has had two chiefs for several years, one recognised by the Sandema Chief, the Sandemnab, and the other elected by the people of Chuchuliga but not enjoying the recognition of the paramount chief of Bulsaland, the Sandemnab. Each of these two Chuchuliga chiefs had his followers and there had been division within the chiefdom for some time.
Chuchuliga is located on the Navrongo- Tumu road at the junction where the road from Sandema joins the trunk road. Two main languages, namely Kasem and Buli, are spoken in the area and this is accounted for by the traditions of the chiefdom. The people of Chuchuliga say their great grandfather [apical ancestor], called Kuchula, was a migrant from Kasem-speaking Chebelle [Tiebele] in what is present day Burkina Faso. Chuchuliga derives its name from this man. Shortly after his arrival in Chuchuliga, Kuchula, according to the tradition, was joined by a man from the Biu settlement to the south-east. He spoke Buli and they both lived together cordially with Kuchula eventually taking the Biu man’s sister for his wife. The offspring of this marriage are today the people of Chuchuliga. Owing to inter-marriages the people of the area now speak both Kasem (Kuchula’s mother tongue) and the language of the Kasena communities to the East, West and North and Buli the language spoken by the Bulsa living to the south and west of Chuchuliga.
The root causes of the current conflict are traceable to the introduction of chieftaincy in an area that had hitherto been stateless or acephalous. The British may not have introduced chieftaincy, but they did implement structural changes to any traditional system that may have existed in the area.
They were influential in the adoption of the ballot as a means of electing the Chuchuliganab and his enskinment. They were also instrumental in bringing Chuchuliga under the Sandema paramountcy. In their anxiety to implement indirect rule the British Colonial administration set about creating larger political units or traditional areas, by bringing together under one paramountcy, chiefdoms and communities that had previously been independent. Consequently Chuchuliga, which was autonomous until then, found itself under
p. 114
another state. Initially this was Kasena-Nankana (Navrongo) but later they were transferred to the Sandema paramountcy, where the rest of the Bulsa chiefdoms belong, and they came under the Sandemnab.
The British had initially approved Atuchiga Amaachana as chief but he was eventually dismissed for theft (footnote 92). Akapoba Apiriga followed, only to be removed too, for non-performance; he failed to report the outbreak of an epidemic early enough to the Regional Commissioner. In March, 1927, Allan Asangalisa was appointed chief of Chuchuliga. His selection and enskinment was done in Chuchuliga but witnessed by Afoko, the then chief of Sandema.
From then on Chuchuliga came under Sandema. It is important to state that the decision to put Chuchuliga under Sandema, which was said to be in accordance with the Native Authorities Ordinance (Northern Territories) of 1934, was in itself very much against the wishes of some Chuchuliga people.
In the first place there had been constant inter-clan warfare between Chuchuliga and Sandema prior to British colonial rule. Their taboos and certain customs were also said to be different.
Even though a number of chiefs had come before Allan Asangalisa, it was during his reign that the problem started. After chiefs Afoko and Akansugasa, Azantilow became Sandemnab. He was reportedly favoured for the position by the colonial government in recognition of the bravery and the gallantry he had displayed in the defence of the Bulsas and their neighbours during the Babatu wars that ravaged the communities of the Bulsa, Kasena and Nankana at the close of the nineteenth century.
In the 1950s there were serious disagreements between chief Azantilow and Allan Asangalisa. Azantilow had fined him two pounds and dismissed a number of his headmen. Asangalisa reported the case to the Governor and threatened to lead the Chuchuliga people back to Navrongo, under which they originally were situated.
As punishment for challenging his authority and also to prevent Chuchuliga from being returned to the Navrongo circuit, Azantilow dismissed Allan Asangalisa and single-handedly enskinned Apirime as chief of Chuchuliga. Apirime’ s enskinment however was declared null and void by a committee setup by the Governor to look into the case. The committee also

(footnote) 92 An entry in the Navrongo Station Diary, AM 63/5/3 for 16th October, 1913, indicates that chief Alteeheg [sic.] of Chuchuliga had been made chief of that place on 30th December, 1907 and that he was the son of Amaehenna (sic.), Bago’s slave seller. Furthermore, that Bago (this must be the British spelling for the name of the notorious slaver, Bagao) had deposed Semigah (sic.) and replaced him with Amaehenna.

p. 115
pointed out that Azantilow had no authority to desenkin the Chuchuliga-nab, since it is the kingmakers of Chuchuliga who had enskinned him.
The committee resolved the issue somehow, but Azantilow was still aggrieved. Consequently, when Allan Asangalisa died, instead of allowing the contestants to be voted for by household heads in Chuchuliga, as had been the practice, Azantilow insisted that the voting and enskinment be done in Sandema at his palace. This has been the bone of contention between the Sandemnab Azantilow and the Chuchuliga people, especially the Asangalisa gate.
Allan Asangalisa’ s son Francis Asangalisa, one of the contestants, refused to go to Sandema to present himself for the voting; in his absence, Adakula Amaachana was voted for and enskinned in Sandema. This created problems of recognition for him in Chuchuliga. Francis Asangalisa continued to pursue his claim and was duly enskinned by the kingmakers in Chuchuliga in August, 1995.
Thus, from 1995 until recently, Chuchuliga was ruled by two chiefs. At the height of the disagreement in late 1995, Francis Asangalisa was ambushed and beaten up at Sandema, allegedly by Azantilow’ s agents, when he visited Sandema dressed in chiefly regalia. When he returned to Chuchuliga and narrated his ordeal, his supporters retaliated by attacking and burning down Adakula Amaachana’s house. Faced with dwindling support and a crisis
of recognition by the very people who were supposed to be his subjects, Adakula Amaachana honourably abdicated and made peace with Francis Asangalisa in July, 2006.
Between August 1995 and December 2006, the case went to the Regional House of Chiefs, the National House of Chiefs and the Supreme Court and back to the Regional House of Chiefs in Bolgatanga.
Francis Asangalisa who took the case to court was seeking three reliefs, namely:
• That Chuchuliga should be recognised as the customary venue for the
enskinment of Chuchuliga chiefs.
• That the kingmakers of Chuchuliga be recognised as the rightful persons to enskin the Chuchuliga chief.
• That a perpetual injunction be placed on Sandemnab preventing him
from enskinning the Chuchuliga chiefs outside Chuchuliga.
The Regional House of Chiefs, sitting in Bolgatanga on 29th May, 1987, ruled in favour of the Sandemnab. But the House in the same breath declared the enskinment of Adakula Amaachana defective, null and void, since he
p. 116
was a grandson of a chief vying for the skin while sons of a chief were still alive. Not satisfied, Francis Asangalisa sent the case to the National House of Chiefs which ruled in his favour, granting him all the three reliefs sought for above (in August 1995).
Looking at available documents and the submissions of respondents on the issue, certain conclusions can be drawn.
• Before 1910 Chuchuliga was an independent area and its rulers were equal in status to any others in the Navrongo District which included the Kasena-Nankana traditional areas and Bulsaland.
• Chuchuliga people had Kasena origins, but had acquired Buli, owing to intermarriages (footnote 93).”
• Until the 1930s, both Sandema and Chuchuliga were under the Navrongo administrative division. Chuchuliga was subordinated to Sandema in the early 1930s because the people spoke Buli, a language they share with the people of Sandema. However, despite shared language the two chiefdoms had been independent of each other and relations had not been amicable prior to the arrival of the British. Sandemnab Azantilow owed his elevation to his proven leadership qualities and his role in stemming the Zamberima slave raids in the area. This counts for much with the British colonial officials of the time, as they sought capable local men for leadership positions.
• The troubles of Chuchuliga were due to external interference. Its chiefs were removed and replaced at will by external powers and so was its right to decide where to belong.
At the height of the conflict, the security forces had to be brought in to protect life and property and to restore calm in the area.
Both factions, while condemning the unfortunate incident that happened in 1995, which led to attack and counter attack, admit that development had eluded the area as a result of the conflict. Apart from the loss of lives and property, the incident had polarized the Chuchuliga community and created mistrust among citizens. It certainly has not improved inter-chiefdom relations as far as Chuchuliga and Sandema were concerned.
The Regional House of Chiefs seemed cautious in its decision, motivated

(footnote) 93 The basis for this conclusion lies in the fact that the people are patrilineal and trace origins and descent from the father’s side. However, it can be said that they have Biu origins too, since their matriarch, the mother of Achula’s children, was a Buli-speaking woman. The issue does not therefore hinge on the ethnic or linguistic identity of the people of Chuchuliga.

p. 117
perhaps by the adage that ‘you do not shoot the toad in the eye (footnote 94). Though an earlier committee that dealt with the dispute between Azantilow and Allan Asangalisa, it could not endorse the high-handedness of the former. The Regional House could not nevertheless rebuke him either. However, it conceded that the candidate that the paramount chief of Sandema had foisted on the Chuchuliga people had no legitimate claims. Certainly, that finding can be said to have contributed to the resolution of the crisis, since one of the parties now knew that its case was not solid and did not gain sympathy outside the immediate area.

(footnote) 94 This is a proverb that is common in the Navrongo and Chuchuliga areas. It draws attention to the difficulty of expressing unpalatable truths about a respected individual when that person is present.


Bening, R.B. : The Regional Boundaries of Ghana 1874-1972
Research Review vol. 9,1 (1973)

[Note F.K.: There is no detailed information on the Bulsa area, cf. Bening 1975, b ut the three published maps may give some information]

p. 48: On 1st July, 1960 the Northern Region was divided into the Northern and Upper Regions, the latter with the headquarters at Bolgatanga.
p. 50 [F.K: concerning Kunkwa etc.]: During the colonial era, the truncation of traditional states was avoided and once such boundaries were defined no chief was allowed to exercise jurisdiction across them.

Bening, R.B. : Location of district adminstative capitals in the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast (1897-1951)

Bulletin de l’I.F.A.N. 37. sér.B. no 3, 1975, p. 646-666

p. 652: On 25th October 1905 Navrongo was made a district station…
Navrongo also lay on one of the important caravan routes from Ouagadougou through Po to Daboya.


Berinyuu, Abraham: History of the Presbyterian Church in Northern Ghana

Asempa Publishers, Christian Council of Ghana, Accra 1997

p. 108
Rev. Colin F. Paton: Sandema District (1)
Background and Preparation
In 1954 the Synod Committee of the Presbyterian Church of the Gold Coast (PCGC) asked if the Scottish Mission would open a new Presbyterian Mission station in the North, and in 1955 the Church of Scotland Foreign Mission Committee agreed… Around New Year 1956 a group of Scottish Missionaries (Rev. David Elder, Mission Secretary, Mr William Beveridge, Rev. Wilfred Moore and myself [Paton] and my wife) paid what was for all of us our first visit to the North to learn about conditions there and see the Presbyterian Church workers already in the North. We were accompanied by Paul Atinga, who had been baptized at Nima a short time before and who was later to play such an important part in establishing the Church in the Sandema area. We visited all the pastors’ stations then in existence and some outstations. From Navrongo we visited the Builsa area because it had been recommended to us as a likely sphere for Presbyterian Mission work, and what we saw and heard seemed to confirm this…
By April 1956 Synod Committee had decided provisionally that the station should be in the Builsa area, and sent a small group to recommend just where the station should be. The group consisted of Rev. Otto Rytz, missionary at Salaga and chairman of the N.T. Field Conference, Mr (later Rev.) Ishmael A. Sowah, then (I think) evangelist at Tamale and myself. We spent two nights in Fumbisi and two in Sandema and visited most of the main centres. The report of the group covered more than the place for the station and seems worth reproducing here for comparison with the way the work actually developed…
p. 109
The main Roman Catholic Centre is not at Sandema but at Wiaga 6 miles away, where there are at least two priests stationed. There is, however, a Roman Catholic “catechist” at Sandema and a small Roman Catholic chapel. The Paramount Chief at Sandema said of his own accord he would be glad to have a missionary to begin Presbyterian mission work in his state and appeared to assume the first station would be Sandema. (We did not raise the matter directly with him or with any other chief. We simply said we were sent by the Presbyterian Church which was developing its work in the North and which wanted to learn about different areas of the North before opening new work)…
p. 113
The Early Months: January to August 1957
Building Work
When we arrived in Sandema in January 1957, there was no house on the land which the church had acquired, and the immediate tasks were to put up temporary accommodation for ourselves and then for the Duncans who would arrive in early March, and to keep an eye at the work of the contractor who was beginning to build the permanent mission house. After some time in the Government Rest House and in the house of a Forest Ranger who was a Presbyterian Church member from the south, we moved to the mission site on February 9th. At first we shared a small round hut with a prefabricated metal roof, until I was able to move into a second similar hut. Then we got two much larger round rooms with thatched roofs – one being just habitable by the time the Duncans arrived about March 10.
From the start, we held services on Sundays, in the Rest House at first and soon in the Local Council Hall between the market and the Sandema Nab ‘s compound….
p. 114
…After a few weeks we had twenty or thirty local men, but no local woman, in the hall at services with a small group of them pretty regular in their attendance. The Sandema Nab came from time to time with some of his elders, and sometimes we wondered how much pressure he was exerting to provide us with a congregation. The other thing that probably drew some of the people to Sunday services was the hope of getting paid work from us…
p. 117
Johnson Akobrika… gave us lessons [in Buli] and also allowed us to sit in some of his classes when teaching…
p. 118
Our first attempt to extend the work outside Sandema itself was at Chuchiliga, on the road to Navrongo…
p. 119
In June 1957 after consultation with the local Mass Education Officer we offered “night school” for some of the many people…
The contractor Mr Nsiah, who was building the mission house, finished his work – after various delays – just in time for a dedication ceremony we had fixed for July 21st 1957- The Rev. B.E. Dua and the Rev. David Elder came up from Accra, representing Synod Committee…
p. 120
Relations with the Roman Catholic Mission
The report of the survey group for Synod Committee in 1956 had anticipated some Roman Catholic opposition to the beginning of Presbyterian Mission work in the Builsa area – these were the days before the second Vatican Council. After our arrival in Sandema, I waited until the Duncans had arrived before calling on the White Fathers at Wiaga, but before we had done that, they had called on us in our absence and had also very kindly written offering any help we needed when they heard that our temporary kitchen of grass mats had gone up in flames. When we did visit Wiaga, we heard a very friendly welcome from Fr. Lemaire, who said that while they obviously regretted our coming into the area, he saw no reason why we should scrap like cats and dogs.
Any Roman Catholic opposition to our work in the early days showed itself chiefly in the hostile questions from some RC schoolboys at our open air meeting near the market. Later on, when we wanted to hold a Sunday evening service at the Middle School, there was a good deal of opposition of elder RC pupils who put pressure on those who wanted to attend. At a still later time, when we had begun Religious Instructions teaching in some of the Sandema schools, there was difficulty in one school where the headmaster and the RC Catechist tried to force all the children to attend RC instruction, although some of them had been coming to our instruction before and their parents wanted them to do so.

Rev. Robert and Mrs Louise Duncan: Sandema District (II)
p. 135
…I do recall… that our stay in Ghana coincided almost exactly with Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s time as President. We arrived at Mampong-Ashanti on our journey north, to celebrate there Independence Day – 6th March 1957. We left in 1966, the year of the first coup…
Very soon after our arrival [in Sandema] Colin [Paton] took us on a tour of the Builsa territory, and we were well received everywhere (with the slight exception of Doninga, where there was strong allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church centering on the local chief).
…it was in the Chuchuliga Nab’s house that we first met the Chiana Chief…
p. 136
When the work had been established in the Kasena area, an evangelist, Mr A.S. Lartey, was appointed to Chana with the responsibility for the three congregations – and seventy-two people..
My wife, Louise, who was a qualified nurse, meanwhile established a mother and baby clinic in Sandema soon after our arrival in 1957.

Rev. Alan Byers: Sandema District (III)
p. 142
Sandema – February 1960 to June 1961
I arrived in Sandema to be welcomed by Rev Robert and Mrs Louise Duncan…
… Also five outstations were maintained with the help of two evangelists Paul Atinga and A.S. lartey.
Sandema – January 1964 to January 1966
p. 147
The three northern outstations – Chiana, Ketiu and Gwenia – were developing with larger congregations and women’s groups had been started by Mrs Lartey.
The chapel in Sandema had been built, and dedicated in July 1963, but a freak storm in May 1964 removed most of the roof.
p. 148
In January 1966 I handed over charge to the Rev. Peter Anane, who carried on and built up the congregation during my absence on leave.
Sandema – September 1966 to August 1968
My return from leave [F.K.: together with Prof. Schott] coincided with the meetings of Synod in Kumasi, which I duly attended…
p. 150
One constant need seemed to be for new or extended buildings; the new clinic room at the Mission Compound at Sandema, built 1964, was extended to form a compound house for Miss Carlyon…
Towards the end of 1970 two of the evangelists were posted to the south after long and devoted service in the Sandema District. A.S. Lartey, evangelist at Chiana, Ketiu and Gwenia from 1962-1970. Paul Atinga then came back to Sandema and Thomas Achaab took over at Fumbisi.


Blair, Harold Arthur: A Trek in the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast [1936-37]

Oxford, Rhodes House Library, MSS Afr. s. 626

[Note F.K.: pp. 13-16 were copied without any omissions]
p. 1
On 27th December, 1936, I left Accra by car to tour the Northern Territories…
p. 13
[F.K. The first description of a Sandema Feok Festival?] On the morning of January 9th we motored through Sandema where a large meeting was held. I think it was one of the most important African meetings I have ever attended. There were literally thousands of warriors all armed with bows and arrows and all wearing bush-cow horns on their heads. It really was an amazing sight. It made one realise what deeds of daring do there must [sic] have been before all these horns were secured more especially when one takes the fact into
p. 14
consideration that the bush-cow were shot with bows and arrows. The bush-cow is not a pleasant individual to tackle at any time, but he must be simply terrifying when one is armed with a bow and arrows.
Sandema is the headquarter of the Builsa tribe. The people are wonderfully built and have a great reputation for their courage and fighting powers. In the old days, when the Zaberimi, under their notorious slave raider Babatu, were laying waste to the land, Sandema was the only village in the Builsa country which was not decimated and successfully occupied by Babatu. In fact between Senissi [Siniensi?] and Sandema the Builsa inflicted a serious defeat upon Babatu and drove him out of the country. There are many men still living who fought against the Zaberimi on this occasion. Their version of the matter is that when the Zaberimi fired their guns against the Builsa the latter did not, as was the usual custom, run away, but they stood their
p. 15
ground and started rapid firing with their bows and arrows. Once the Zaberimi had fired their guns it took a considerable time for them to load again and whilst they were doing this the casualties inflicted by the Builsa were so heavy that they broke and ran. This suited the former down to the ground and they pursued them with great gusto, taking ample revenge for their villages which had been gutted in the past, and for the girls who had been raped and for their brothers who had been enslaved. A large number of the Builsa are recruited by the Gold Coast Regiment and they amply live up to their reputation.
The Chief and his Councillors were awaiting my arrival. The former was a very tall man magnificently built.
We then proceeded to hold the durbar. The District Commissioner and I sat under a small covered dais whilst opposite me was the Chief with his Councillors. All around in a large circle were hundreds of warriors dressed in native fashion with beads [?] and skins. On their heads, as I have said before, were bush-cow horns. There was hardly one who was not adorned. The effect was peculiar and most imposing. The impression was gathered that one was in the midst of an enormous herd of human buffaloes. The mere fact that all of them were armed with bows and arrows gave a completely different atmosphere to this meeting as compared with others I attended. It was such a relief to get away form the ubiquitous, unromantic and hideous muzzle loading Dane gun. I was told by Captain Mothersill that these people are extremely good marksmen with the bow and arrow and that he holds an archery match once a year. He mentioned that on the last occasion the man who won it had placed three arrows in succession with a six-inch ball at seventy yards, which is incredibly good shooting. I noticed later when I was passing through the village that
p. 16
even the small children were playing with miniature bows and dud arrows made of reeds, so evidently they start archery very young.
Another thing which particularly interested me was the armour worn by some of the bowmen. This consisted of a whole oxhide curved in on each side so that it offered a very small frontal target. The warrior got into the skin and so adjusted it that it even covered his head when the occasion arose. In other words he was completely encaved in the hide, which made him quite secure from the flight of an arrow as no shot could pierce its thickness. Our own archers in the past would have been very glad to have armour of this description.
The Builsa people number about 44,500 and have an excellent native administration. During their Durbar I mentioned the fact of their past prowess as warriors and told them how well their brothers of the Gold Coast Regiment were carrying on the old tradition. I never saw any people so pleased in my life when they heard this. You could feel the wave of pride and satisfaction which ran through the whole meeting.
In the afternoon we visited the White Fathers’ Mission. This is in charge of Bishop Morin [in Navrongo]…


Cardinall, A.W. The Natives of the Northern Territories of the Gold  Coast – their Customs, Religion and Folkore. New York 1920.

p. x
…[a Builsa] introduced by a fellow-tribesman who happened to have come from the community of Kanjaga assured the perpetuation of a tribal name, Kanjaga; and a Fra-Fra was introduced by a foreigner who so designated him.
p. 9
The Grunshi, Busansi, Konkomba, Tchokossi, and other independent tribes were raided regularly to procure the necessary number of slaves, and when hard put to it the Na of Dagomba asked his relatives of Mossi and Mamprussi to help him in his payment [to the Ashanti]. Be it noted that these three kingdoms seem never to have forgotten their family ties, and to this day observe the relationship by an interchange of messengers on all occasions of great national importance.
About 1860 the tribute [to the Ashanti] was not forthcoming, and the Na of Dagomba sought the aid of some Zaberimi raiders to collect the slaves for hin. The Zaberimi were living to the north-east of Fadi N’Gurma, the most easterly of the Moshi kingdoms, and had the reputation of being valiant warriors and horsemen.
p. 10
The offer was accepted and the Zaberimi became for a short time a sort of mercenary irregular force
attached to the court of Yendi.

On the death of Gazari, the leader of the Zaberimi, dissension broke out between Babatu and Hamana [F.K. Hamaria?]. The latter was forced to flee. Fortunately for him, the French had reached Wagadugu, and in September, 1896, he came to them as King of Grunshi and entered into a treaty of protection. His claim to the country of Grunshi was absurd, but at the time gave the French the opportunity to produce a treaty of protection over a country to which we could at the time produce no
title at all, since it was a and of which our emissary in 1894 had reported there was no Chief of sufficient standing with whom a treaty could be made.
p. 11
raiding, sustaining a severe defeat at Sandema from the temporarily united Builsa. He was forced to recross the Sissili river to recuperate, and on his return met the French forces near the same place, and by them was utterly and finally routed, so that he had to seek safety with the British, who had reached Yagaba.
Eventually the British and French came to an agreement and the eleventh parallel was fixed as the
boundary, thus dividing the Kassena and Nankanni tribes more or less equally between both parties.

The whole of the Builsa country is inhabited by families which have migrated from far to the west, to the north – in fact, from all points of the compass.
p. 18
… In course of time more people came, and to-day, forming the community of Godemblissi, recognise a Chief of Builsa blood and a tindana of unknown origin (Kontosi).
The Chiefs of the people in these parts are a new creation. Until comparatively recent time the head of the family or compound sufficed…

p. 19
Passankwaire was apparently successful in a part of the Builsa country. His story is as folIows, and is typical.
A certain son of a Na of Mamprussi, one Wurume, committed adultery with one of his father’s wives. He was banished and came with a few followers to a place called Kassidema in Builsa country. There is no such place to-day, but the site of the former compounds is pointed out. He then set himself up to rule the people, who, by the way, are all and sundry called Grunshi by Mamprussi and Moshi, no matter whether they be Builsa or Nabdam. To carry out his intentions he appointed his sons to rule over Sandema, Siniessi, Kadima, and Wiaga. He himself grew tired of Kassidema, and after moving to Kunkwa, where he left a son to rule, re-crossed the Volta and settled in Passankwaire. This was many generations ago, and in course of time the descendants of the sons left in Builsa country neglected their allegiance and forgot their Mamprussi connection, but the chiefship
p. 20
descended in the family and continued to survive, protected by the “medicine” of the originally appointed Chief.
p. 91-92
At Tyutyilliga elephant-hunting was a speciality. To-day it would be extraordinary for elephants to roam around there, but the special weapons used are preserved ever ready. The weapon is a stout staff hardened in fire about five to six feet long. An iron head barbed and thickly smeared with strophanthus was tied loosely to the staff, being easily detachable. As soon as the herd was sighted the men climbed into the trees and the children and youths went out to meet the elephants. These they drove towards where their menfolk were concealed, and as the elephants passed the men harpooned them, the poison acting quickly and the loose stick bothering them to madness. Apparently this method was peculiar to that one small district.
[p. 91] The Builsa people had a special war-weapon of their own. It was shaped like a V, and to the shorter [p. 92] arm was fixed a long poison-covered and barbed point, Babatu’s men were very afraid of this. The Builsa also specialised in slings. These they did not use in war, they toId me, because they said quite seriously a sling stone would hurt anyone it hit; but they used them against Babatu. Again, the Builsa are noticeable as having shields. No other tribes in the neighbourhood have these. They are the fuIl cow’s skin cut into a circle, with a cord to pass over the neck and on either side cords through which to pass the arms. Opened, they give a man a butterfly appearance, and when shut cover him completely.
Among the Builsa, too, a special arrow called pim vorhe is used to avenge one’s brother’s death. It is not barbed, but shaped somewhat like a bradawl with its edges roughly dentated zigzag. On recovering the corpse of one’s brother, this arrow is taken and inserted in the wound. After a time the arrow is withdrawn, coated anew with strophanthus and fixed in a shaft, but not tied in with grass. This latter is to ensure the point being left in the wound of its victim when the shaft is withdrawn. The arrow is taken secretly to the washing-place of the women, where it is buried so that blood from the girls may be washed over the place where it is concealed. It is later taken away and on the first opportunity used.
The method of fighting is similar among them all. First the war-cry – a shout of alarm that in itself
conveys nothing to its hearers but to which all and sundry must listen and obey – then the shout, “I am a man,” or ” My fathers call me,” a short run, a feint, a crouching down and an arrow flicked away, and then a short run back. All the time the man is shouting abuse at his adversary and throwing up earth with his right hand like an angry bull with its foot. The Builsa opens his shield to shoot and, quickly closing, runs hack. An arrow will pierce up to two hundred yards, but the shooting is poor…
p. 96
Doninga was the most famous market and is very ancient. In the time of Babatu it was perforce abandoned, but to-day, restored, is probably the largest in both Districts.
p. 97
Doninga was the scene of many stirring raids, which are still related, and the place is shown where the men of Bedema waylaid and slew twenty of the Doninga on their return from a raid on Kanjaga. That particular episode arose through a girl of Kanjaga who dared a Doninga man to come. Girls and beer have much the same effect as women and wine.
p. 100
Nowadays these compounds tend to grow smaller owing to the security enjoyed under our rule, but many are still made of a considerable size. Stones are not now used in their construction, but in the country between the hills at Bachawnsi and the Sisili River there are remains of many compounds of which the walls were constructed of mud and stones roughly hewn more or less flat.


Clarke, John: Specimens of African Dialects 1848-1849

(Berwick-upon-Tweed 1972, Gregg International Publishers Ltd.)

J. Clarke (frontispiece, engraving by J. Cochran 1844)

[Note FK:) ]John Clarke (1802- 1879), a Baptist missionary from Scotland, collected vocabularies in the West Indies (Jamaica), Fernando Po and the Cameroons. They were mainly from West African languages, acquired from ex-slaves.
His publication does not contain many data on Bulsa history, however it is important as being the first one to mention the Bulsa respectively their language.
In his word-lists about the Bulsa, which he calls Tshamba, we find the name Kanjaga (p. 64) and the Buli equivalents of some English words (p. 14/15 Nr 207: man= nuda, woman= nipoho, father= in ko, mother= mami, fire= bolem, water= niam, sun= wona, moon= tserige, star= tshimariga, fowl= quyira…)


O. Davies (compiler): Ghana Field Notes, Part 2: Northern Ghana

University of Ghana – Department of Archaeology, Legon 1970.

[Note F.K.: Only localities of the Bulsa area are enlisted below. Those of other sites are included if artefacts are mentioned  there that the Bulsa are familiar with.
See also F. Kröger: Oval grooves and cylindrical hollows in granite outcrops. BULUK, Journal of Bulsa Culture and Society 9:69 (2016)].

p. 28: Chana 1/125 000
At this date iron was still being smelted here, but nowhere else in this area, using laterite and not magnetite.

p. 30: Chuchiliga 1/250 000
Less than 1 mile from Chuchiliga crossroads north-east towards Navrongo the road runs beside a stream, as shown on the map. The stream has incised sharply about 10′ into granite, and on the 10′ terrace is a quartz gravel very slightly rolled. Most of the pebbles are heavily stained with iron. A few, with fracture-surface very much less stained, seem to be human flakes; probably pre-microlithic, perhaps very formless Late M.S.A. There was also a much stained quartz ball. A few unstained quartz chips did not appear to be artefacts.

p. 80 Kanjaga
In places in this area is iron slag; the people there now never smelted for themselves.
½ mile from Kanjaga towards Wiasi found at depth of 18” a bowl with bosses. This is probably recorded by Junner l.c., and old pot buried in sand at the side of the road to Kanjaga.

p. 141
Sandema 1/250 000
There are fine large grinding hollows on a granite surface on Akwalaba Hill 8½ miles from Nakong and 3.25 miles west of Sandema.

Grinding hollows in the Bulsa area (photo F.K.)

1/250 000
At some distance from Wiasi, on surface not far from River Sissili and probably on an old river terrace , was found a weathered greenstone chopper, perhaps Sangan, fairly heavily patinated. There are greenstone outcrops a few miles upstream.

p. 167 Wiasi
Below Wiasi the Sissili valley is wide and marshy, with wide gentle slope steepening sharply 10′ above the river. Higher up the slope is block-laterite. At top of the slope to the river I found an unrolled chart flake, probably earlier than mesoneolithic; the material is lying about.


Delafosse, Maurice: Haut-Sénégal-Niger, Tome II, L’Histoire, Paris 1972

Le 14 mars 1897, avec l’aide de partisans gourunsi, le lieutenant Chanoine battait Babato à Gandiaga. En avril, le capitaine Seal, alors résident à Ouagadougou, procédait à 1’occupation du Gourounsi et recueillait près de Léo le lieutenant anglais Henderson, que Sarankièni-Mori avait fait prisonnier près de Dokita et que Samori avait relâché, et le capitaine Hugot, opérant a l’Ouest du Mossi et attaque à Monsara par les Bobo, les mettait en déroute après un combat fort dur; ce dernier officier, un peu plus tard, battait définitivement Babato à Doussé.


Der, Benedict G.: Christian Missions and the Expansion of Western Education in Northern Ghana, 1906-1975

In: Saaka, Yakubu (Ed.) Regionalism and Public Policy in Northern Ghana. New York et. al. 2001

p. 124
The Mission’s program drawn up by the General Manager of the White Fathers’ schools, Father Roger Germain, envisaged the opening of primary schools at various places like Tamale, Wiaga – whose school had been closed down in 1933 owing to lack of interest from the Bulsa, Binduri, Bawku, Kaleo, Dafiama, Tiza and Kokoligu; two Senior schools for boys, one at Kaleo and the other at Nandom…
p. 126
The Mission had apparently had a respite during Wentworth’s absence. It had been allowed to open two more primary schools for boys, one at Jirapa, the other at Wiaga.
p. 129-130
[129] In January 1953, the White Fathers restarted the School [Senior School and the Training College] in the form that it existed between 1932 and 1936. Its staff was Fathers Kenelm Haskew, Joseph Haigh and Peter Walters. The same subjects were taught in the school but this time French was added to the curriculum… Located [130] first at Wiaga, it was transferred to Tamale in 1955 and given the name St. Charles Junior Seminary and Secondary School in honor of Major G. N. E. Charles, a District Commissioner at Wa, who had been converted to Catholicism and had donated funds toward the school buildings in Tamale.
The School has had a considerable impact on the advancement of higher education in Northern Ghana. Many secondary school leavers in the North are its products and a significant number of the University graduates from the North have been its pupils84. Without it, secondary education would have come late to Catholic boys in the Upper East and Upper West Regions.
p. 138
84 The author had his secondary school education at this school from 1954 to 1958. Other examples are the late Professor Joseph Kubayanda of Ohio State University, USA; Professor Jacob Songsore of the University of Ghana, Legon; Bishops Lucas Abadanlora of Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese; Paul Bemile of Wa; and Philip Naameh of Damongo Diocese, respectively, all holders of Ph.D. degrees; Rev. Drs. Ivan Yangyuoru of the University of Ghana. Legon, and Edward Kuukure of the National Catholic Secretariat, Accra; and Medical Doctors like Augustine Kabir of Tamale Central Hospital and Godfrey Bakyeyie.


Duperray, Anne-Marie: Les Gourounsi de Haute Volta, Wiesbaden 1984

Duperray (p. 99): Français et Britanniques au Gourounsi en 1887

p. 100

Les Français, eux, ne vont cesser de consolider leurs positions en pays gourounsi grâce au succès de leurs armes contre Babato, et à l’affaiblissement de leurs rivaux britanniques défaits à Wa par Samori.


A l’annonce de la présence des missions anglaises au sud du pays gourounsi, Voulet demande au résident de France, à Ouagadougou (footnote 42), le capitaine Seal, de faire adresser aux chefs de ces missions des notifications officielles concernant la situation du pays l’égard de la France et surtout recommande l’envoi dans les délais les plus brefs d’une mission en pays gourounsi.
Après le passage d’Henderson à Leo, Destenave ordonne à Seal d’envoyer un officier avec 30 tirailleurs et quelques cavaliers pour faire «acte de prise de possession effective» à Sati ou dans tout autre village du Gourounsi. L’arrivée, le 3 mars à Ouagadougou de deux envoyées d’Hamaria venant réclamer de l’aide contre Babato et dénonce l’incursion anglaise en territoire sous protectorat Français, accélère le départ de la mission. Le 5 mars, le lieutenant Chanoine quitte la capitale du pays mossi en compagnie de 40 tirailleurs et 15 spahis. Evitant Leo et Sati, qu’Hamaria a dû quitter pour défende le sud du territoire contre les empiètements de Babato, il coupe au plus court pour rejoindre Hamaria le 12 mars à Kangatian, en pays builsa.

(footnote) 42 Titre officiel octroyé à Seal depuis le 20 février lors du passage de Destenave à Ouagadougou.

p. 101
Ses instructions lui prescrivent de n’apporter aucune aide directe au «roi du Gourounsi».
Il est probable qu’Hamaria demandera a l’officier envoyé en mission, l’autorisation d’agir
contre les Zaberma de Babato. Cette autorisation pourra être accordée aux risques et périls d’Hamaria et sans que l’escorte de l’officier y apporte son concours (footnote 43).
Pourtant dans la conjoncture qui s’offre à lui, Chanoine se croit justifie à appuyer directement Hamaria contre Babet.
A I’arrivée de Babet en pays builsa, à Kanjaga (le Gandiaga de Chanoine) Hamaria s’était porte à quelques kilometres seulement de son ennemi, à Battionsi. De ce village, il avait alors envoyé un drapeau français à Kangatian (ou Doninga) à mi-chemin entre Kanjaga et Battionsi. Les Zaberma étaient venus piller ce village et brûler le drapeau avant de poursuivre leurs razzias dans les villages environnants, don’t certains leur fournirent des contingents, en particulier Chiana (puissante chefferie kasséna au nord de l’actuel Ghana) et Namgurma. Chanoine estime de son devoir de venger l’injure faite à la France tout en démontrant aux populations du pays gourounsi la réalité de la protection française et en devançant l’éventualité d’une alliance de Babet et des Anglais:
J’ai appris que Babet regrettant sans doute d’avoir reçu les Anglais sans conséquences venait de leur envoyer Oua un présent de deux chevaux … Les Anglais pourraient fort bien eonc1ure un traite avec Babet en le reconnaissent chef des villages du Gourounsi don’t il traîne les contingents a sa suite (footnote 44).
L’attaque contre les Zaberma est prévue pour le 14 mars. La colonne de Chanoine marche en compagnie des soldats de Hamaria contre Babet. Celui-ci est entoure de ses meilleurs lieutenants, Issaka et Aliou Gadiari à la tête de 400 nommes armes de fusils et de plus de 200 cavaliers. Babet est sévèrement devait. Il laisse aux mains d’Hamaria 300 prisonniers et une bonne partie de son troupeau. Le fils de Gadiari est tue ainsi que cinq autres chefs. Babatu abandonné par ses recrues récentes de Chiana et Namgurma s’enfuit vers le sud en direction du Mampursi, Chanoine a brûlé 4 000 cartouches. Hamaria a eu 10 hommes hors de combat (footnote 45).
Ce succès amène aussitôt un certain nombre de ralliements à la cause franco-gourounsi. Les plus spectaculaires concernent deux étapes importantes sur la route commerciale de Wa à Gambaga: Yagaba et Belele.
Le 17 mars, le frère du chef de Yagaba précède d’un drapeau français laisse par Baud, vient solliciter l’appui de Chanoine.

(footnote) 43 lnstructions de Destenave. Ouagadougou 1er mars 1897 A.D. 1 G 221.
(footnote) 44 Lettre de Chanoine au résident de Ouagadougou. Gandiaga, 16 mars 1897 A.D. 15 G 121.
(footnote) 45 Mais Chanoine déploré le peu de mordant des troupes gourounsi «Les Gourounga ont une peur prodigieuse des Zabermabés et toutes les fois que les Zabermabés ont fait tête, ils se sont arrêtés, Issaka surtout jouit d’un prestige énorme leurs yeux. C’est en effet un homme très brave qui est venu jusqu’a 100 mètres des fusils en essayant d’entraîner son monde».
Lettre de Chanoine Scal – Gandiaga 16 mars 1897 Id.

p. 102
Babato a dit que s’il ne pouvait rester au Gourounsi, il détruirait Yarba et vendrait tous ses habitants. Le roi te demande de ne pas oublier les promesses qui sont écrites dans le papier que le blanc, ton frère, a donne avec le drapeau afin de ne pas laisser dévaster son pays par les Zabermabé» (footnote 46).  Le chef de Yagaba propose de mettre a la disposition des Français « 800 guerriers armes de fusils» (footnote 47).

Pourtant Chanoine ne se rend pas à Yagaba, peut-être redoute-t-il de se trouver engage trop loin au sud a la poursuite de Babato. La veille les envoyés du chef de Belele (ou Aseydou Belele) sont venus se plaindre que Babato a brûlé une deuxième fois leur ville à son retour de Wa. Or Belele est au carrefour des routes nord-sud et est-ouest, et c’est à quelques kilomètres, à Koudougou, que se sont réfugiés sept ans auparavant certains habitants de Walembele chasses eux aussi par les Zaberma (footnote 48). Le 20 mars, Chanoine passe un traite avec le chef de Belele. Il lui laisse un drapeau pour lui et une douzaine pour ses chefs de village (footnote 49). Le 21, Chanoine raccompagne chez eux les habitants de Walembele dont le chef fait «une déclaration de vassalité à l’égard d’Hamaria». Le 24, à Funsi que les Anglais revendiquent comme dépendant de Daboya, Chanoine agit de façon identique. Le chef de Funsi fait «une déclamation de vassalité à Hamaria, roi du Gourounsi. Cette déclamation est écrite en français et en arabe et enregistrée» (footnote 50).
Ayant laissé un poste de 4 hommes à Bougoubele (footnote 51), il arrive à Léo le 27 et y trouve les 6 hommes laisses par la mission Henderson le mois précédent.
Le 23, il a écrit à Seal de venir le rejoindre en pays gourounsi avec (footnote 50) fusils de façon à ce que les villages déjà traverses soient enfin convaincus de la force française.
Par une grande transversale, vous longeriez le Mampoursi, traverseriez la partie du Mossi qui en est limitrophe. Vous verriez les villages boussancés où il est nécessaire de faire des traites, enfin vous vous reliez au Gourma et vous rentrez à Ouagadougou par la ligne droite. Cette opération nous couvre définitivement contre les Anglais, et cela avant I’hivernage (footnote 52).
Le même jour, il avait notifie aux Anglais de Wa le traite de protectorat qu’il venait de passer à Belele et les avait mis en garde contre toute tentative d’aide a Babato.
J’ai l’honneur de vous faire connaître qu’un chef de bande nommé Babato à la tête de pillards zabermabé désole les frontières du Gourounsi et pille les sujets du roi de ce pays.

(footnote) 46 Journal de marche de Chanoine au Gourounsi – A.N. SOM Afr. III 26.

(footnote) 47 Id.
(footnote) 48 Chanoine estime que le territoire contrôlé par le chef de Belele s’étend sur 80 km de long et 60 de large.
(footnote) 49 Drapeaux de fortune s’il en fût «Comme chez nous on ne pense a rien, je suis oblige de faire des drapeaux avec ma ceinture de flanelle rouge, un drap de lit et des morceaux de turban bleu» Lettre à son père Lée 4 avril1897 A.N. SOM Air. III 26.
(footnote) 50  Léo 3 avri11897. Lettre au résident de Ouagadougou A.D. 1 G 221.
(footnote 51)  Wembele ou Bowbellie, à une dizaine de kilomètres au nord de Walembele. Ce poste sera relevé par Scal le 2 mai, une fois l’installation française assurée à Léo,
(footnote) 52 Lettre n° 6 Chanoine à Seal. Dou, 23 mars 1897 A.N. SOM Afr. III 37 c.
p. 103
Tout soutien matériel ou appui moral donne à Babato constituerait donc des actes qui seraient contraires aux idées civilisatrices des nations européennes et qui seraient en contradiction formelle avec les règles du droit international (footnote 53).
Il avait joint à sa lettre une lettre de Seal proclamant le protectorat français sur le pays gourounsi et interdisant en conséquence la pénétration du territoire par des soldats britanniques en armes.
Henderson dans sa réponse proteste évidemment contre les prétentions françaises sur «des territoires lies par un traite il y a quelques années avec le gouvernement britanniques (footnote 54). Il y suppose que Seal a du recevoir depuis, de la part du résident de Kumasi, une demande de retrait de ses troupes. Enfin, il annonce à Chanoine qu’il expédié un officier pour l’avertir de sa violation du territoire britannique.
Mais les Britanniques ne peuvent conserver cette attitude intransigeante car le heurt de leur petit détachement avec les troupes de Samori se termine tragiquement. Attaque par une fraction des troupes de Saranké-Mory, Henderson, malgré les renforts et les deux canons de Cramer, se trouve rapidement écrasé par le nombre. n demande une entrevue au fils de Samori. Ayant refuse les conditions de ce dernier, livraison des armes, désarmement de sa troupe, il est garde prisonnier et Cramer
prend la direction de la retraite britannique. Les accrochages avec les sofa provoque de nombreuses pertes en vies humaines (Ferguson est tué) et en matériel. Cramer et une partie de ses hommes parviennent à proximité des Français. Chanoi ne que Seal vient de rejoindre avec 60 tirailleurs et 40 cavaliers (footnote 55) se trouve alors dans la région de Tumu. Les Français font bon accueil à leurs rivaux en difficulté (footnote56) et prennent en leur compagnie la route de Walewale où ils ont manifeste le désir d’aller retrouver Steward.
Le 26 mars, à l’annonce de la victoire française sur Babato, Steward s’était porte
avec 80 hommes sur Yagaba où Ferguson avait traite ainsi que le lieutenant Baud. Il semble qu’il ait été partisan d’une alliance avec Babato pour faire pièce tant aux Français et à Hamaria qu’ à Samori. Il entre donc en contact avec Babato, et le 7 avril il reçoit d’ Accra des instructions qui reconnaissent «Babato comme le meilleur allie dans cette zone puisqu’il est l’ennemi des Français et de Hamaria, et qu’il est hostile à Samori». Elles lui ordonnent de recruter 500 des hommes de Babato

(footnote) 53 Lettre de Chanoine à Seal. Dou, 23 mars 1897 Id.
(footnote) 54 Réponse de Henderson à Chanoine, Dowkita 28 mars 1897 A.D. 1 G 221. La dernière phrase de sa lettre ironise sur le drapeau du porteur de Chanoine «the nationality of the flag is unknown to me».
(footnote) 55 Seal avait quitte Ouagadougu le 24 mars pour la région de Djiba où Moumini, un des fils de Naba Wobgo «entretenait de l’agitation». Le 30 mars il est en pays gourounsi, Par Koumbili il rejoint Hamaria à Gandiaga la 3 avril. De là il remonte vers le nord retrouver Chanoine, et le 8 avril tous deux sont à Léo.
(footnote 56)  Alors que Seal vient d’expulser sans ménagement le poste laisse par Henderson a Léo.

p. 104
comme constables, de les faires entraîner par un officier britannique et d’offrir à Babato une commission en tant qu’ officier indigène. Elles lui recommandent également de le tenir éloigné de Samori et des «fellow muslims» (footnote 57). Le 18 avril Français et Britanniques arrivent à Walewale où on leur apprend que Stewart est à Yagaba. Seal expédié aussitôt une lettre de protestation contre l’occupation de Yagaba et l’appui apporte a Babato. Le 21 avril, tous se retrouvent à Yagaba où Stewart remercie «chaleureusement (Seal et Chanoine) au nom de son gouvernement de l’accueil fait à ses compatriotes» (footnote 58).
Une première rencontre a lieu le lendemain pour fixer une frontière provisoire entre les pays occupes par la France et la Grande-Bretagne «sorte de barrière destinée à éviter les rencontres et les conflits entre les agents des deux nations» (footnote 59). Elle met en évidence I’égalité thériaque des droits de chacun sur les territoires considérés:

Le capitaine Stewart adressait par lettre une protestation contre I’occupation de Léo, Dasoma etc. de même que le capitaine Seal avait proteste contre I’occupation de Léo, Gambaka, Oual-Ouale, Yarba et Dua (footnote 60).

C’est donc la situation acquise sur le terrain par les deux adversaires qui fournit une base d’entente pour une limite. Le Mampursi reste dans la zone britannique car les Français ne l’ont jamais occupe effectivement61 tandis que le Gourounsi (du moins les pays nouna, sissala, builsa, kassena) où les Français viennent de remporter des succès récents leur est considéré comme acquis. Remarquons que cet accord se limite à la région comprise entre Wa et Walewale (footnote 62).
Pour les Français. c’est un succès sur le plan de l’extension territoriale (footnote 63) mais les Britanniques gardent le contrôle des centres commerciaux tels que Yagaba et Wale-wale. Encore que la reconnaissance de la souveraineté française sur Belele assure aux Français une ouverture sur la transversale Wa-Gambaga.
Le 23 avril, une seconde séance est consacrée au problème de Babato. Seal proteste contre l’appui que lui apporte Stewart et réclame son désarmement immediat. Mais Stewart «demande que Babato lui fût laisse pour combattre contre Samori, s’engageant par écrit à prendre la responsabilité de toute incursion de

(footnote) 57  Holden 1965 :76.
(footnotes) 58,59 Chanoine 1898:759.
(footnote) 60 Rapport sur les événements survenus au Gourounsi adresse par la capitaine Seal, résident à Ouagadougou à M. le chef de bataillon, commandant la région Niger-Volta, Léo, 2 mai 1897, A.D. 15 G 191.
(footnote) 61 Bien que Stewart ait reconnu que les rois du Mampursi et du pays de Yagaba lui «ont présenté des drapeaux Français et les traites du lieutenant Baud» Extrait du Journal de marche de Chanoine, Yarba , 22 avril 1897 A.N. SOM Afr. III 26. Voir carte n° 14.
(footnote) 62 A l’est de Walewale, Stewart tente de réserver l’avenir. Au retour de sa tentative malheureuse en pays mossi il a laisse un poste à Bawku.
(footnote) 63 C’est bien l’avis de Chanoine «Tous nos droits sont sauvegardes en ce qui concerne le Gourounsi. .. C’est un succès, mais ce qu’ il a fallu être énergique contre ces malhonnêtes anglais». Lettre à son père, Niémi 9 mai 1897 A.N. SOM Afr. III 26.

p. 105
Babato dans le Gourounsi (footnote 64). Il est convenu que Babato se tiendra éloigné a deux jours de la frontière.
Le lendemain le capitaine Seal, qui vient de recevoir notification par Destenave du rattachement du Gourounsi à la région Niger-Volta nouvellement creee (footnote 65) prend la route de Léo où il tente de joindre l’officier désormais charge du gouvernement de la région, Ce retour de Yagaba à Léo est marque par divers incidents qui sont la première esquisse d’une résistance de la part des Gourounsi. Le village de Namgurma est évacué par ses habitants à l’arrivée de la colonne. Celui de Koma attaque à coups de fusil, de fléchés et de frondes. 11 faut deux heures aux tirailleurs pour enlever le village. 11 y a 6 blesses parmi eux et les habitants du village ont une quarantaine de morts. Le 1er mai, Seal est à Léo.

(footnote) 64 Rapport Seal, Léo 2 mai 1897. Op. cit.
(footnote) 65 Le 14 novembre 1896, une région Est-Macina avait été créée sur le flanc de la colonie du Soudan. Elle comprenait les états d’ Aguibou, de San, de Mamadou Abdoul, de Ouidi, le Dafina, le pays des Samo, le Yatenga, le Lobi, le Gourounsi, I’ Arribinda, le Mossi, le Liptako , le Yagha et le pays de Say. Au début de l’année 1897, la situation troublée que connaît une bonne partie du nord de cette région (pays samo, Yatenga, pays bwa, Liptako, Say) justifie une scission en deux de cette région. C’est là l’origine de la région Niger-Volta qui s’étend sur toute la partie est de la précédente. Son rôle est «d’organiser et de pacifier le pays bobo et les contrées riveraines de la Volta et de limiter les progrès des bandes de Samori». Le commandant de cette région est charge d’occuper effectivement le Lobi et le Gourounsi.

English Translation  of  Duperray (Deeple and F.K.)
p. 100

The French will continue to consolidate their position in Gourounsi country thanks to the success of their weapons against Babato, and the weakening of their British rivals defeated at Wa by Samori.


When the presence of the English missions in the south of the Gourounsi country was announced, Voulet asked the French resident in Ouagadougou (footnote 42), Captain Seal, to send official notifications to the heads of these missions concerning the situation of the country with regard to France and above all recommended that a mission be sent to the Gourounsi country as soon as possible.
After Henderson’s visit to Léo, Destenave ordered Seal to send an officer with 30 riflemen and a few cavalrymen to make an “act of effective possession” in Sati or in any other Gourounsi village. The arrival on 3 March in Ouagadougou of two envoys from Hamaria who had come to ask for help against Babato and denounced the English incursion into territory under French protectorate, accelerated the departure of the mission. On 5 March, Lieutenant Chanoine left the capital of Mossi country in the company of 40 riflemen and 15 spahis. Avoiding Léo and Sati, which Hamaria had had to leave to defend the south of the territory against Babato’s encroachments, he cut the journey short and joined Hamaria on 12 March at Kangatian, in the Builsa country.

42 Official title given to Seal since 20 February when Destenave passed through Ouagadougou.

p. 101
His instructions instructed him not to give any direct help to the “king of Gourounsi”.
It is likely that Hamaria will ask the officer sent on the mission for authorisation to act
against the Zaberma of Babato. This authorisation could be granted at Hamaria’s own risk and without the support of the officer’s escort (footnote 43).
However, given the situation he was faced with, Chanoine felt justified in directly supporting Hamaria against Babet.
When Babet arrived in the Builsa country, in Kanjaga (Chanoine’s Gandiaga), Hamaria had gone to Battionsi, only a few kilometres from his enemy. From this village, he had sent a French flag to Kangatian (or Doninga) halfway between Kanjaga and Battionsi. The Zaberma had come to loot this village and burn the flag before continuing their raids in the surrounding villages, some of which provided them with contingents, in particular Chiana (a powerful Kassena chiefdom in the north of present-day Ghana) and Namgurma. Chanoine felt it was his duty to avenge the insult done to France while demonstrating to the people of Gourounsi country the reality of French protection and anticipating the possibility of an alliance between Babet and the English:
I have learned that Babet, no doubt regretting having received the English without consequences, has just sent Oua a present of two horses … The English could very well conclude a treaty with Babet by recognising him as the chief of the Gourounsi villages, whose contingents he drags after him (footnote 44).
The attack against the Zaberma was planned for 14 March. Chanoine’s column marched with Hamaria’s soldiers against Babet. Babet was surrounded by his best lieutenants, Issaka and Aliou Gadiari, at the head of 400 men armed with rifles and more than 200 horsemen. Babet was severely beaten. He leaves 300 prisoners and a good part of his herd in Hamaria’s hands. Gadiari’s son is killed as well as five other chiefs. Babet abandons his recent recruits from Chiana and Namgurma and flees south towards the Mampursi, Chanoine has burnt 4,000 cartridges. Hamaria had 10 men hors de combat (footnote 45).
This success immediately led to a number of rallies to the Franco-Gourounsi cause. The most spectacular of these concerned two important stops on the trade route from Wa to Gambaga: Yagaba and Belele.
On 17 March, the brother of the chief of Yagaba, preceded by a French flag left by Baud, came to ask for Chanoine’s support.

43 Destenave’s instructions. Ouagadougou 1 March 1897 A.D. 1 G 221.
44 Letter from Chanoine to the resident of Ouagadougou. Gandiaga, 16 March 1897 A.D. 15 G 121.
45 But Chanoine deplored the lack of bite of the Gourounsi troops: ‘The Gourounga have a prodigious fear of the Zaberma and whenever the Zaberma have put up a fight, they have stopped, Issaka especially enjoys enormous prestige in their eyes. He is indeed a very brave man who has come to within 100 metres of the guns and tried to lead his people”.
Letter from Chanoine to Scal – Gandiaga 16 March 1897 Id.

p. 102
Babato said that if he could not stay in Gourounsi, he would destroy Yarba and sell all its inhabitants. The king asks you not to forget the promises that are written in the paper that the white man, your brother, gave with the flag so as not to let his country be devastated by the Zaberma (footnote 46). The chief of Yagaba offers to make available to the French “800 warriors armed with rifles” (footnote 47).

However, Chanoine did not go to Yagaba, perhaps fearing that he would be committed too far south in pursuit of Babato. The day before, the envoys of the chief of Belele (or Aseydou Belele) had come to complain that Babato had burnt their town a second time on his return from Wa. Belele is at the crossroads of the north-south and east-west roads, and it is a few kilometres away, in Koudougou, that some inhabitants of Walembele had taken refuge seven years earlier, also driven out by the Zaberma (footnote 48). On 20 March, Chanoine concluded a treaty with the chief of Belele. He left him a flag for himself and a dozen for his village chiefs (footnote 49). On 21 March, Chanoine took the inhabitants of Walembele home, whose chief made ‘a declaration of vassalage to Hamaria’. On the 24th, in Funsi, which the English claim to be dependent on Daboya, Chanoine acts in the same way. The chief of Funsi made ‘a declamation of vassalage to Hamaria, king of Gourounsi. This declamation is written in French and Arabic and recorded (footnote 50).
Having left a post of 4 men at Bougoubele (footnote 51), he arrived at Léo on the 27th and found the 6 men left by the Henderson mission the previous month.
On the 23rd he wrote to Seal to come and join him in Gourounsi country with 50 rifles so that the villages already crossed would finally be convinced of the French force.
By a large transverse line, you would go along the Mampoursi, cross the part of the Mossi which borders it. You would see the villages where it is necessary to make drafts, and finally you would connect with the Gourma and return to Ouagadougou by the straight line, This operation covers us definitively against the English, and that before the winter (footnote 52).
The same day, he had notified the English of Wa of the protectorate treaty he had just signed at Belele and had warned them against any attempt to help Babato.

I have the honour of informing you that a band leader named Babato at the head of Zaberma plunderers is desolating the borders of Gourounsi and plundering the subjects of the king of this country.

46 Journal de marche de Chanoine au Gourounsi – A.N. SOM Afr. III 26.

47 Id.
48 Chanoine estimates that the territory controlled by the Belele chief is 80 km long and 60 km wide.
49 Makeshift flags if ever there was one: “As we do not think of anything, I am obliged to make flags with my red flannel belt, a bed sheet and pieces of blue turban” Letter to his father Lée 4 April 1897 – A.N. SOM Air. III 26.
50 Léo 3 April 1897. Letter to the resident of Ouagadougou A.D. 1 G 221.
51 Wembele or Bowbellie, about ten kilometres north of Walembele. This post will be relieved by Scal on 2 May, once the French installation at Léo is secured,
52 Letter no. 6 Chanoine to Seal. Dou, 23 March 1897 A.N. SOM Afr. III 37 c.

p. 103
Any material support or moral backing given to Babato would therefore constitute acts which would be contrary to the civilising ideas of European nations and which would be in formal contradiction with the rules of international law (footnote 53).
He had enclosed with his letter a letter from Seal proclaiming the French protectorate over the Gourounsi country and consequently forbidding the penetration of the territory by British soldiers in arms.
Henderson in his reply obviously protests against French claims to “territories bound by a treaty some years ago with the British government” (footnote 54). He assumes that Seal must have since received a request from the Kumasi resident to withdraw his troops. Finally, he tells Chanoine that he is sending an officer to warn him of his violation of British territory.
But the British could not maintain this uncompromising attitude because the clash of their small detachment with Samori’s troops ended tragically. Attacked by a fraction of Saranké-Mory’s troops, Henderson, despite reinforcements and Cramer’s two cannons, was quickly overwhelmed by numbers. Having refused the latter’s conditions, delivery of arms, disarmament of his troop, he was taken prisoner and Cramer
Cramer takes charge of the British retreat. The clashes with the sofas resulted in many casualties (Ferguson was killed) and material losses. Cramer and some of his men manage to get close to the French. Chanoine, whom Seal had just joined with 60 riflemen and 40 cavalrymen (footnote 55) , was then in the Tumu region. The French welcomed their rivals in difficulty (footnote 56) and took the road to Walewale with them, where they expressed their desire to go and find Steward.


On 26 March, following the announcement of the French victory over Babato, Steward went with 80 men to Yagaba
with 80 men to Yagaba, where Ferguson had been trading and Lieutenant Baud. It seems that he was in favour of an alliance with Babato to counter the French, Hamaria and Samori. He therefore contacted Babato, and on 7 April he received instructions from Accra which recognised “Babato as the best ally in this area since he is the enemy of the French and Hamaria, and is hostile to Samori”. They order him to recruit 500 of Babato’s men

(footnote) 53 Letter from Chanoine to Seal. Dou, 23 March 1897 Id.
(footnote) 54 Henderson’s reply to Chanoine, Dowkita 28 March 1897 A.D. 1 G 221. The last sentence of his letter ironically refers to the flag of Chanoine’s carrier ‘the nationality of the flag is unknown to me’.
(footnote) 55 Seal had left Ouagadougu on 24 March for the Djiba region where Moumini, one of Naba Wobgo’s sons, was ‘causing unrest’. On 30 March he was in Gourounsi country, via Koumbili he joined Hamaria at Gandiaga on 3 April. From there he went north to find Chanoine, and on 8 April both were in Léo.
(footnote) 56 While Seal had just ruthlessly expelled the post left by Henderson in Léo.

p. 104
The two of them were told to be trained as constables by a British officer and to offer Babato a commission as a native officer. They also advised him to keep away from Samori and the fellow Muslims (footnote 57). On 18 April the French and British arrived in Walewale where they were told that Stewart was in Yagaba. Seal immediately sent a letter of protest against the occupation of Yagaba and the support given to Babato. On 21 April, they all met in Yagaba where Stewart “warmly thanked (Seal and Chanoine) on behalf of his government for the welcome given to his countrymen” (footnote 58).
A first meeting took place the next day to establish a provisional border between the countries occupied by France and Great Britain, “a sort of barrier intended to avoid encounters and conflicts between the agents of the two nations” (footnote 59). This meeting highlighted the equal rights of each nation over the territories under consideration:

Captain Stewart protested by letter against the occupation of Léo, Dasoma etc., just as Captain Seal had protested against the occupation of Léo, Gambaka, Oual-Ouale, Yarba and Dua (footnote 60).

It is therefore the situation acquired on the ground by the two adversaries that provides a basis for agreement on a boundary. The Mampursi remained in the British zone because the French had never effectively occupied it (footnote 61), while the Gourounsi (at least the Nouna, Sissala, Builsa and Kassena countries), where the French had just won recent successes, was taken for granted. Note that this agreement is limited to the region between Wa and Walewale (footnote 62).
For the French, it was a success in terms of territorial extension (footnote 63) but the British retained control of commercial centres such as Yagaba and Wale-wale. However, the recognition of French sovereignty over Belele gave the French an opening on the Wa-Gambaga transverse.
On 23 April, a second session was devoted to the Babato problem. Seal protested against Stewart’s support and demanded his immediate disarmament. But Stewart “asked that Babato be left to fight against Samori, undertaking in writing to take responsibility for any incursion by

(footnote) 57 Holden 1965:76.
(footnotes) 58,59 Chanoine 1898:759.
(footnote) 60 Report on events in Gourounsi by Captain Seal, resident in Ouagadougou, to M. the head of the bataillon commanding the region Niger-Volta, Léo, 2 May 1897, A.D. 15 G 191.
(footnote) 61 Although Stewart acknowledged that the kings of Mampursi and Yagaba ‘presented him with French flags and Lieutenant Baud’s drafts’ Extract from Chanoine’s Marching Diary, Yarba, 22 April 1897 A.N. SOM Afr. III 26. See map No. 14.
(footnote) 62 East of Walewale, Stewart attempted to reserve the future. On his return from his ill-fated attempt in Mossi country he left a post at Bawku.
(footnote) 63 This is the opinion of Chanoine. All our rights are safeguarded as regards the Gourounsi. … It is a success, but we had to be energetic against these dishonest English”. Letter to his father, Niémi 9 May 1897 A.N. SOM Afr. III 26.

p. 105
Babato in the Gourounsi (footnote 64). It was agreed that Babato would stay away from the border for two days.
The next day Captain Seal, who had just been notified by Destenave of the attachment of Gourounsi to the newly created Niger-Volta region (footnote 65), took the road to Léo where he tried to reach the officer now in charge of the government of the region. This return from Yagaba to Léo was marked by various incidents which were the first outline of a resistance on the part of the Gourounsi. The village of Namgurma was evacuated by its inhabitants when the column arrived. The village of Koma attacked with rifles, arrows and slings. It took the riflemen two hours to take the village. Six of them were wounded and the inhabitants of the village had about forty dead. On 1 May, Seal is in Léo.

(footnote) 64 Seal report, Léo 2 May 1897. Op. cit.
(footnote) 65 On 14 November 1896, an East Macina region had been created on the flank of the Sudan colony. It included the states of Aguibou, San, Mamadou Abdoul, Ouidi, Dafina, Samo, Yatenga, Lobi, Gourounsi, Arribinda, Mossi, Liptako, Yagha and Say. At the beginning of 1897, the troubled situation in a large part of the north of this region (Samo country, Yatenga, Bwa country, Liptako, Say) justified splitting the region in two. This is the origin of the Niger-Volta region, which extends over the entire eastern part of the previous one. Its role is “to organise and pacify the Bobo country and the areas bordering the Volta and to limit the progress of the Samori bands”. The commander of this region is in charge of effectively occupying the Lobi and Gourounsi.


Gariba, Joshua: Weaving the Fabric of Life: An Anthropological Presentation of Traditional Dwelling Culture among the Bulsa of North Eastern Ghana

p. 2
History has it that we originated from the old Songhai Empire and so we share a lot in common with the people of Burkina Faso.

p. 2-3
Our bravery and resistance to unjustified domination by any group whatsoever is unparallel among most ethnic groups. We brought the Zamberma slave raiders led by one Babatu from [p.3] Burkina Faso to their knees at a fierce battle in the 1880s. We have instituted an annual festival know n as ‘Feok’ to celebrated the victory with colourful ceremonies…


J. Holden: The Zabarima Conquest of North-west Ghana Part I

p. 60
In the early 1860s (footnote 1) a small group of Muslim Zabarima horsemen came to Dagomba as traders, mercenaries, or malams, or perhaps as all three; by the late 1830s, they, and their kinsmen and
others who had joined them, had conquered and were probably continuously controlling an area stretching from Ouagadougou to Wa; by the late 1880’s their power had been broken by the British, French and Germans und their leaders exiled into obscurity at Yendi. An Introductory survey of the rise and fall of this Zabarima state is perhaps overdue, and armed with evidence which, in the main, has recently come to light, this can now be attempted (footnote 2).

(footnote) 1 Chronology is very difficult for this period. Tamakloe dates the first Zabarima assisted expedition to Gurunsi as 1356, but this date can probably be rejected as too early….

(footnote) 2 This survey is based mainly on local manuscripts, recently acquired by the Institute of African Studies, and provisionally translated by T. Mustafa of the Institute of African Studies, Legon; on Interviews carried out mainly in Sisala, Builsa and Dagomba in spring and summer of 1964; and for the later period on government records in the National Archives of Ghana,
Apart from a few pages in Tamakloe A brief History of the Dagbamba people (1931) and a couple of paragraphs in Rouch J. Migrations au Ghana (1954) nothing has been published on this subject…

p. 64
The term ‘Gurunsi’ had a broad significance and has been used in various ways. For our purpose, however, we can use it as applying to that north-west corner of present day Ghana north of Gonja and west of Mamprussi and Dagomba, excluding the Wala state and the Dagaba (Dagartis) The ‘Gurunsis’ extended well north of the present frontier with Upper Volta, as far as the Kipirsi (Tamakloe’s Chaparisi, Malam Abu’s Zabarishi) and the Ouagadougou Mossis, and included therefore such people as the Sisalas, Nounoumas (or Awunas), Kasenas, Builsas, Frafras.

p. 75f
From Seti, Babatu now launched tow apparently heavy campaigns which can be best identified as against Central Bulsa (Kanjaga, Fumbisi and Kunkwa and probably also Wiasi and Giaderna) (footnote 70) and the area of modern Navrongo (footnote 71). These were heavily pagan areas and in almost all cases there seems to have been no preliminary [p. 76] overtures made by the Zabarimas, which was a departure from their usual practice, and the towns were quickly taken and the chiefs killed.

(footnote) 70 For this campaign we must rely on Malam Abu supported by oral eye-witness evidence. We are told that Babatu moved against Kazaga, Hubishi and Kuikuwa which are probably Kanjaga, Fumbisi and Kunkwa in Central Builsa.
Firsthand Builsa memories refer to the Zabarima conquest of Wiase and Kunkwa ‘four or five years before the whites came to fight the Zabarimas’ i.e. about 1891 (interview, Wiasi 15/8/64) while Sandema tradition has the Sandema Naba leading a Builsa army against a Zabarima Invasion at Giadema, Uwasi, Fumbisi and Kanjaga, which may well be a different perspective on the same campaign (interview, Sandema 16/8/64). Cardinall A. W. The Gold Coast 1932, refers to a temporarily united Builsa army which defeated the Zabarimas at Sandema. At Kanjaga, of two men interviewed who were taken and sold by the Zabarimas, one recalled how the Kanjaga chief Amnu was captured by the Zabarimas but was spared and collaborated with them. A very tentative date arrived at from these two interviews would be 1890 (interviews 17-18/8/64). At Fumbisi at least two eye-witnesses tell of “the
Zabarima attack ‘about five years before the whites came’ (interview 19/8/64). Dating by this method, of course, is of little other than corroborative value.

(footnote) 71 Malam Abu. says that Babatu then moved against Nafaru, Nafaburu and Zozolo, the first two of which may have been Navrongo and nearby Pagaburu. This identification has not -yet been checked by field work, but the story from Sandema is that the Zabarimas came to Builsa after conquering Paga, which, if it reverses Malam Abu’s sequence, at least puts the two campaigns in the same short period.

p. 78
Within these territorial limits, most of the Awunas, Kasenas and Nankanis paid tribute of tax to them, and Sisala and Builsa seem to have been solidly under their control.
The case of Amaria who was the acknowledged leader of the rebellion is a good example of the co-operation and loyalty which the Zabarimas had been able to secure from their ‘Gurunsi’ allies.
Though he had served with the Zabarima forces all his life, and was entrusted with high military and possibly civil office by them, he still seems to have maintained close links with the Awunas, and with northern Builsa and SisaIa towns where he had many relatives and which he visited frequently on behalf of the Zabarimas.

p. 79
It is, unfortunately not possible to trace with any certainty the alignments of the various ‘Gurunsi’ towns during the rebellion, as our evidence is vague and contradictory. Also, in some towns such as Kanjaga the leaders and their people were divided in their allegiance. It would seem, however, that in the first two years Amaria enjoyed the support of most of the Awuna towns and those in the north of Dagarti, Sisala and Kasena, whereas southern Sisala and most of Builsa seem to have remained loyal.

p. 83
…Henderson began to take an even sterner line towards Babatu, and at a meeting at Kajanga, February 14, l897, ordered the Zabarimas out of ‘Gurunsi’ as well as Dagarti.’ Amaria at this time attacked from nearby Bechuansi, and Babatu’s answer to the British was to move against him with considerable force and overwhelm him. Pursuing him northwards, the Zabarimas now met the French and their ‘Gurunsi’ allies at Yaro. Forced to fall back, Babatu made a stand at Kajanga, but Chanoine defeated him and drove him southwards. Requesting Capt. Stewart at Yagaba, who was now in command as Henderson had moved westwards, to explain to the French that he had no quarrel with them, Babatu was ‘promised nothing but protection.’ …


Howell, Allison M: The Religious Itinary of a Ghanaian People. The Kasena an the Christian Gospel.

Frankfurt 1997.

p. 22
The story then tells of the birth of Chiana’s son, Wusiga end the reason Wusiga und his descendants forbid killing or eating the meat of the gorilla. Chiana had other children by a wife from Po (Burkina Faso). After the deaths of NASI and Chiana, Wusiga persuaded NASI’s sons to
relocate their settlement to Chiana’s farms at Goli as the land there was better to farm. Chiana’s wife refused to move and so Wusiga sent her with her children back to Po. Wusiga end NASI ‘s sons built a new settlement at Goli adjacent to the “Fetish Goli” (tangwane11), a sacred site used for sacrifice. They called the area “Chiana” and mode Wusiga the Headman. As Wusiga had no wife to bear children he made a vow at the “Fetish Goli” und pledged that if the shrine would give him a wife and many children, then he would sacrifice his first-born to it.” He married two women, one being the daughter of Achulu, the ancestor of Chuchuliga (Bulsa community) end she bore Nanyanga. The other was from Sisinu end she de1ivered Zoo. A stranger from Gbedem (Bulsa area) arrived at Goli with his wife end sister.13 “Wusiga told him to live with them and called him Gweru (meaning ‘leopard’, as Gbedem does in Buli). In return Gweru gave his sister to Wusiga und she bore him three children.

p. 23
Sandem (the ancestor of Sandema) gave his daughter to Wusiga in return for land that Wusiga gave Sandem to farm on. However, Nanyanga, Wusiga’s eldest son, killed Sandem’s wife when she and other women were returning home with the meat of a goat that had belonged to Nanyanga. He collected his meat und fled to his uncle’ s house at Chuchuliga.15 The result was that Sandem retaliated with his brothers, Kadem, Wiaga und Sinisi, invaded Wusiga’s settlement and took away much property, including Sandem’s daughter.
After Wusiga’s death, one of Wusiga’s sons, Zoo, was driven out to Sisinu by the other brothers as a result of a dispute over the sharing of meat that had been sacrificed. He stayed at Sisinu with NASI’s descendants und his descendants became the people of Katiu.16 The dispute with Sandem continued, and finally the brothers of Sandem drove Wusiga’s community across the River Baponga to the place where Chiana clan-settlements now stand. The children of NASI, became the people of Saa (Saga …). Chiana recognise the Saga people as their “fathers” because their ancestors met them when they came, and so Saga are the tega tiina (land guardians)…
p. 26
Although people came from diverse origins, the development of affinal ties or apparent familial linkages has brought a sense of unity and community to each area. This is illustrated in the Chiana clan-settlement of Nyangania whose ancestor took refuge in the Bulsa community of
Chuchuliga. Nyangania remained under Chuchuliga until Ayagitam became chief. He negotiated in 1927 to have Nyangania brought under Chiana as they were Kasena and not Bulsa.35 -settlements now stand. The children of NASI, became the people of Saa (Saga …). Chiana recognise the Saga people as their “fathers” because their ancestors met them when they came, and so Saga are the tega tiina (land guardians)…
p. 37
In 1932 the Government created a confederacy of Kasen-Nankan chiefs consisting of ten equally ranked chiefs, with the President being elected on an annual basis.134 It was not until 1940 that the Kasena and Bulsa Districts were finally granted independence from the Mamprusi District.136 The Confederacy gave greater confidence to chiefs, including the Nakong chief who did not impress the authorities before he joined the Confederacy. He became “quite a power in the Council, full of suggestions und ideas which he is not afraid to express, and a great help to everyone concerned.137 The creation of the Kasena-Nankani Native Authority led to the growth of a more corporate identity. The DC Capt. L. Mothersill asserted that forty years previously Kasena-Nankana had not had a corporate identity.138 However, Awedoba claims that a loose Kasena-Nankana consciousness existed prior to colonial times when they acted corporately to oppose the slave raiders.139 But he also points out that as a group they were not closely knit, illustrated by the frequency with which they raided each other. Koelle’s informant, Bagolomo, identified his language es Kasem, so there was definitely a Kasena identity. However, a Kasena-Nankana consciousness is probably more characteristic of Navrongo than of the communities to the west of them who regard themselves as “pure Kasena”.

(4) Impact oft he British presence among the Kasena

The most immediate impact of British presence among the Kasena was the measure of stability brought about between and within communities. Prior to the arrival of the British, there were often disputes between groups. Chiana and Chuchuliga frequently bickered und fought,140
but these encounters lessened after the arrival of the British and old men today acknowledge that the area became more peaceful. This peace however, was more for the advantage of the traders, of whom 89,000, reported at Navrongo in 1917 alone en route south.141

p. 153
The Conversion Experience from the 1950s to 1992
Between the 1950s end 1992, three phases are identifiable in the Kasena religious itinerary. Each phase is associated with the establishment of new church groups. Only three groups, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), Assemblies of God (AOG) und SIM Ghana (formerly Sudan Interior Mission) specifically sent missionaries into northern Ghana to start churches.

Prior to the 1950s, only the Roman Catholic (RC) church existed among the Kasena. However, movement of Kasena to the south of Ghana exposed them to other church groups. This was evident as early as 1915 when the Navrongo chief discovered the whereabouts of his son,
Poabadye, who had been held captive in Cape Coast for about 15 years before he was brought back to Navrongo.1 After the White Fathers met “John Poabadye” they commented that, “He seems very gentile: he is a Wesleyan for 3 years, but we will endeavour, with the grace of God, to win him to the true religion.”2 The Fathers desired not only to win Poabadye to the “true religion”, but to prevent Protestant missionaries from beginning work in areas they occupied or wished to enter in the Northern Territories. Hence their request in 1912 to establish catechists in Nankani and Bulsa villages around Navrongo.3
p. 159
(3) The entry of Presbyterian missionaries into the western Kasena area Presbyterian missionaries Rev. und Mrs C. Forrester Paton opened a station in Sandema at the beginning of 1957 and then Rev. and Mrs R. Duncan joined them. Rev. Duncan first visited Katiu between 1957 and 1959, but the opportunity to consolidate their work came through the invitation of the Chiana chief, R.A. Ayagitam II.24

At Chiana Gwenia, John Logoyara and Noah Kofi Dedotia visited houses with the PCG missionaries.28 They told people God’s commandments und spoke about “we-diqa”. Logoyara indicated that the missionaries brought a Bulsa man and so their talks would be translated
from English to Buli end then into Kasem.29

p. 171
(2) Migration and Healing: the migrant returns as a Prophet

In 1953 the Church of the Lord (Aluduru) was established in Ghana, but in 1965 it became autonomous adopting the name, “Church of the Lord (Ghana)”. After a lengthy dispute in 1972 a segment of the Church broke away and formed a new church called “Church of the Lord Mission” (COLM).90 The COLM did not make an institutional decision
to enter the Kasena. Instead migration and healing were the key factors which contributed to the establishment of the COLM among the Kasena. In the COLM story, there are three overlapping phases.

a. A bridge between the old and new
Madame Rebecca Kawuru was born in the Bulsa community of Kalijiisa, Sandema and married Abavang from Chiana Gugoro.91 She and her husband migrated to the south of Ghana and lived for a time near Nkawkaw. Kawuru suffered much sickness and her husband tried kaanem, many different medicines end healers, but everything failed. Around 1972, a man wearing a long white robe appeared in their town end held “open” meetings during which he prayed for people.92
p. 172
In late 1977, Madame Kawuru… returned north for her brother’s funeral at Kalejisa. While there she dreamt that she should pray for people, but as people kaane jana she thought that there was no point in praying for them. Instead she tried to earn money brewing pito to return south to her husband. However, whenever she carried the pot to sell the pito, the pot fell on the ground and the pito poured out. She became afraid for she interpreted this as God’s sign to her that she was meant to stay to pray for sick people. She accepted what God said to her und began to worship und pray for the sick in the house at Sandema. As people began to experience healing, word quickly spread. In October 1978, Joseph Akotey reported that “She uses Jesus name as a cure and that is her business. Jesus has come end gone but she has now come in His place”.93 Howard Brant recalls “that literally hundreds of people came to her meetings — many from far away by tractor trailer.”94
Kawuru moved to her husband’s house ut Chiana Gugoro and used a room for meeting purposes. She prayed for people und many were healed…

p. 173
They placed great emphasis on prayer to God and the Holy Spirit working in the Christian. Kawuru selected Abadigao and others to send God’s word to people in places such as Navrongo, Paga, Po, Tiébélé, Tangaso, Sandema, Wiaga and Katiu. Kawuru also selected a woman in each place “whose thoughts could handle communication”, as her representative, but
not all of these women were literate.

p. 176
A woman… described what they saw at Gugoro: “We saw there some boys und men throwing themselves down, crying und rolling about end I heard some people say ‘they have the sumsum’ (spirit)”.106 The “sumsum bia” said things about people such as “it is chera who has caught this man’ s soul. “The “sumsum bia” did not identify any chera [witch] in her house, so her house never went again. In interviews, people testified that the “sumsum bia” had the main role either identifying people as chera or indicating chera had caught them.107 Some people reported that
the “sumsum bia” beat those people identified as chera and some even claimed that they sct them on ants nests. This brought division within houses.

These practices led to condemnation from Kasena within the community and from people in other churches. A voro told me that the COLM was not a church. He refused to go because they rolled on the ground end identified people as chero. He stated to me, “No human can say someone is chero unless Wɛ knows.” He did not regard the “sumsum” as being a spirit from God…

p. 178

c. “Cooling”: the influence of Kasem Scriptures
The catechist concluded his summary of the COLM by stating, “Now however, they have changed because they heard God’s commandments und they have ‘cooled’.” This statement is revealing, for he indicates that the COLM in Chiana changed through hearing God’s word in the Bible. A series of events occurred at the beginning of the 1980s which contributed to this “coo1ing”. The most significant event was the translation of the New Testament into Kasem. Philip and Judy Hewer translated portions of the New Testament, including the Gospel of John and published them in the early 1980s.116 The New Testament was published in 1988.


Hughes, Mark: Vari, a Study in Rural Decay

Manuscript in the Rhodes House Library, Oxford, MSS. Af., provided by R. Schott

p. 29
Between the thickly inhabited country and the Sissili, separated from the former by the Benaponi tributary, lies a ridge which presents a scene of desolation. Six villages marked on the map have ceased to exist altogether. .. The villages that still remain on the ridge are in a miserable state; one of them, Vare, is fairly well documented…
p. 30
The District Record Book at Navrongo, the District Headquarters thirty miles to the East, first mentions Vare in 1907…
Zabrama slave raiders, led by the notorious Babatu, ravaged Vare at the end of the 19th century.
… The advent of soldiers and the White men finished the slave raids, but it is said that the people of Vare and the neighbouring places resisted the troups, and that in reprisal a force under a British serjeant burned their compounds.
There is evidence that a trade route once passed through or near Vare; probably this was closed to prevent smuggling when the frontier was ‘delineated’…
The elders of Vare… told me that in their young days the place was a flourishing settlement of forty odd compounds, which would mean a population of about 500…
p. 31
Mr (later Sir) A.W. Cardinall visited Vare in 1918, when disintegration was evidently well under way. Cardinall recorded that “this village shows the ravages of Babatu…”
Vare does not appear to have been visited again until 1925 (1926?), when a D.C. noted that it was “a dismal sort of place this, overgrown and sleepy. Only 15 compounds…
In the late 1920s and in 1931 yellow fever was discovered… In 1931 the census recorded nine compounds and 88 people in Vare… A few years ago … there were 23 compounds…
In 1934 another D.C. said: “Only seven compounds now – place evidently dying out”.
p. 32
… a D.C.’s remark in 1937: “Vare people much improved and look positively healthy”.
The writer visited Vare in 1947. There were then five compounds and 22 people, of whom three were totally blind…


Koelle, Sigismund Wilhelm, Polyglotta Africana,
first edition London 1854, Reprint Graz, Austria 1963

Note F.K. : S.W. Koelle was a German missionary working on behalf of the London-based Church Missionary Society in Sierra Leone. His Polyglotta Africana (1854) marked the beginnings of serious study of African Languages by Europeans. He made use of the fact that Sierra Leone was a melting pot of ex-slaves from all over Africa to compile a list of 280 basic words in some 160 languages and dialects and added a short biography of each informant, with geographical information about their place and origin (source: Wikipedia).
His book is, after John Clarke (1848), the second oldest written mention of the Bulsa in non-African literature. He interviewed two Bulsa, namely Atim, or Sam Wood of York, born in the district Kandsare [Kanjaga] and Adsumano or Jacob MacCormack of Freetown, born in the town [Kanjaga-]Nyasa.
Of the Bulsa, which he calls Guresa, the following towns/villages are mentioned: Kandsare [Kanjaga], Nyasa [Nyansa: section of Sandema? or Kanjaga Nyakpensa?], Var [Vari?], Bakionze [Bachonsa?].

p. 6, right column
Guren, in pl. Guresa, hence either Guren language, or the language of the Guresa. – From ‘Atim, or Sam Wood, of York, born in the district Kandsare [Kanjaga], where he lived till about his eighteenth year. He is now twenty-four years old. — And from Adsumano, or Jacob MacCormack, of Freetown, born in the town Nyasa.

p. 7, right column
Remarks. – Gungonima is about one and a-half day’s journey from Girewara, the Bagbalan capital, and half a day from the large River Mora, which is not fordable even in the dry season. The Mora flows from Dagbana and Gurenze, and goes down to Var [Vari?] and Ny-poronze. Bagbalenze is situate north-west of Gurenze, where a different language is spoken, and of Koama, with a language closely allied; west of, where the same language is spoken, and east of which lies Nyambima where people speak like the Guresa; east of Badzunze, where, a different language is spoken; north of Manunia, pl. Basunnina, where a cognate language is spoken; south of Var (sing. Vantina), with a different language. On his way to the sea Laudman passed through Kananze, with the same language; Kandsar, with a language like that of Gurenze: Yaruwa, with a different language; Kumbun, Dsalugbarra, Kokurinzi, Gbeze, and Dahome, all which countries have likewise different languages.


Köhler, Oswin: Die Territorialgeschichte des östlichen Nigerbogens

Baessler-Archiv, Neue Folge, Band VI. 229-261

p. 241
d) Die Builsa
Zu der Gruppe von Völkern, die einen stärkeren Dagomba-Einfluß erfahren haben und deren Sprache offensichtlich zur Dagomba-Mosi-Gruppe gehört, sind schließlich auch die Builsa zu zählen. Sie setzen sich aus verschiedenen Einwanderungen zusammen, während der Grundstock der Builsa wohl Grusi sind.
1. Ein Teil der Builsa, darunter die Leute der Orte Gwedema (mit Gwedembibsi), Kadem, Sandema, Sinisi und Wiaga sind von Nordosten eingewandert. Ihr gemeinsamer Ahne soll einst in Zeko gewohnt haben, das heute im Nankana-Gebiet liegt. In Gwedemkpeo sind neben einer Zeko-Linie noch Leute vertreten, die aus Tongo im Talensi-Gebiet kamen. Von dem Mamprusi-Dorf Du und dem Nankana-Dorf Orogu zogen Gruppen nach Südwesten und gründeten das Builsa-Dorf Kunkua (footnote 41a).
2. Ein weiterer Teil der Builsa geht wahrscheinlich auf die Kasena zurück. Nach der Überlieferung gründete der Kasena-Schmied Akana am Ende seines Weges, der ihn von Kurugu (bei Dakai) über Cakani (bei Po) führte, um die Mitte des 18. Jh. die größte Builsa-Siedlung Kandjaga, mit deren Namen die Builsa zuweilen ebenfalls bezeichnet werden.
3. Von den südöstlichen Einflüssen auf die Builsa lassen sich unterscheiden:
a) Ein geringerer Einfluß aus Mampurugu. Nach der Überlieferung wurde Wurume, der Sohn eines Herrschers von Mampurugu, in das Land der Builsa verbannt und soll in Kasidema gelebt haben, das heute nicht mehr bewohnt ist. Während sich Wurume später nach Kunkua begab und schließlich über den Weißen Volta nach Osten zurückging (er soll sich in Pasankwaire nieder- gelassen haben), übten seine Nachkommen die Herrschaft über Kadima (in unmittelbarer Nähe des alten Kasidema), Sandema, Sinisi (alias Sinyesi) und

(footnote) 41a  Rattray op. cit. vol. II, 398 f.

p. 242
Wiaga aus. Angeblich haben sie keine Beziehungen mehr zu den Mamprusi unterhaltcn (footnote 41b). b) Weit stärker war der Einfluß des Dagomba-Reiches. Die Dagomba- Reichsgründer drangen von Bagale nach Süden vor und gründeten um Dyari ein politisches Zentrum. Hier, im Westen des heutigen Dagbong, entstand ihre Herrschaft. Zwischen Karaga und Kumbungu stießen sie auf eine Vorbevölkerung, zu der auch die Builsa gehörten (footnote 41c). Die Dagomba vernichteten, unterwarfen oder vertrieben viele alteingesessene Bewohner des Landes. Ein Teil des Builsa-Volkes im südlichen Grenzbezirk traf dieses Schicksal im besonderen, während weiter nördlich gelegene Gebiete weniger berührt wurden und offenbar auch später ihre Selbständigkeit bewahren konnten. Zu ihnen gehören die Orte Kandyaga und Kombisi (footnote 41d).
Im Süden entstand so die Dagomba-Provinz Savelugu (nach Tauxier loc. cit. mit sieben großen Dörfern und etwa hundert kleinen Plätzen, in der die Tinbihe, d. h., die ,Kinder des Landes’, den Großteil der Bevölkerung bildeten (footnote 41e).
4. Im Norden gerieten die Builsa in die Nachbarschaft der Kasena-Bura, z. B. in Pinda, Paga und Kayoro (footnote 41f). Ferner kamen sie mit den Nankana in engere Berührung.
Ein bedeutender Abschnitt in der Geschichte der Builsa war der Einfall der Zaberma-Krieger, deren Angriff die Builsa unterlegen waren. Die Zaberma bemächtigten sich der Orte Kumbisi, Batyonse und schließlich Kandyaga. Sie blieben 25 Jahre (1872-97) im Lande und führten eine große Anzahl von Builsa in die Sklaverei. So sollen in und um Bonduku Builsa-Sklaven angetroffen worden sein.

(footnote) 41b Cardina1l, A. W.: The Natives of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast. London 1920. S. 19.
(footnote) 41c Nach Cardina1l op. cit. S.16 wird berichtet, dass sich Kappe, Umhang und Halskette eines Bui1sa-Erdherrn in Yendi befanden.
(footnote) 41d Vgl. Tauxier, L.: Nouvelles Notes sur le Mossi et le Gourounsi. Paris 1924. S.287.

(footnote) 41c  Savelugu war der Residenz Alt-Yendi unterstellt. Tauxier op. cit, S. 288 erwähnt: ‘le chef de Savelou prelevair 100.000 cauris et un boeuf qu’il envoyait en signe d’hommage et en tribut au chef de Yende.’
(footnote) 41f  Cardinall op. cit, (Anm. 41 b) S.114.


Franz Kröger: Ancestor Worship among the Bulsa of Northern Ghana

Kulturanthropologische Studien, ed. R. Schott and G. Wiegelmann, vol. 9, Klaus Renner Verlag, Hohenschäftlarn near München 1982.

p. 19
Note: The genealogy is based on information from Agbandem, compound head of Avarisik Yeri in Tandem-Zamsa. The following ancestors/ancestresses receive their sacrifices from Agbandem: Ataduok (and his mother), Anaanateng (and his wife and mother), Atengdaara, Ajiima, Abiik, Abitie (and his mother). Abiik’s descendants are venerated in front of Avarisik Yeri.


Kröger, Franz: Die Erforschung der Bulsa-Kultur

In: M. Grabenheinrich und S. Klocke-Daffa (Eds.): 15 Frauen und 8 Ahnen. Leben und Glauben der Bulsa in Nordghana, Münster 2005 (p. 39-48).

German (original) Edition

p. 39

… Die ersten Informationen über die Bulsa, genauer gesagt über ihre Sprache, erhielten wir von dem schottischen Missionar John Clarke (1802-1879). In den 1840er Jahren sammelte er bei ehemaligen westafrikanischen Sklaven auf Jamaika, Fernando Po (heute: Bioko) und in Kamerun Wortlisten über deren Heimatsprachen. Er veröffentlichte seine Ergebnisse 1848. Obwohl einige seiner publizierten Wortlisten heute nur schwer modernen Ethnien zuzuordnen sind, ist es wohl sicher, dass es sich bei dem von ihm untersuchten “Tshamba” um Buli, die Sprache der Bulsa, handelt.

p. 41

Eine noch bedeutendere Schrift (Polyglotta Africana, 1854) mit über 200 Wortlisten westafrikanischer Sprachen verfasste der deutsche Afrika-Missionar und Linguist Sigismund Koelle (1823-1902), der in Freetown (Sierra Leone) die Sprachen freigelassener Sklaven untersuchte. In seinem Werk finden wir auch eine Liste von fast 300 Wörtern der Buli-Sprache, die er hier Gúren nennt. Im Unterschied zu Clarke veröffentlichte er auch Daten über das Leben seiner Informanten und deren Heimatland. So erfahren wir z. B., dass Adsumano (auch Jacob MacCormack von Freetown genannt) in Nyasa im südlichen Bulsaland fünf Jahre vor seiner Begegnung mit Koelle in seinem Heimatdorf von Sklavenjägern gekidnappt wurde. Auch liefert Koelle eine Liste der damals wichtigsten Dörfer der Guresa (Bulsa).

Die Eroberer 

Es vergehen einige Jahrzehnte, bis die ersten Europäer als Forscher, Missionare, vor allem aber als Eroberer das heutige Nordghana betreten. Obwohl schon im 15. Jahrhundert die ersten europäischen Siedlungen (z. B. Elmina) an der Küste des heutigen Ghana (damals: Goldküste) entstanden, blieben die nördlichen Gebiete lange den Europäern verschlossen. Das mächtige Ashantireich lag nämlich wie ein Riegel zwischen den Küstensiedlungen und dem Norden. Erst nach dem Sieg über dieses Reich und seine Hauptstadt Kumasi (Ende 19. Jh.) und nach einem Wandel in den Zielen der europäischen Kolonialvölker wurde das Hinterland der Goldküste für Briten, Franzosen und Deutsche erstrebenswert für Eroberungen. Im Jahre 1901 konnten die Briten das Land bis etwa zum 11. nördlichen Breitengrad als Northern Territories ihrer Kolonie Gold Coast angliedern.

Von den eigentlichen Eroberern erfahren wir nur wenig über die Bulsa.

Der britische Offizier Henderson (Abb.1) war wahrscheinlich der erste Europäer, der 1897 das BuIsaland betrat. In Bachonsa traf er sich mit dem berüchtigten Sklavenjäger Babatu zu Verhandlungen. Henderson verdanken wir auch die erste kleine Landkarte mit Bulsadörfern (Abb.2). Neben Bachongsi [Bachonsa] erscheint hier eine Ortsangabe. Barbatu’s Camp”. Es war Kanjaga, wo der Sklavenjäger für längere Zeit Quartier bezogen hatte, um von dort aus andere Bulsadörfer zu überfallen und wo er schließlich von den Franzosen in einer blutigen Schlacht geschlagen wurde.

p. 42

Die Kolonialbeamten

Wieder vergingen einige Jahrzehnte, bis die ersten Veröffentlichungen über die Völker der “Nordterritorien” und auch über die Bulsa erschienen. Während die europäischen Eroberer kaum Zeit fanden, zusammenhängendes Material über die Kultur der Unterworfenen zu sammeln, geschweige denn zu veröffentlichen, bilden Berichte und Bücher der späteren Kolonialbeamten wertvolle Quellen für das Studium der einheimischen Völker. In der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts war in Nordghana eine Verwaltungsstruktur mit britischen Beamten entstanden, die jeweils für einen kleineren Bezirk (engl. district) verantwortlich waren. Sie hatten einen relativ intensiven Kontakt zur lokalen Bevölkerung, sei es durch die Teilnahme an Festen, durch Verhandlungen mit den “Häuptlingen” (chiefs), durch Vermittlungen bei Konflikten und durch Gerichtsverhandlungen, die zur Bestrafung eines Verbrechers oder oppositioneller Kräfte führten. Die District Commissioners (Vorsteher eines Distrikts oder Kreises) wurden außerdem angehalten, über ihre Tätigkeiten ein Tagebuch zu führen, und seit einigen Jahren sind die meisten dieser Tagebücher durch eine Veröffentlichung einem breitere Lesepublikum zugänglich (WILLIAMSON 2000).

Aus dem Kreis der Kolonialbeamten und -offiziere stammen die ersten zusammenhängenden ethnografischen Darstellungen der Völker Nordghanas. Über die Bulsa erfahren wird allerdings im Vergleich zu anderen Ethnien recht wenig.

Der Franzose Louis Tauxier, der lange Zeit als Verwaltungsbeamter in der französischen Kolonie Obervolta (heute Burkina Faso) tätig war, veröffentlichte einige Werke über Völker an der Grenze zum Nachbarland Ghana. In einem Kapitel über die Bulsa, die er Boura nennt, berichtet er (1912) unter anderem über deren Agrarwirtschaft, Sozialstruktur und Religion.

1920 erschien das Buch The Natives of the Northern Territories of the Cold Coast von A. W. Cardinall. Da der Autor von einer einheitlichen Kultur aller Bewohner dieser Territorien ausging, wird nicht immer klar, auf welche Ethnien sich seine Aussagen beziehen. Immerhin erwähnt er die Bulsa mehrere Male, und wir erfahren recht viele interessante Einzelheiten über sie.

Der für unser Gebiet wichtigste und wissenschaftlich wohl zuverlässigste der Kolonialautoren war Captain R. S. Rattray (1881-1938). Im Gegensatz zu den meisten seiner Kollegen hatte er neben seiner administrativen und militärischen Ausbildung auch Ethnologie studiert. In einem zweibändigen Werk The Tribes of the Ashanti Hinterland (1932) beschreibt er ausführlich die

p. 43

politische und soziale Struktur, die Religion und die materielle Kultur fast aller Ethnien des heutigen Nordghana. Den Nankanse (Frafra), einer Nachbarethnie der Bulsa, widmet er etwa 200 Seiten seines Werkes. Über die Bulsa selbst hingegen finden wir gerade einmal fünfeinhalb Seiten Text und eine vergleichende Wortliste, die von dem deutschen Linguisten Dietrich Westermann zusammengestellt wurde. Als Informanten dienten Rattray vor allem zwei Bulsa-Soldaten aus Kanjaga, die in die britische Kolonialarmee eingetreten waren (Abb.3) und von denen einer sogar im Ersten Weltkrieg bei Verdun gegen die Deutschen gekämpft hatte.

Die Ethnologen 

Nach der Unabhängigkeit Ghanas (1957) war die Zeit der Kolonialautoren endgültig vorbei, und bedeutende europäische Ethnologen begannen in stationärer Feldforschung ihre Arbeit bei ausgesuchten Völkern und Kulturen Nordghanas. Erst 1966 traf Rüdiger Schott, Direktor des Instituts für Ethnologie (damals: Seminar für Völkerkunde) der Universität Münster, als erster Ethnologe zu einem halbjährigen Forschungsaufenthalt bei den Bulsa ein (Abb. 4). Zwei weitere Aufenthalte folgten jeweils in Forschungsfreisemestern:

September 1974 bis März 1975 mit dem Forschungsschwerpunkt “Orale Traditionen zur Geschichte der Bulsa” und August 1988 bis März 1989 mit dem Schwerpunkt “Aufnahme von Bulsa-Erzählungen”. Schon in seinem

p. 43

ersten Buch (1970) über die Bulsa zeigen sich zwei Schwerpunkte seiner Forschungen: die Religionsethnologie und die Erzählforschung. Später kamen vor allem Themen aus der Rechtsethnologie hinzu, über die der Autor im Laufe der Jahrzehnte zahlreiche Aufsätze veröffentlichte. Zu den Hauptwerken seiner Forschungen über die Bulsa gehören sicherlich die bisher erschienenen zwei Bände, in denen er einen kleinen Teil der von ihm und seinen ghanaischen und deutschen Mitarbeiter(innen) gesammelten über 1200 Bulsa-Erzählungen veröffentlichte (SCHOTT 1993, 1996a und 1996b).

Ein weiterer Band über erotische Erzählungen der Bulsa ist in Vorbereitung. Schotts Bedeutung für die Bulsa-Forschung liegt sicherlich auch darin, dass er mehrere seiner zahlreichen Schüler für diese Ethnie begeistern konnte. Als erste folgte Ingrid Heermann seinen Spuren und veröffentlichte nach ihren Feldforschungen (1971-1973) ihre Dissertation über “Subsistenz- und Marktwirtschaft [bei den Bulsa]”.

Franz Kröger (Abb. 5), der Autor dieses Beitrags, sammelte 1972-74 bei den Bulsa Material für seine Doktorarbeit zum Thema “Übergangsriten im Wandel” (1978). In zwölf weiteren Feldaufenthalten widmete er sich vor allem den Themen Religion (Ahnenverehrung, Riten, Erdkult, Divination), der Buli- Sprache (Buli-English Dictionary 1992) und der materiellen Kultur der Bulsa (2 Bände, 2001).

Barbara Meier (Abb.6) erforschte in ihren ersten Aufenthalten bei den Bulsa (1988-89 und 1990-91) Frauengemeinschaften, hier vor allem Pflegschaftsverhältnisse, bei denen eine verheiratete Frau eine junge Verwandte zuerst als Haushaltsgehilfin in das Gehöft ihres Mannes kommen lässt, wo sie dann später meistens eine weitere Ehefrau dieses Gatten wird. Später wandte sich Barbara Meier auch anderen Themen zu, z. B. den Migrationen von Bulsa und anderen Bewohnern Nordghanas in die großen südlichen Städte des Landes.

p. 47

Ulrike Blanc (Abb.7) widmete sich bei ihren Feldaufenthalten der 1990er Jahre, in denen sie Material für ihre Magister- und Doktorarbeit sammelte, unter anderem den Liedern und der Musik der Bulsa, wie sie vor allem in den großen Totengedenkfeiern zum Ausdruck kommen (BLANC 1993 und 2000). Neben den Mitgliedern des Instituts für Ethnologie der Universität Münster arbeiteten in guter Kooperation mit den “Münsteranern” auch andere Wissenschaftler im Bulsaland. Piet Konings (1986) untersuchte ein Reisprojekt im südlichen Bulsaland, Jürgen Feldmann verfasste eine Arbeit über den Kulturwandel im Metallhandwerk der Bulsa (1990), die Juristin Ulrike Wanitzek veröffentlichte mehrere Aufsätze rechtsethnologischen Inhalts und die Linguistin Anne Schwarz widmet sich seit Jahren und wiederholten Aufenthalten bei den Bulsa der Erforschung ihrer Sprache. Vergessen darf man auch nicht die zahlreichen, aber leider meistens unveröffentlichten Arbeiten von Bulsa- Autoren, die z. B. in Examensarbeiten oder Zeitschriftenaufsätzen einen Teilbereich ihrer eigenen Kultur erforschten. Exemplarisch für andere sollen hier nur einige erwähnt werden: James Agalic (heute DCE, d. h. etwa “Landrat” des Bulsa-Distriktes), Pauline Akankyalabey und Alfred Agyenta in ihren Examensarbeiten über die Geschichte bzw die Ahnenverehrung der Bulsa. Ghanatta Ayaric, heute Studienrat an einem Hamburger Gymnasium, verfasste seine Erste Staatsarbeit über Typen der oralen Bulsa-Literatur (Anmerkung 2)  (1992) und George Akanligpare, Dozent an der Universität Legon (Accra), veröffentlichte mehrere Aufsätze über die Buli-Sprache.

Die heutige Situation

Der Überblick über moderne ethnologische Feldforschungsarbeiten und Veröffentlichungen mag gezeigt haben, dass ganz überwiegend deutsche Wissenschaftler und innerhalb dieser Gruppe wiederum Ethnologen der Universität Münster sich der Bulsa-Kultur gewidmet haben. Das Institut für Ethnologie könnte mit einem gewissen Stolz auf diese Tatsache blicken, wenn mit dieser Spezialisierung nicht auch große Probleme entstanden wären. Den nichtdeutschen Wissenschaftlern, die der deutschen Sprache nicht mächtig sind, wird der Zugang zu den bisherigen Publikationen erschwert, denn weniger als ein Viertel aller Veröffentlichungen der Deutschen wurde in Englisch abgefasst. Die Folgen dieses Missstandes zeigen sich auf zweifache Weise:

p. 48

Vor allem in unveröffentlichten Manuskripten (z. B. Examensarbeiten) ghanaischer Autoren bleibt die deutschsprachige Literatur über die Bulsa weitgehend unberücksichtigt, ja es scheint oft nicht einmal ihre Existenz bekannt zu sein. So schreibt David Abayorik Akanbangm 2001 in einer Schrift über den religiösen Pluralismus im Bulsa-Distrikt (S. 4): ‘The Builsa has been known to the outside world for quite a long time but very little has been written about its people’. Als einzige Autoren erwähnt er Rattray und Schott. Dabei gehören die Bulsa (vielleicht neben den Tallensi) mit etwa 230 Veröffentlichungen zu den am besten erforschten Ethnien Nordghanas (Anmerkung 3).

Britische und amerikanische Wissenschaftler, denen die Titel aller Veröffentlichungen über die Bulsa wohl bekannt sind, meiden weitgehend Forschungen über diese Ethnie, da ein kritisches Zurückgreifen auf frühere Forschungsergebnisse wohl mit großen sprachlichen Schwierigkeiten verbunden ist.

Für die deutschen Ethnologinnen und Ethnologen und andere Wissenschaftler ergibt sich aus diesen Tatsachen eine zweifache Schlussfolgerung und Verpflichtung: Zum einen sollten sie die zusätzlichen Schwierigkeiten und Mühen, in der englischen Sprache zu publizieren oder Übersetzungen ihrer deutschen Veröffentlichungen zu liefern, nicht scheuen, wenn auch kein wesentlich größerer Absatz ihre Bücher zu erwarten ist. Es ist wohl einsehbar, dass auch die gebildeten Bulsa ein Anrecht darauf haben zu erfahren, was fremde Forscher über sie schreiben. Nur so sind Kritik und Korrekturen der veröffentlichten Ergebnisse und Meinungen möglich. Ferner sollten sich die deutschen Ethnologen verpflichtet fühlen, ihre einmal begonnenen Forschungen bei den Bulsa fortzusetzen und junge Studentinnen und Studenten, aber auch alle interessierten Nichtethnologen und sogar eine breitere Öffentlichkeit für die liebenswerten und gastfreundlichen Bulsa und ihre Kultur zu begeistern. Ein Schritt in diese Richtung soll auch unsere Ausstellung sein.


2  Siehe auch AYARICS Beitrag in diesem Band.

3  Eine fast vollständige Bibliografie der Veröffentlichungen über die Bulsa bis zum Jahre 1991 findet sich in  KRÖGER 1992 (Dictionary). Ergänzungen hierzu bis zur Gegenwart werden in der Internet-Zeitschrift Buluk ( veröffentlicht.


Kröger, Franz: The Exploration of the Bulsa Culture

In: 15 Wives and 8 Ancestors. Life and Faith of the Bulsa in Northern Ghana. (Eds.) M. Grabenheinrich and S. Klocke-Daffa, Münster 2005, p. 29-37.

English Translation (Deeple and F.K.)

p. 39

…The first information about the Bulsa, or more precisely about their language, came from the Scottish missionary John Clarke (1802-1879). In the 1840s, he collected word lists from former West African slaves in Jamaica, Fernando Po (now Bioko) and Cameroon about their home languages. He published his findings in 1848. Although some of his published word lists are difficult to assign to modern ethnic groups today, it is probably certain that the “Tshamba” he studied is Buli, the language of the Bulsa.

p. 41

An even more important work (Polyglotta Africana, 1854) with over 200 word lists of West African languages was written by the German Africa missionary and linguist Sigismund Koelle (1823-1902), who studied the languages of freed slaves in Freetown (Sierra Leone). In his work we also find a list of almost 300 words of the Buli language, which he calls Gúren here. Unlike Clarke, he also published data on the lives of his informants and their homelands. For example, we learn that Adsumano (also called Jacob MacCormack of Freetown) was kidnapped in his home village by slave raiders in Nyasa in southern Bulsaland five years before he met Koelle. Koelle also provides a list of the most important villages of the Guresa (Bulsa) at that time.

The conquerors

Several decades passed before the first Europeans entered what is now Northern Ghana as explorers, missionaries, but above all as conquerors. Although the first European settlements (e.g. Elmina) on the coast of what is now Ghana (then called the Gold Coast) were established as early as the 15th century, the northern regions remained closed to Europeans for a long time. The powerful Ashanti Empire lay like a bar between the coastal settlements and the north. Only after the victory over this empire and its capital Kumasi (end of the 19th century) and after a change in the goals of the European colonial peoples did the hinterland of the Gold Coast become desirable for conquests by the British, French and Germans. In 1901, the British were able to annex the land up to about the 11th parallel north to their Gold Coast colony as the Northern Territories.

Lieutenant F.B. Henderson (from Henderson 1898, p. 40)

We learn little about the Bulsa from the actual conquerors. The British officer Henderson (Fig.1) was probably the first European to enter Bulsaland in 1897. In Bachonsa he met with the notorious slave hunter Babatu for negotiations. We also owe Henderson the first small map with Bulsa villages (Fig.2). Next to Bachongsi [Bachonsa], a place name appears here: Barbatu’s Camp”. It was Kanjaga where the slave raider had taken up quarters for a long time in order to raid other Bulsa villages from there and where he was finally defeated by the French in a bloody battle.

The first map with Bulsa villages, drawn by Lieutenant F.B. Henderson (from Henderson 1898, p. 407)

p. 42

The colonial officials

Again, several decades passed before the first publications about the peoples of the “Northern Territories” and also about the Bulsa appeared. While the European conquerors hardly found time to collect, let alone publish, coherent material on the culture of the subjugated, reports and books by later colonial officials form valuable sources for the study of the native peoples. In the first half of the 20th century, an administrative structure had emerged in Northern Ghana with British officials, responsible for a small district. They had relatively intensive contact with the local population, whether by participating in festivals, negotiating with the “chiefs”, mediating in conflicts or attending court hearings that led to the punishment of criminals or opposition forces. District Commissioners were also required to keep a diary of their activities, and for some years most of these diaries have been made available to a wider reading public through publication (WILLIAMSON 2000).

The first coherent ethnographic accounts of the peoples of northern Ghana come from the circle of colonial officials and officers. Compared to other ethnic groups, however, we learn very little about the Bulsa.

The Frenchman Louis Tauxier, who worked for a long time as an administrative official in the French colony of Upper Volta (today Burkina Faso), published several works on peoples on the border with the neighbouring country of Ghana. In a chapter on the Bulsa, whom he calls Boura, he reports (1912) on their agricultural economy, social structure and religion, among other things.

In 1920, the book The Natives of the Northern Territories of the Cold Coast by A. W. Cardinall was published. Since the author assumed a uniform culture of all inhabitants of these territories, it is not always clear to which ethnic groups his statements refer. At least he mentions the Bulsa several times, and we learn quite a lot of interesting details about them.

The most important and probably scientifically most reliable of the colonial authors for our area was Captain R. S. Rattray (1881-1938). Unlike most of his colleagues, he had studied ethnology in addition to his administrative and military training. In his two-volume work The Tribes of the Ashanti Hinterland (1932), he describes in detail the

p. 43

political and social structure, the religion and the material culture of almost all the ethnic groups of present-day Northern Ghana. He devotes about 200 pages to the Nankanse (Frafra), a neighbouring ethnic group of the Bulsa. On the Bulsa, on the other hand, we find just five and a half pages of text and a comparative word list compiled by the German linguist Dietrich Westermann. Rattray’s main informants were two Bulsa soldiers from Kanjaga who had joined the British colonial army (Fig.3) one of whom had even fought against the Germans in the First World War at Verdun.

The ethnologists

After Ghana’s independence (1957), the time of the colonial authors was finally over, and important European ethnologists began their work in stationary field research among selected peoples and cultures of northern Ghana. It was not until 1966 that Rüdiger Schott, Director of the Institute of Ethnology (then: Seminar für Völkerkunde) at the University of Münster, was the first ethnologist to arrive for a six-month research stay with the Bulsa (Fig. 4). Two further stays followed, each in research semesters:

September 1974 to March 1975 with the research focus “Oral Traditions on Bulsa History” and August 1988 to March 1989 with the focus “Recording Bulsa Narratives”. Already in his

p. 4

first book (1970) on the Bulsa, two focal points of his research become apparent: religious ethnology and narrative research. Later, topics from legal ethnology were added, on which the author published numerous essays over the decades. Among the main works of his research on the Bulsa are certainly the two volumes published so far, in which he published a small part of the more than 1200 Bulsa narratives collected by him and his Ghanaian and German collaborators (SCHOTT 1993, 1996a and 1996b).

A further volume on erotic Bulsa narratives is in preparation. Schott’s importance for Bulsa research certainly also lies in the fact that he was able to inspire several of his numerous students for this ethnic group. Ingrid Heermann was the first to follow in his footsteps and, after her fieldwork (1971-1973), published her dissertation on “Subsistence and Market Economy [among the Bulsa]”.

Franz Kröger (Fig. 5), the author of this article, collected material among the Bulsa in 1972-74 for his doctoral thesis on “Rites of Passage in Transition” (1978). In twelve further field visits he devoted himself mainly to the topics of religion (ancestor veneration, rites, earth cult, divination), the Buli language (Buli-English Dictionary 1992) and the material culture of the Bulsa (2 volumes, 2001).

In her first visits to the Bulsa (1988-89 and 1990-91), Barbara Meier (Fig.6) researched women’s communities, above all foster relationships, in which a married woman first lets a young relative come to her husband’s homestead as a domestic helper, where she later usually becomes another wife of this husband. Later, Barbara Meier also turned to other topics, such as the migrations of Bulsa and other inhabitants of northern Ghana to the country’s large southern cities.

p. 47

Ulrike Blanc (Fig.7), during her field visits in the 1990s, when she collected material for her master’s and doctoral theses, devoted herself, among other things, to the songs and music of the Bulsa, as expressed, above all, in the large funeral celebrations of the dead (BLANC 1993 and 2000). In addition to the members of the Institute of Ethnology of the University of Münster, other scientists also worked in Bulsaland in good cooperation with the “Münsterans”. Piet Konings (1986) investigated a rice project in southern Bulsaland, Jürgen Feldmann wrote a paper on cultural change in the metal craft of the Bulsa (1990), the jurist Ulrike Wanitzek published several articles on legal ethnology, and the linguist Anne Schwarz has devoted herself to researching the language of the Bulsa for years and at repeated visits. Nor should we forget the numerous, but unfortunately mostly unpublished works by Bulsa authors who, for example, researched a part of their own culture in examination papers or journal articles. Only a few of them should be mentioned here as examples for others: James Agalic (now DCE, District Chief Executive of the Bulsa District), Pauline Akankyalabey and Alfred Agyenta in their exam papers on Bulsa history and ancestor worship respectively. Ghanatta Ayaric, now a teacher [Studienrat] at a Hamburg secondary school, wrote his First State Thesis on types of oral Bulsa literature (footnote 2) (1992) and George Akanligpare, a lecturer at the University of Legon (Accra), published several essays on the Buli language.

The situation today

The overview of modern ethnological fieldwork and publications may have shown that it is predominantly German scholars, and within this group again ethnologists from the University of Münster, who have devoted themselves to the Bulsa culture. The Institute of Ethnology could look at this fact with a certain pride if this specialisation had not created major problems, too. Non-German scholars who do not speak German find it difficult to access previous publications, because less than a quarter of all publications by the Germans were written in English. The consequences of this deplorable state of affairs manifest themselves in two ways:

p. 48

Especially in unpublished manuscripts (e.g. exam papers) by Ghanaian authors, the German-language literature on the Bulsa remains largely unconsidered, indeed it often seems that they are not even aware of its existence. For example, David Abayorik Akanbangm writes in a paper (2001) on religious pluralism in the Bulsa district (p. 4): ‘The Builsa has been known to the outside world for quite a long time but very little has been written about its people’. The only authors that he mentions are Rattray and Schott. Yet the Bulsa (perhaps alongside the Tallensi) are, with some 230 publications, one of the best-researched ethnic groups in northern Ghana (footnote 3).

British and American scholars, who are well aware of the titles of all publications on the Bulsa, largely avoid research on this ethnic group, as a critical recourse to earlier research results is probably associated with great linguistic difficulties.

For German ethnologists and other scholars, these facts lead to a twofold conclusion and obligation: On the one hand, they should not shy away from the additional difficulties and efforts to publish in English or to provide translations of their German publications, even if no significantly greater sales of their books can be expected. It is quite understandable that the educated Bulsa have a right to know what foreign researchers write about them. Only in this way are criticism and correction of published results and opinions possible. Furthermore, German ethnologists should feel obliged to continue the research they have started among the Bulsa and to inspire young students, but also all interested non-ethnologists and even a broader public for the amiable and hospitable Bulsa and their culture. Our exhibition should also be a step in this direction.


2 See also AYARIC’s  contribution in this volume.

3 An almost complete bibliography of publications on the Bulsa up to 1991 can be found in KRÖGER 1992 (Dictionary). Additions to this, up to the present, are published in the internet journal Buluk (


Kröger, Franz:  Raids and Refuge: The Bulsa in Babatu’s Slave Wars

In: Research Review, N.S., vol. 24,2, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, 2008, p. 25-38.

Kröger, Franz :

Ethnographic Exploration of Northern Ghana,  Introduction to: Franz Kröger and Barbara Meier: Ghana’s North. Research on Culture, Religion and Politics of Societies in Transition.  2003 pp. 3-10, bibliography: p. 327-337.

Kröger, Franz:

The following articles by F. Kröger were published in the internet journal Buluk – Journal of Bulsa Culture and History. As they can easily be downloaded from the website it can be dispensed with the whole or part of the text reproduction.

— The First Europeans in the Bulsa Area. Buluk 3 (2003):  29-32.

— The First Map of Bulsa Villages. Buluk 4 (2005): p. 23.

— Christian Churches and Communities in the Bulsa District. Buluk 4 (2005): 43-57.

— Islam in Northern Ghana and among the Bulsa. Buluk 4 (2005): 58-61.

— Extracts from Bulsa History: Sandema Chiefs before Azantilow. Buluk 6 (2012): 47-50.

—  Kunkwa, Kategra and Jadema: The Sandemnaab’s Lawsuit. Buluk 6 (2012): 51-58.

— Swearing in of the Bulsa Chiefs in 1973. Buluk 6 (20112): 43-44.

— Bulsa Chiefs and Chiefdoms. Buluk  6 (2012): 64-78.

— Who was this Atuga? Facts and Theories on the Origin of the Bulsa. Buluk  7 (2013): 69-88.

— Colonial Officers and Bulsa Chiefs (with special consideration of elections). Buluk  7 (2013): 89-100.

— Two Early Plays on Bulsa History. Buluk 7 (2013): 106-108.

— Means of Transport in History and Today (Northern Territories, Ghana). Buluk  7 (2013): 109-113.

— Extracts from the Diary of Sir Shenton Thomas, Governor of the Gold Coast – Meyer Fortes in Bulsaland (1934). Buluk 8 (2015): 90-91.

— History of Bulsa Journals. Buluk 8 (2015): 104-106.

— Old Oval Grooves and Cylindrical hollows in granite outcrops. Buluk  9 (2016): 69.


Ollivant (District Commissioner): A Short History of the Buli, Nankani and Kassena Speaking People in the Navrongo Area of the Mamprusi District (1933)













Packham, E.S.: Notes on the development of the Native Authorities in the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast

In:  Journal of African Administration, 1950,  II, 2, 26-30
[text refers also to the administration of the Bulsa area, though the Bulsa are mentioned only once].

p. 27
The Native Authorities and Treasuries, however, have been agents of much change. By the end of March, 1936, Native Authorities had been constituted (under – the Ordinance of 1932) in Mamprusi, Gonja, Wala, Dagomba, Builsa, Tumu, Kassena-Nankanni, Lawra and Nanumba. Shortly afterwards they were constituted also in Krachi, Prang and Yeji. In 1948, the constitution of a Native Authority in Mo completed the extension of the Native Authority system to the whole of the Northern Territories.
There are thus now twelve principal Native Authorities in the Northern Territories (Prang and Yeji having federated in 1948 to form the Brong Confederacy); and all except the recently constituted Mo Native Authority, whose accounts are incorporated for the present with those of Gonja, have Treasuries established.
In addition to the eleven principal Treasuries, there are eighty Subordinate Native Authority Treasuries.
p. 28
It was soon recognized, however, that the revenue provided by the fees was quite inadequate, and that no real progress could be made unless taxation were introduced.
The Native Treasuries Ordinance of 1932, and Regulations made under it 1935, provided for the imposition of an annual levy on all adults resident in each Native Authority area. The levy was first collected in 1936-7, at rates varying in different parts of the Northern Territories from one shilling to three shillings per adult male, and realised £18,500. In 1948-9 it realised £76,677 – slightly more than one quarter of the total Native Authority revenue from all sources (including Government Grants-in-aid) for that year.
In the field of education, too, the Native Authorities play an important part. There are to day 64 Native Authority Schools (out of a total of 77 schools), and these are all controlled by their Native Authorities except in so far as the teaching itself is concerned. The Native Authorities build and maintain the schools, provide meals and clothing for the children and assume responsibility for general discipline.


Parsons, D. St. John: Legends of Northern Ghana.

London 1958

p. 38
Atuga was the son of a Nayire. He quarrelled bitterly with his father, and was banished from the Mamprusi state. With some followers, Atuga wandered towards the west. They were most unhappy, and after several days of travelling Atuga threw down his spear and said, “I am already tired of walking. Am I a Fulani shepherd, that I should walk for ever and ever, and take no rest? I shall stay in this place, and make a farm.”
But his great friend said, “We must still go on, for we are too near Nalerigu, and your father’s arm is long. You know that if you do not go far away he will find you and put you to death.”
Atuga knew that his friend was right, so he went on, knowing that he would never again see his friends and kinsmen in Nalerigu. He passed through Naga and at last he found a good place for a farm. There he settled down and built a house. Atuga worked hard on his farm, and his friends helped him.
Often he went hunting and he met the people already living in that area. They were afraid of him as they knew he was a son of the Nayire so they sent to see if he was a spy. When they heard
p. 39
his reason for leaving home they were no longer frightened, and in time Atuga married the daughter of a man named Abuluk.
One day Atuga decided to name his sons, so he killed a cow and called the boys. When the cow had been skinned and cut up he told each boy to take the piece of the cow he liked best. The son who had the first choice said, “I choose the shin.” In Buili (the Builsa language) the shin is known as “karik”, so after a little thought Atuga said, “Your name shall be Akadem.” The son who had the second choice asked for the thigh which is called “wioh” and he was named Awiak. The third son chose the chest, “sunum”, and was named Asandem, while the fourth son chose the bladder, “sinsanluik”, and Atuga named him Asinia. In this way all the four sons were named. To-day they are usually spoken of as Akadem, Awiak, Asandem and Asinia.
The boys grew into healthy, strong men, and were happy together until Atuga died. Then they found that the farm would not support them and their families, so the sons decided to go away and make new farms.
Akadem stayed on his father’s farm and gave it his name. The town is now known as Kadema.
Awiak founded a village about four miles away, and named it Wiaga. Asandem moved to a site five miles north-east of Wiaga and this became known as Sandema. Asinia settled down about
p. 40
five and a half miles from Sandema and founded Siniensi.
Before Atuga went to the place now known as Kadema there were people already living in that area. They are the Gbedemas, the Yiwasis, the Bachonsas, and the Wiesis, who together form the Builsa tribe.
The Builsas are often called Kanjargas, but this is a mistake. The name arose when a man from the village of Kanjarga enlisted in the Ghana (then called Gold Coast) Regiment. In time he was made a sergeant and given the name of Asoala Kanjarga. Unfortunately the name Kanjarga has been given to the whole tribe.


Perrault, P., Rev. Fr., W.F.: History of the tribes of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast.

Navrongo (St. John Bosco’s Press) 1954

p. 76
h) Builsa
Mamprussi Influence
One of the sons of the chief of Nalerigu displeased his father and was exiled. He went first to Zekko with his followers. From there he went to Kassidema. (This town has now disappeared).
Wurume, started to organize a kingdom for himself around Kassidema. He appointed his “sons” as chiefs of the following towns: Sandema, Kadem, Siniesi, Wiagha, Gwedema and Gwedembisi.
After a time Wurume got tired of Kassidema and moved to Kunkwa (Now considered as a Mamprussi town) where he appointed his son as chief. Wurume then crossed the Volta again and settled in Passankwaire where he died.
p. 78
The people of Gwedemkpeo came from Tongo and Zekko.
There are still some very close relations between the Builsa and Tongo. Most of the important fortune-tellers get their powers from Tongo. When a man who got some “medicine” form Tongo dies the Talensi people come and claim it back.
p. 93
b) Babatu
While Hamani was raiding around Sati, Babatu and his officers were raiding the Nankanse, the Namnam, the Kasena, the Builsa, the Sissala and the Dagaaba.
p. 94
[Babatu] had two or three hundred soldiers armed with Dane guns, some of them on foot and some on horseback (I mean the soldiers not the guns). He had another group of people to drive away the cattle.
He used to send some of his soldiers to attack one village. They would fires a few shots there. When the surrounding villages heard the shots they would run to help their neighbours and while the able men were away Babatu would attack the unprotected villages with his main force.
He used to kill the old people and the children and take the young men and women to sell as slaves or to keep as soldiers and wives.
Babatu and the Builsas
In every village there are tales of the battles against Babatu and his officers but it seems that the Builsas were the only ones to inflict on him a serious defeat.
Babatu had raided many Builsa villages in the south (around 1896). The people were running in front of his army. They finally decided to meat in Sandema. The local people were spread between the market and the Primary School. They had learned that the Dane guns were dangerous but that Babatu’s soldiers were powerless while they were reloading.
The Builsas were lying on the ground
p. 95
and waited until the first shot had been fired. Then they got up, rushed the soldiers of Babatu and killed them with bows and arrows, spears and axes. Within two hours the Builsas were victorious and Babatu was retreating in disorder to Doninga.
He was pursued there and had to cross the Sissili. He reorganized his army and crossed the Sissili to attack Kanjaga.


Rattray, Capt. Robert S.: The Tribes of the Ashanti Hinterland,

2 vol., Oxford (Clarendon Press), 11932, reprint 1969

THE BUILSA, History, Tribal and Clan Organization (p. 398-403)
p. 398
The Builsa are a large tribe, numbering (in 1921) 44,463, which makes them rank as the second largest tribal group inhabiting the Northern Territories. Their country lies to the west of the Nankanse and Talense, south of the Kasena, and east of the Dagaba. They are more generally referred to by Europeans as ‘Kanjaga’. This is, however, only the name of one of the many Builsa towns or clan settlements. The singular of Builsa (which is also sometimes heard, Bulse, Builse) is Bulo (also heard Buluk); the language is called Bulea, and the tribal territory Bulugu. The Builsa are called by the Dagomba ‘Gurinse’ (Anglice Grunshi). This name the Dagomba also apply to the Nankanse, Isala, Kasena, Awuna, Talense, &c. The word Gurinse is said to mean ‘the foolish ones’, ‘the bush men’, &c. ‘When the gun-men – the Ashanti – claimed tribute in slaves from the Dagomba, the latter used to raid these tribes, hence the name.’ Curiously enough, if this is the origin and the correct derivation of the word, the tribes so designated do not seem to resent the unflattering appellation, in some cases actually using the name to describe themselves in preference to any other name, as for example, the Nankanse. The language(Bulea) has been discussed in the early chapters of this volume. The so-called Builsa tribe are, I think, a hotch-potch people created by local migrations and counter-migrations and intermarriages of clans belonging to both the Moshi-speaking group and to the Kasen’-Isal-speaking group. These elements have been roughly welded into a semblance of a tribal unit by coming under the far-flung arm of the Mampruse. ‘Our Chiefs were under Wale-Wale which in turn, was under Naleregu’ (near Gambaga). The principal Builsa settlements are Sandema, Kanjaga, Fimbisi, Yiwase, Wiase, Gwedembibsi, Gwedema, Gyadema, Doniŋa, Sinisi, Kunkoa, Wiaɣa, Kadem’, Bachonse, Vari, Chuchuliga, Gwedemkpeo, Kategera, Kaden (only five or six compounds). Kadem’, Sandema, Sinisi, Gwedema (with its offshoot Gwedembibsi), and Wiaɣa, are all stated to have had a common ancestor who came from Zeko. Gwedemkpeo is said to be composed of people from Tongo and Zeko (Talense and Nankanse). Kunkoa inhabitants are stated to have come p. 399 from Du (near Wale-Wale) and Orogo (Mampruse and Nankanse). Doning are offshoots of Kanjaga and Bachonse. The founder of the settlement of Kanjaga, the town whose name has been given by Europeans to the whole tribe, was according to the tradition given me, of the Kasena tribe. Many of the Builsa go annually to Tɔŋ nab, the famous god of the Talense. ‘When a Bulo dies, the Sia (Talense) people come and claim his sandals and any “medicine” which he had got from the god, and the son of the deceased has to continue to serve Tɔŋ nab. The Tenyono (Ten’dana) of Gwedema and Wiaɣ also visit Tong in connexion with crops and rain.’ The above undoubtedly shows that some connexion formerly existed between these tribes. The present Territorial Chief of Kanjaga is Anyatua, who, according to his own statement is the eighth Chief (as distinct from Tenyono). The Builsa have the same totemic organization which has been found in the tribes already investigated and possess similar blood kindred-groups which trace descent through the female line. The former they cal1 buri pl. bura, the latter suok or ziiyem (blood) (compare Nankane bute, soo, and zeem). For two persons to state they have ‘one eye’ (ni-yina) is synonymous with stating that they have the same blood …
p. 400
…History of Kanjaga as told to me by the descendants of the original founder: ‘The name Kanjaga is derived from two words Akana and jaga or gyaga, to flutter like a tired bird. Akana was a blacksmith (kiok). His grandfather came from Kurugu, near Dakai, in the Haut Volta. He was a Yullo (Kasena). From Kurugu our grandfather moved to Chakani near Po. H used to make iron hoes (koe) in place of the wooden ones which the people then used. From Chakani here and built a compound on the side of the hill now known as Kanjag’ Pen [Pung] (Kanjag’s rock). Our ancestor got his name, Akana, in this manner. People heard him calling his wives in his language, “Akana”, “Akana” (Wife! Wife!). It was a long way over the plains to his compound, and before people reached there they used to be so tired that they were rolling about (gyaga). Hence the name Akangyaga (Kanjaga).
‘Akana bore a son called Akalasie, and many daughters. Akalasie’s eldest son was called Adabura; his other sons were Akabana, Akatoa, Abeler, Anwis, Akanyanna, and Ababiu. These seven sons became the founders of seven sections (kalsa, s. kalkalk, kaluk) or dodok (pl. dina).
‘Akana was one day taking iron stone from the side of the hill, when he heard a voice saying, “Why are you taking this stone?” He could not see anyone and he knew it was a spirit. He ran home like a drunken man and sat down and his son went and consulted a soothsayer (bano, pl. baneba). The soothsayer told him to cook a fowl and take a pot, and after sacrificing the fowl, leave the pot at the spot (footnote 1). Akana promised

(footnote) 1 Every one making an offering to Kanjag Pen must do so. See Fig. 90 which was taken at a ceremony I attended at the shrine.

p. 401
a cow to the spirit if the people should come and settle here. The first strangers to do so were the ancestors of the Konyon (footnote 1) people – a man called Nyala and his three sons, Asami, Asekau, and Azo. Akana therefore killed the cow which he had vowed. He gave a hind leg to Akalasie and a second hind leg between Akabana and the newcomers at Konyon. Akabana said that he would not consent to share with strangers, and he refused to take part of the leg, leaving it all to the Konyon people. Later these Konyon people and the Kanjagas quarrelled, and Akabana refused to help his kinsmen. The Konyon people were eventually driven across the Sisili River. Later, civil war broke out among Akana’s descendants, and the Konyon people returned, and, helped by Finbisi, Gwedema, and Doniŋa, drove Akana’s descendants away to Genisa. It was Apiu of Konyon who fought with Akan’s people. He was eventually killed by the people of Dobezan and was succeeded by Abatwaa who was succeeded by Anwun.
He died of small-pox and was succeeded by Acholo. He died at Navero and was succeeded by Ankanab who was succeeded by the present Chief Anyatua (Territorial Ruler). That is how the Konyon people came to Kanjaga and obtained the Chieftainship.’ Konyon (Chief’s Section) at Kanjaga: A section is called dodok or kalkalk in Bulea, and a head of a section dodok nu’soma (lit. EIder of section). There are six Konyon sections: (1) Nyakpere.
(2) Samse. (3) Kunyinsi. (4) Sikabsi.
(5) Zogsa.
(6) Lovaɣsa. Akan’s descendants have broken up and formed into nine sections. (1) Dabulse. (6) Gininsi.
(2) Belensa. (7) Vundama.
(3) Nwisdem. (8) Pisa.
(4)  Akanyase. (9) Goso.
(5) Lusa.

‘At the beginning of the rains, the heads of these sections go to the nu soma (EIder of Lusa) and ask him to consult Kanjag’ Pen about the sowing.’
Constitution of a Builsa Town: ‘In olden times, the head of the Lusa section was also Tenyono, owner of the land (Ten’dana in Nankane). Next came the section heads, Nu-soma (lit. old men); next the

(footnote) 1 The original Konyon was between Wiaɣa and Kologo, now deserted and bush.
p. 402
Kambonnalama (footnote 1)  who led us in the war; next Sukpa (footnote 2) who was in charge of markets. The Yallo (pl. Yaleba) was in charge of hunting parties in the bush, but had not anything to do with the land (compare the wodana among the Nankanse, etc). The Nanunsa nab (Chief of the horn) was in charge of dances.’

(footnote) 1 The Kambonaba sat on a chair during a battle and exhorted the warriors who went in front….
(footnote) 2 Sukpa, called Dasasa in Nankana…

Rattray, after p. 398


Rodrigues, Raymundo Nina: Os africanos no Brasil
Publisher: Centro Edelstein 2010

p. 152 (Zwernemann p. 147)
LÍNGUA dos negros Gurúnces, G’runcis. Já demos as razões que nos levam a crer sejam Gurúnces ou G’runcis, segundo o capitão Binger, os Negros africanos que foram e são conhecidos na Bahia pela designação de negros Galinhas. Não sabemos se está classificada a língua destes Negros, ou se falam um simples dialeto de algumas das línguas sudanesas já estudadas. O vocabulário que delestornamos poderá servir um dia para resolver estas dúvidas quando estiverem bem conhecidos os negros Guruncis e o seu idioma.

English Translation [Deeple and F.K.]
LANGUAGE of the Gurúnces, G’runcis negroes
We have already given the reasons which make us believe that Gurúnces or G’runcis, according to Captain Binger, are the African Negroes who were and are known in Bahia as the negros Galinhas. We do not know if the language of these Negros is classified or if they speak a simple dialect of some of the Sudanese languages already studied. The vocabulary we have provided here may serve one day to resolve these doubts when the Blacks and their language Guruncis are well known.

p. 154-56: List of terms 122 African languages, including Grunce (Buli)
p. 154
[Note F.K.: In the following list the Portuguese term has been replaced by the English one. The Buli term in modern writing, according to the Buli-English Dictionary, has been added in curly brackets {…} by F.K.]

1 sky uóni {wen, won}
2 earth (ground) tenk (tenka) {teng, def. tengka}
3 sun uobinin {wen-biri, def. wen-bini}
4 moon kika {chiik, def. chiika}
5 star kimarrce {chingmarik}
6 day kantiome {kantueng, hottest time of the day}
7 night ióco {yok}
8 thunder naponica {nanpung}
9 rain umárôco {ngmoruk}
10 wind véo véco {viok}
11 water niámo {nyiam}
12 river moé {mogi, large river}
13 lake belé {beli, river}
14 fire, light bólun {bolim}
15 smoke nuiça {nyuik}
16 ash tuntêan {tuntuem}
17 mountain pun {pung}
18 stone bonitana {buntain, pl. buntana}
19 sand tambùcin {tan-buuluk}
20 man nudó {nidoa, nur}
21 woman nupó {nipok}
22 old man nuzômo {nisom, nisomoa, old man or women}
23 young man bica {biik, child}
24 child bulhóze {biliok, baby}
25 father unkô {ko, my father = nko}
26 mother umá {ma}
27 son nodobli {nidoa-bili, young boy)
28 daughter nupóabli {nipo-bili, girl}
29 brother mabi {ma-biik, child of the same mother}
30 friend undó {doa; ndoa = my friend}


Schott, Rüdiger: Sources for a History of the Bulsa in Northern Ghana

Paideuma 23,1977

p. 141
1. Accounts and traditions
1.1 Written documents and reports
1.1.1 Literature (printed books and articles)
1.1.2 Unpublished materials in archives
1.1.3 Notes written by Bulsa on their history
1.2 Oral traditions
1.2.1 Methods for collecting oral traditions
1.2.2 Modes of transmission of oral traditions
1.2.3 Secret and public oral traditions
1.2.4 Kinds of oral traditions
1.2.5 Themes of oral traditions
1.2.6 Functions of oral traditions
1.2.7 Historical consciousness and motives of interest in oral traditions
1.2.8 Sociopolitical levels of oral traditions
1.2.9 “Structural amnesia” and oral traditions
1.2.10 Oral traditions as historical sources – some results of ethnohistorical research among the Bulsa
2. Remains and relics
2.1 Archaeological remains
2.2 Historical sites and other “fixed” monuments
2.3 Historical artifacts or “movable” relics
Ethnographic facts or conditions as survivals
Appendix: Questionnaire for interviews on oral traditions

p. 145
…The appearance of the British and the French on the scene is also described in the oral accounts, but the Bulsa were not aware that the European powers were competing for spheres of influence in West Africa. In 1966 I received the following account of this episode from Mr. Azantinlow, Paramount Chief of the Bulsa and Sandem-naab (Chief of Sandema, the capital of the Bulsa country):
“It so happened that the ‘B’-Company [?] came from Nigeria and encamped at Gambaga. At that time the French had come to be in the area of Ouagadougou. They all heard that BABATU was in the country; he made the people suffer and captured them and sold them into slavery. And at that time he was between Kalaasa [a section of Kanjaga on both sides of the Sisili river], and Kanjaga [proper]. At that time the French and the English had heard of his doings. The French then came from Leo [a few miles to the north of the present border between Ghana and Upper Volta] and came from Bachonsi, Doninga and Kanjaga [following an old caravan trade route]. At that time the English also heard (of him) and came to Yagaba, and then they helped each other to beat them (BABATU’s people) and they arrived (somewhere) between Wiasi and Yagaba. The English people then cut in from one side, the French cut in from the other side; thus they helped each other to beat them and to drive them away from that place. When the war there had ended, the English people then moved from that place and went to Gambaga. The French people then also left that place and went to Ouagadougou.” (Interview on 26 September 1966, literal translation from Buli text.)
p. 149
The tale of ATUGA introduced the history of the Bulsa in the remote past, as told to me by Mr. Azantinlow, the Sandem-naab:
“Long, long ago our forefathers (lit. our fathers’ fathers) went out from Nalerigu [the capital of the Mamprusi kingdom] and came to settle [here]. Formerly all of us [i.e. we, the Bulsa, and the Mamprusi] lived at one place, but then our fathers and their fathers fought with one another. [The reason why we and the Mamprusi fought with one another was that our forefather’s wife became pregnant and they thought that the woman would give birth to a ‘good’ child [with magic powers], therefore they seized the pregnant woman, killed [her] and tore the child out [of her womb ]. This was the reason why we then fought with one another
p. 150
and shot at one another with arrows. They came to think that the woman would give birth to
a male being or something that was ‘good’.
The woman was ATUGA’s wife. ATUGA came to be a real (good, generous) man; they [the Mamprusi] then wanted to drive him away, but they did not know how they should do this. They then thought that if they killed the woman, they would come to fight with ATUGA and subsequently drive him away.
It was because of this event that we [our forefathers] got up and left them [the Mamprusi] and came to settle at this place here. They left that place [Nalerigu] and came to stay on the Gambaga scarp (lit. rock). When [ATUGA] came to stay there, the king of the Mamprusi once again came to oust him; then he [ATUGA] got up and left the Gambaga scarp and came to this place here. The name of the guuk [ancient house site] [where he settled] was Atuga-pusik. This guuk lies in the middle between Sandema and Wiaga.
At the time when our forefathers and the forefathers of the Mamprusi came to fight with one another, they surrounded ATUGA and all his followers, held them in their midst and they wanted to capture him. He then mounted a horse and it rose upwards, took him and went to land on the Gambaga scarp. The foot-prints of the horse are impressed at that place up to this very day. He had a spear; its mark is also left at that place up to now. The holes [of these imprints] rest still at that place. These things actually exist; people go there to see [them] and they say that our forefather, when their army came to hold him fast and when they wanted to capture him, he came to mount a horse and it rose upwards, held him, went and landed on the scarp (lit. rock). He then stayed on the scarp and assembled all his followers and then went on to the Bulsa country and became a Bulo”.
According to another tradition, ATUGA’s father AKAM carried him on his shoulder to the Bulsa country (thence his name: tug or tugi, v., ‘to put someone on the shoulder’). At that time ATUGA was still a small boy who used to herd his father’s cattle. Because he was very young, he was able to learn Buli quickly. Later he married his wife, a woman of the aboriginal population. The name of AKAM’s father is said to be BANYARE (own information and personal communication by Dr. F. Kröger; his informant was Mr. Awulimba, the present Kanbon-naab of Sandema-Kalijiisa).
p. 151
As an example of a story of how a certain site was gained through conquest I shall quote the one on the origin of Doninga as told to me on 20 January 1967 by Mr. Anaru from the Dorinsa section in Doninga:
ADONING was a hunter. He probably came through the land of the Frafra (to the Northeast of Bulsa country). At first he settled in Kandiga ©. 10 miles east of Navrongo). The Kandiga people speak Nankani, but originally they were Bulsa. He left that place on a hunting trip, riding on a wild bush cow. When ADONING reached the present site of Doninga, he met some people there who were Sisala, and these Sisala were performing sacrifices to a boghluk (a shrine, in this case a tang-gbain). ADONING stood by and heard them say a word which is “sila” which in the language of the Sisala means “get up and get it”. Then ADONING shot the one who
p. 152
performed the sacrifice and killed him. As soon as the Sisala had realized this they ran away. Then ADONING returned to Kandiga and told his children whom he had begotten there, that they should pack up their things and follow him to a beautiful land (teng nalung) he had discovered. – In other versions of this story I gathered in Doninga, the founder was said to have
come from Wiaga or from Kaadema. The motif of the roaming hunter, finding good farm land,
is, of course, widespread in West Africa (cf. Cardinall 1931: 97,232).
p. 155
…In the version rendered by Mr. Azantinlow, the Sandem-naab, the story runs as follows:
ATUGA came to meet [people] at this place here who spoke Buli. ATUGA began to make strong efforts that they should form Buluk which are being called Bulsa [the Bulsa nation]. As a matter of fact, those whom ATUGA met at first on the land – their clan (buuri) have all died (they have all become extinct), none of them still exists, but ATUGA’s descendants are living there nowadays. You know that in those days they used to sell people [into slavery] (so) all of them died (out), none of them still exists. The ones who were living here at first, were Bulsa, but it was ATUGA who came and formed [the] Bulsa [nation]. When ATUGA came here, he came with his relatives (lit. his father’s children, ko-bisa) and all his brothers. Those (people) who followed him and came (here), [still] exist. ATUGA also came to settle at this place here with his wives and they then bore children.
ATUGA’s children are: AKAASA, AWlAGH, ASAM, ASINIE, and he also begot ATAM and ADOGNINA. All of them were from one mother.
And those who lived (lit. were) there, multiplied greatly; they then came to quarrel with one another every day. AKAASA was ATUGA’s eldest son; he then took ATUGA’s wen and went to settle at Kaadema. That [place ] is called Kaadem-guuk: AWIAGH at first also built a house by his father’s guuk, but then he again set out and went to build [his house] at that place which is [now] called Wiaga. ASAM also came to build [his house] here at Sandema. ASINIE then also went and built [his house] at Siniensi. ADOGNING also went and built [his house] at Doninga. ATAM also went and built [his house] in the middle between Kaadema and Wiaga; that [place ] is called Tandem.
p. 157 (continuing text of p. 155)
AWIAGH begot AYUERIK; that [place where he settled] is called Yuesa (Wiasi). ASINIE begot ABACHONG; that [place where he settled] is called Bachongsa (Bachonsi).”
In this version the Sandem-naab tried to relate many Bu1sa villages to one ancestor, ATUGA. This tradition, however, is not undisputed. One informant said that even in Sandema “there are some old people who will have nothing to do with ATUGA. They (say that they) don’t know the story; they are very old people who will give you excellent history, but they will not talk of ATUGA or ASAM, his son.” These informants even hinted at fighting between their own section in Sandema and the Atuga-bisa'”, In Wiaga I interviewed an old man called
Awunchansa from the section of Kom on 7 January, 1967. He comp1ained bitterly about the Atuga-bisa whom he considered as usurpers:
AWIAGH’s father was ATUGA; ATUGA’s father was ANGURIMA. [In their original home-
land among the Mamprusi] there was some misunderstanding and ATUGA and his father were driven away. ATUGA’s father had wronged his father. ATUGA’s father was driven away and he came here, but he had no child. He came here and married a daughter of the people already
living here and had his children (sons). The people ATUGA met were the Kom (Komdem).
They were Bulsa. I speak the language of the Bulsa because they were Bulsa.
Nowadays AWIAGH is known as the founder of Wiaga, but the people of Kom and Chamdem (= Tandem) were here before AWIAGH … The people ATUGA met were the Kom at Komdem [kom dema, people of Kom]. They were Bulsa. Chamdem [cham, shea tree, and dema people] (= Tandem) settled near a shea-tree and that is why they are named after that tree. The person called ABULUK is a son of Chamdem or the people already living there. Chamdem und Kom came from heaven. If they came from anywhere else, I don’t know it. They came down from heaven with their wives and children and after they had some children, there was some inter-marriage between them. AKOMA and ACHAMDEM are the founders (ngaasa) of the Bulsa. AKOMA (or AKOMO) was the leader (kpagi, elder), and when he had children they succeeded him after his death. The people of Sandema say that the [original] Bulsa have ended, but since I am living, I do not think that this generation (= ‘lineage’, ‘clan’, buuri) has ended. The early generation of AWIAGH confiscated the land from the people of Kom and Chamdem who were the original inhabitants of Wiaga.”

p. 162
Remains and relics (‘Überreste’)

Some of them play a great role in the historical tradition of the Bulsa, as e.g. ATUGA’s grave. This, however, was shown to me at two different spots, viz. one near Atuga-pusik , and another one near Kaadema to which ATUGA’s eldest son is said to have migrated.

p. 165
…[I] was told in Gbedem in December 1966:
The first person to be enstooled as the traditional chief in Gbedem was ATONG. ATONG went to Tongo (in Tale-land) and brought some fetish (boghluk) and everyone in the village used to go to him to ask for the blessing of the fetish and everyone recognized him as a chief. Also everyone went to him for protection. ATONG liked his people and there was much hunger in the village, yet when his fetish was brought, the people received big yields from their crops. Any time there was no rain, the people went to him and asked for rain and he did what was required from him by the people. He liked the people, so that he asked the god to bless his people and to multiply them.
…The other villages in Bulsa country are quite different from the family of ATUGA and its descendants. The families of ATUGA and the family of AGBERO (founder of Gbedem) are not related at all, because the family of AGBERO take (eat) the monkey (waung), whereas ATUGA’s family do not eat monkeys. Yet there was intermarriage between Gbedem and Sandema before the time of AFOKO (Chief of Sandema).”


Williamson, Thora: Chronicles of Political Officers in West Africa, 1900-1919,

edited by Anthony Kirk-Greene, The Radcliffe Press: London – New York (2000).

H.M. Berkeley, Ag. PC, TW p. 311
27 January 1914
Chief of Sandema interviewed about the 25 recruits wanted for the constabulary. He is told to produce two from each of his ten towns.

Captain T.C. Wheeler, TW p. 313
16 July 1914
Dr. Beal left the station for Churchiliga. From there he will continue his tour throughout Kanjarga country to investigate the anthrax. A constable of this detachment accompanies him as a forerunner to assemble cattle owners with their herds; for the veterinary officer to inspect the cattle and instruct the owners.

A.L. Castellain, DC, TW p. 315
1 April 1916
The son of the chief of Kanjarga came in to report that one of his people has boxed his wife’s ears and that the woman had not been able to eat for three days. I sent out a constable at once to bring in both the lady and her husband. When they arrived, the lady was taken to the MO who reported her jaw was dislocated on both sides and he immediately put it back in its proper place, much to the delight of the lady and surprise of others standing by. The woman denies that her husband struck her, and the MO says it could not have happened from a box on the ears. The woman says she fell, but there is no mark on her, but as she is quite all right now. I dis- charged the husband.

A.L. Castellain, DC, TW p. 316
4 April 1916
Left Sandema for Churchiliga. The old chief and his followers came out to meet me, but on account of his old age, told him that in future he could meet me at the foot of the hill leading to the rest house.

Captain S. D. Nash, DC, 1917, TW p. 317
1 April 1917
Left Gawa this morning and visited Yaga and Vaga. Addressed a crowd there on the subject of recruiting. The people are told that the carrying of bows and arrows when not hunting is looked upon as quite unnecessary and must cease. Visited Zoko and arranged about the renewal of the rest house. Arrived Kanjarga 10.30 a.m. and in the afternoon the people are spoken to as above. As only the chief’s section of Kanjarga were present in any numbers at this palaver the people of the other two sections were told to salute me at Navarro in proper numbers. Fear of being seized as recruits is given as the reason for the absence of the young men of these two sections. The people are told we don’t seize boys for soldiers.

Captain S. D. Nash, DC, 1917, TW p. 319
15 September 1917
A case comes in from Doninga re supposed refusal to accept nickel coinage. Other subsidiary matters are invariably mixed up in these cases, such as the price offered. I don’t think that nickel coinage is refused, but undoubtedly people get food cheaper by the cowry exchange. Sergeant Dulugu Moshi arrives to inspect the carbines of the detachment. I superintend the maxim gun team at drill. I had lunch at the mission. Monsieur Remond had sent in some excellent wine for the occasion.

A.W. Cardinall, DC, TW p. 322
11 November 1919
A long morning in court, settling or endeavouring to settle domestic differences. Is begin to believe that, in this small Kassina part, polyandry once existed. In no other way can I account for the excessive immorality, which obtains to nowhere like such an extent in the Fra Fra and Kanjarga parts. Often, a woman will promptly assert that a man is her seventh or even twelfth husband and, very frequently, when one asks why she moves from man to man, she will say ‘such is our woman’s fashion, we have always done so’ – nor do the men resent this in the least.
An extraordinary state of things seems to exist north of the frontier.
I cannot yet make out what is happening. To begin with, the French have disarmed the people. That was nothing, merely a fatherly piece of legislation, but now, having done that, they are preventing the annual emigration into British territory. Very few are passing. I have stopped parties and asked what was the matter, but all I can learn is that no one is allowed south, that the French are again taking the young men as soldiers and others are being retained for work on a large house at Wagadugu. This latter cannot require thousands of men; the former is incomprehensible, Those whom I stopped told me they had paid the French soldiers before crossing…


Zwernemann, Jürgen: Ein “Gurunsi”-Vokabular aus Bahia – Ein Beitrag zur Afro-Amerikanistsik.

Tribus N3 17 (1968): 147-156.

[Note F.K. For the citation of the Grunce [Buli] word list, the internet publication by Rodrigues was used here, which, however, only takes into account 122 Buli termini, while 172 termini appear in Zwernemann’s paper. He probably used an older edition of Rodrigues, whose page numbers do not correspond to the internet edition].

p. 147
In seinem Werk “Os Africanos no Brasil” (S. 217-221) veröffentlichte Nina Rodrigues einige Wortlisten, die vom Verfasser vermutlich gegen Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts gesammelt wurden1.
(Fußnote 1) Nina Rodgues verstarb 1906…

p. 155
Zum Vergleich stehen uns insgesamt 166 Wörter aus der Liste von Rodrigues zur Verfügung), davon sind 22 Wörter abzuziehen, die in den herangezogenen Vokabularen von Koelle, Westermann und Rattray nicht verzeichnet sind. Vier Wörter fallen aus, weil sie Lebewesen oder Dinge bezeichnen, von denen es mehrere Arten gibt (Affe, Maus, Spiel, Hemd) und vergleichbare Wörter nicht gefunden wurden. Ein Wort (Nr. 92) fällt als offensichtliches Fremdwort aus, desgleichen eine identische Form (Nr. 167).
Ein anderes Wort ist in verschiedenen Formen dreimal aufgeführt (Nr. 138-140), ein weiteres zweimal (Nr. 162, 164). In beiden Fällen ist also nur jeweils ein Wort zu rechnen. Tatsächlich sind somit 135 Wörter für den Vergleich geeignet. Davon sind 79 Wörter – d. h. 58,5% – einwandfrei als Bulea zu identifizieren. 37 weitere Wörter – oder 27,4% – sind mit größter Wahrscheinlichkeit ebenfalls dem Bulea zuzurechnen. Bei diesen als wahrscheinlich bezeichneten Fällen sind unter anderem 12 Verben verzeichnet, deren Wurzeln mit entsprechenden Vergleichsformen identisch sind. Wenn wir die einwandfrei sowie die mit größter Wahrscheinlichkeit identifizierten Wörter zusammenfassen, so beträgt der Anteil des identifizierten Vokabulars 85,9%. Damit ist ausreichend bewiesen, dass das “Gurunsi”- Vokabular von Nina Rodrigues Bulea ist. Ein weiterer Beweis ist das Vorhandensein des Wortes bólun = bolam, bolóm oder bolem “Feuer” (Nr. 14), das, wie O. Köhler (1964:68) vor wenigen Jahren herausstellte, ein charakteristisches Bulea-Wort ist und in den benachbarten Sprachen der Mosi- und Gurunsi-Gruppe nicht auftritt.
Abschließend können wir feststellen, dass die von Rodrigues erwähnten “Gurunsi” Builsa waren, d. h., dass sie oder ihre Vorfahren aus dem Norden des heutigen Ghana stammten. Wie eingangs aufgezeigt wurde, ist der Terminus “Gurunsi” auf sie nur cum grano salis als Ethnonyrn anwendbar. Zur Bezeichnung der Sprache ist dieser Terminus strikt abzulehnen, da das Bulea nicht zur Gurunsi-Gruppe gehört.

18Acht weitere in der portugiesischen Liste geführten Wörter fehlen im “Gurunsi” Vokabular.

English translation F.K. p. 155ff

Translation into English
In his work “Os Africanos no Brasil” (pp. 217-221), Nina Rodrigues published some word lists that were probably collected by the author towards the end of the 19th century (footnote 1).
(footnote) 1 Nina Rodgues died in 1906…

p. 155 For comparison, we have a total of 166 words from Rodrigues’ list (footnote 18), from which we must subtract 22 words that are not listed in the Koelle, Westermann and Rattray vocabularies. Four words drop out, because they designate living beings or things of which there are several species (monkey, mouse, game, shirt), and comparable words were not found. One word (no. 92) drops out as an obvious foreign word, as does an identical form (no. 167).
Another word is listed three times in different forms (nos. 138-140), another twice (no. 162, 164). In both cases, therefore, only one word is to be counted. In fact, 135 words are thus suitable for comparison. Of these 79 words – i.e. 58.5% – can be identified unambiguously as Bulea. 37 further words – or 27.4% – are also most likely to be attributed to Bulea. In these cases, which are described as probable, there are among others 12 verbs whose roots are identical with the corresponding comparative forms. If we combine the words that have been identified unambiguously and those that have been identified with the highest probability, the proportion of identified vocabulary is 85.9%. This sufficiently proves that the “Gurunsi” vocabulary of Nina Rodrigues is Bulea. Further proof is the presence of the word bólun = bolam, bolóm or bolem “fire” (n. 14), which, as O. Köhler (1964:68) pointed out a few years ago, is a characteristic Bulea word and does not occur in the neighbouring languages of the Mosi and Gurunsi groups.
In conclusion, we can state that the “Gurunsi” mentioned by Rodrigues were Builsa, i.e. that they or their ancestors came from the north of what is now Ghana. As was shown at the beginning, the term “Gurunsi” can only be applied to them cum grano salis as an ethnicity. This term is to be strictly rejected, since the Bulea does not belong to the Gurunsi group.

(footnote) 18 Eight other words in the Portuguese list are missing from the “Gurunsi” vocabulary.


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