Ancestors in GaDangme Thought

The GaDangme people believe in reincarnation. Once a person physically dies in this world his soul (provided all the burial rites have been performed) will go to another world. The Gas call it Gbohiadzen and the Krobos for example call it Huanim.

These spirits will remain in Gbohiadzen/Huanim living their life until they are reincarnated back into the world. During their time in Gbohiadzen/Huanim they are still able to keep in contact with the living and as the ancestors are now closer to God, they are now able to:

  • Act as middlemen between God and the living negotiating on behalf of the family.
  • Protect the Family from other evil spirits
  • Have access to more knowledge and so are better able to guide those in the living world

They are then able to communicate with us through various mediums such as dreams. The living recognise this capability and therefore constantly acknowledge their existence and connection. When a Ga man drinks he will usually pour part of his drink on the floor three times acknowledging his ancestors presence. During Libations they acknowledge and honour them. During specific ceremonies food and drink is left out for them. Previous researchers took these actions as a form of worship – believing that the GaDangmes saw ancestors to be Gods in the European sense – this is however not the case. These actions are the GaDangme way of acknowledging the existence of the Ancestors, maintaining the connection between them and asking the ancestors to negotiate on our behalf from the spirit realm – supporting the Jemawoji.

By Naa Adjeley Tsofanye