Native Customs Ordinance of 1892.

During Colonisation, The Government of the time would find ways to control the people – most of the time in the interest of trade or to enable the spreading of the gospel.


Often laws would be passed that would change certain traditions or ways of living to make life more favourable for European interests. In the 1800s there were a number of issues that disturbed the then Colonial government. They were namely:

  • The missionaries misunderstood the Dipo ritual. They saw it as a fetish custom where the girls were dedicated to a God- Nana Kloweki. They also did not approve of the Dipo attire. Many of the girls under the missionaries training would also leave for years to do the Dipo, therby hampering the efforts of the missionaries
  • It was illegal to bury ones dead in the ancestral homes – burial had to take place in the cemetery. However the Krobo people continued to bury their dead in the ancestral homes in the mountains. Being in the mountains made it hard for British to enforce and ensure that all regulations were adhered to
  • The Power of the Djemli was hard to compete with, the Krobo people listened more to them than they did the Colonial Government and their policies. As a result it was hard to control the Krobo people and bring them to their way of thinking, which was even harder to do from a Mountain settlement which the colonial officials rarely visited and saw as the Fetish mountain.
  • The war cults Nadu and Kotoklo required an initiate to find a trophy before being accepted into the cult. This trophy was often a human skull. This lead to an increase in killings on the mountain and surrounding areas.



With all this going on not only did it make it almost impossible to convert the attached Krobo people to the Christian way of life, but the view of the mountain and the cults made people scared to pass through that region – therefore impacting trade. So in 1892 Governor Griffiths found an opportune moment to take action. After the death of Nene Sakite on the 28th of January 1892 Governor Griffiths put out the Native Customs Ordinance of 1892 which did the following:

  • Forcibly removed the Krobo from the Mountains. They had three days after which the British Hired Hausa soldiers to go up the mountain and destroy what was left. Which even included old trees that they felt was part of Krobo rituals.
  • The Ban of the Dipo ceremony
  • Ban of the Nadu and Kotoklo War cults


This ordinance was published and proclaimed at the enstoolment of the ‘First Christian King of Manya Krobo” Konor Emmanuel Mate.


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By Naa Adjeley Tsofanye