The Origin of Some Ga Words

Komi – Kenkey – Otim

The original Ga word for Kenkey is and was Otim. The Adangme still referr to it by this name. There are two schools of thought for ths history behind the word ‘Komi. One says that Before Gordon Guggisberg became Governor of the Gold Coast, the grain (corn) used to make Otim was ground between stones (stonemill). It was Guggisburg who introduced the use of the corn mill. So we the Ga-Dangbe’s started making kenkey from corn grounded not with stone mill but by the new machine (corn mill) People had difficulty with the new machine. So if you were asked by your parents to go buy kenkey, they will ascertain from you whether the kenkey you went to buy was made from the stone mill or from the machine (corn mill). So the name corn mill became associated with kenkey and thus corn mill, corn mill, corn mill became adulterated and thus kenkey transformed from otim to “komi”

The second school of thought says that Komi is a corruption to the european word given to kenkey ‘corn meal’.
To this day we still refer to the grinding machine as ‘Gurggi’ and of course you can understand why the ‘juice’ from the Kenkey is called “Otimshinu”
Ayigbe – Ewe
legend has it that it was a Ga Mantse named Ayi, who got fed up with the many feuds  surrounding his enstoolment and decided to leave Ga for a while. Thus, he left and sought hospitality among the Ewes, specifically in Aneho in Togo. Years passed and the Ga having realised the folly of their cause in relation to Mantse Ayi sent a delegation to ask him back, seemingly to smoke the peace pipe and reinstate him to his rightful status. Mantse Ayi and his people granted them an audience and after deliberating on the matter as is the wont in such matters assemblied the envoys for his response to the objective of their mission. The message was loud and clear; Mantse Ayi said, ”…Ayi mi gbe…”. ln Ewe, this meant Ayi was saying that he was not going back, back to Ayawaso, Ga, that is. Ayi had every cause not to go since he had the Ga Stool with him and sees no reason why he should not play hard-to-get. To this day, in the year 2013,  the original Ivory Stool of the Ga is still in the town of Klidze in Togo, in the possession of Mantse Ayi’s descendants. You will also find the names Ayeley, ayi and aya there. Till this day the relationship between the two is excellent and at any one time there is a representative of them at Sakumo Tsoshishi aiding in our joint religious rights. Also, it must be noted that some of Mantse Ayi’s people did come back to Ga by way of the  Aneho clans of La, Osu and Atukpai and with them came the powerful war deity of Okumaga who was pivotal in the Katamanso War.

Abiasuma Title

King Taki Tawiah I was a great King, during his reign the Gas lived peacefully without disturbances. He lived like an 112 years and reigned for long. When he would lie on his bed people would sometimes think he was dead and then they will ask whether his still there and the news will be that he was still alive and the Gas began to call him Abia-nsuma which means a cup full of water in other words he is full of life and that is how come the started calling the Ga Kings Abiasuma praise title.


The Gadangmes fought with guns,clubs and swords.This is how come the Ga Slogan tsooboi was dervied which means “crying clubs or clattering  clubs”



This is a Homowo celebration unique to the Homowo people. The community all converge at the central street in la (near the market) and hug each other. It is believed that if you’ve being at loggerheads with anyone, this is an avenue to hug them and say; ‘we are no more at loggerheads’ we let go our difference and ready to face the new year as one people. The significance is that you don’t even need to know who you hug. It is a very exciting moment and age, gender, clan are all regardless. you are free to hug anyone you meet and it is accepted.

By Naa Adjeley Tsofanye