The Krobo people are grouped as part of Ga-Dangme ethnolinguistic group and they are also the largest group of the seven Dangbe ethnic groups of Southeastern Ghana. They are farming people who occupy Accra Plains, Akuapim Mountains and the Afram Basin. The historical origins of Krobo people to their present habitation is a subject of great academic and oral debate in Ghana. While Jackson, backed by oral tradition, state that the Krobo migrated from somewhere in Eastern Nigeria, the other documented sources (notably Enock Azu, Reindorf, Huber, Field, Kropp Dakubu, Wilson and S. S. Odonkor) point mainly to Sameh in Dahomey (Benin) as the probable source of origin of the Krobo together with other proto-Dangmes. Others point out the origin of the Krobo as Sameh in Western Nigeria, southwest of the River Ogun.
The Krobo under the leadership of Madza and Aklo Muase settled in a newly discovered plateau with steep sides and a few entry points, (The Krobo Mountain). On this mountain they lived for more than four hundred years. Once there, additional Dangme and even alien races escaping from tribal wars like the Akan as well as some Ewe groups were ritually admitted between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries.
The exact date on which the krobos divided themselves into Yilo and Manya krobo is still uncertain. According to one account, the Krobo remained a more or less united nation until 1858. It opined that, in 1858 Ologo Patu, the Chief of South Western Krobo led a rebellion against the Government. This owed its origin partly to the strong objection the people of the eastern districts had against the paying of poll tax, and partly to a quarrel with Odonkor Azu, the Chief of Eastern Krobo, whom Patu attacked. (In earlier years the Manya Krobo were known to Government as the Eastern Krobo, whilst the Yilo were known as the Western Krobo). From that date to this day, the Krobo have been administered as two separate States, named today as Manya and Yilo Krobo. Ologo Patu, or his predecessor that is theYilo, were said to have arrived on the Krobo Hill a very long time after the main body. He and his followers were said to have come from Denkyera probably after the collapse of that ancient Kingdom in the latter part of 17th century. Whether they were then of true Denkyera blood (ie Akan)and later adopted the customs of the Krobo, notably circumcision, and became absorbed into the main Krobo ethnic group as held by the Manyas, or whether they were remnants of the original migrants who had lost their way coming from Nigeria.
The two Krobo traditional areas were originally known as ‘Nɔwe’ that is Mănyă meaning “ones home” and Nyέwe (Yilɔ).
The name Manya came from the word, Maonya‘ that is, “keep your mouth shut‘. This goes with the saying “nɔ bi nya me tee‘- literally meaning, “one does not need to talk about everything one sees‘. Yilo on the other hand comes from the expression “wa yilɔ‘, meaning “we don‘t eat that‘. Some oral traditions have it that, when the Yilo returned from Krobo Denkyera, they lost most of the indigenous Krobo customs. As a result of that, they were taken through series of aculturalisation rites to make them accepted into the society. This process involved orientation for meals that the Krobo tabooed. The Yilo continued to verify the acceptability of various foods they learnt to eat while they were with the Akan, the resident Krobo started calling them the derogatory term, “Wa yilɔ,‘- we told you ‗we don‘t eat this‘.
approval that the girls have passed the training process and were ready for marriage. Some of the girls may have been betrothed before going through the rite. Their suitors were therefore expected to contribute to the performance of the rite for the girls. They also carried the girls from the shrine after the ultimate test of sitting on the sacred stone as a means of warding off other interested men. This also signified that they would one day carry the girl to their bed. The girls had their bodies exposed during the rite as a form of marketing – to show the members (especially men) of the community that the girls were beautiful and ripe for marriage and therefore attract potential suitors. They were taken to the market place to dance also as a form of exposure to the outside world. It was common in those days, for girls to be married soon after Dipo was performed for them. As evidence of initiation, marks were made on the back of the palms and wrists.
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