Oyibi is geographically located between the proverbial Katamansu and the Greater Accra regional house of chiefs at the base of the Akwapim hills which is also next to the historic Dodowa forest.
The town produces the “Holy corn” meant for the celebration of Nungua Kplejoo which begins the entire Homowor festivities within the Ga-Dangme communities.Oyibi again ends the festivities with annual Yeleyeli and this year,Nii Borlabi Kukubi Okanshan VI,Oyibi Mantse celebrated the yam festival in a special way because of the Covid 19 directives.
Oyibi festival is an expressive way to celebrate glorious heritage, culture and traditions.
The festival is meant to rejoice special moments and emotions in our lives with our loved ones. It plays an important role to add structure to our social lives, and connect us with our families and backgrounds.
The Oyibi festival gives us a distraction from our day to day, exhausting routine of life, and give us some inspiration to remember the important things and moments in life. The Oyibi Festival was started to acknowledge the passed legends or ancestors and transfer traditions onto the next generation.
The occassion itself is a yam annual festival celebrated in September and its rooted in Nungua,Nii Borlabi Dzenge black stool celebration.The festivities serve the purpose of bringing happiness to our lives, and strengthen our sense of community development.
The Oyibi Yeleyeli connects us as a people of an ethnic group or natives to important moments of Oyibi history such as,the establishment of Oyibi and key events that took place to remain fresh in the minds of older and younger generations and this solidifies patriotic spirits in the society.
Nii Borlabi Kukubi Okanshan VI,the Oyibi Mantse as usual joined his lineage this year to go through the traditional rites to fulfill the costomary obligations of Oyibi mantse before each annual Oyibi festival in the Nungua Mankralo black stool house.
The “sein Yeleyeli”,or the Nungua Mankralo Black Stool festival” marks the begining of Oyibi yeleyeli.
The Mankralo Dzasetse,Dzenge We Dzasetse and all the seven (7) King makers of Dzenge We of which the Oyibi Mantse is part and plays dual role as a principal king maker,which also involves the Dzenge We Council of elders and the Nungua Mankralo himself perform the said rites.
The seven (7) King makers are the Fully Blooded representatives of each of the seven (7) wives married to Nii Borlabi Dzenge,the founder of Dzenge We,and headed by the Nungua Mankralo to complete the rites of the part of the festival in Nungua.
This is done before the Oyibi festival,the Oyibi mantse is then “empowered” by the Mankralo to go and celebrate the Oyibi festival.
The Mankralo then follows from Nungua by customary arrangements to Oyibi.
As tradition demands, the Mankralo then paves way to the Oyibi mantse also known as the Ashieley Wulomo who performs the Ashieley rites at the dawn of the Friday of which the festival itself is celebrated.
The Dzenge We King makers and Council of elders assist in all special roles both physically and spiritually to make the Oyibi festival rites a success.
The Oyibi stool which is minor to the Superior one in Nungua is purified and was carried to the durbar grounds.Only Dzenge We fully BLOODED descendants are allowed to touch it or the one carrying it.Clouded in a white cloth is then restored into the stool room in Oyibi.At the durba grounds, celebration with the Ewe drum set which is the “Atsiagbekor” or the “Gbekor dance” is a thing of beauty which brings to light,the cordial relationship between the Nii Borlabi Dzenge descendants and the Ewe people.The Oyibi festival is important to families. To keep this simple we can all agree that festivals help us to teach principles and ethics to our next generations.
All different religious festivals bring the same message of love, tolerance and understanding. On these occasions we express our gratitude to God, for the special thing or event that originated on this particular festival.The Oyibi festival reflects attitude of people towards nature because the day is mostly enjoyed with showers of rain. The festival is important because it is related to food supply. Human beings should adore nature and acknowledge its benefits before partaking any of its gifts.
Overall in simple terms, universally all festivals are related to harmony, peace and happiness.
Nothing brings people together like festivals do.
They play a pivotal role in nation-building; bringing people from every religious, economic and social background together,love environment of cultural harmony. When time of festival comes, the aura changes, positively all around. People get directed towards faith, good hope, joy and celebration.
People visit each other and greet, exchange sweets.
Besides being fun, music at the background,well-managed festivals and events offer a host of economic and social benefits to communities. Boosting the economy, by definition, festivals attract visitors.
Festivals also provide free marketing and advertising for local businesses as visitors talk about their experiences when they go home.
Story By: Samuel Alabi Tetteh