Dear Nii Kpakpo,
So I hear the Commander in Chief and Head Apex of The Sakora Trio (the others are his vice and the speaker) as part of his campaign promise to deal with the thievery in the state coffers has set up a particular office with a gargantuan monolith to head it and this dude don’t fear whoo..
Kwპპ! The opposition made plenty noise but finally his day of vetting came to pass. It was during this vetting that one of the slanted hat wearing folk, the leading mouthpiece of the opposition asks if he wanted to solve issues the builsa way.
Come and see the thick forehead vein of our monolith appointee throbbing like lizard just fallen off tree gidigidi (you know that’s not the reference I had in mind especially since Valentine Day was yesterday 😂) and answered in his usual brash manner. Also our Ghana people made issues out of it because they have the notion that anything coming from or referring to the north is violent.
Well Kpakpo was reading my usual whatsapp messages and came across this article of someone who stayed amongst the Builsa and explains what it means to solve matters that way. Read on.
SOLVING AN ISSUE THE BUILSA WAY
In 2011 when registering for my national service, as mandated by the scheme registrants were suppose to choose three regions. I then chose Upper East, Upper West and Northern Region. Luckily for me I had Upper East Region specifically Sandema the capital and the Paramountcy of the Builsaland.
Just because I wanted to explore the north. My family was then worried because of the unstable nature of the region during 2011/2012 Bawku issues but I still insisted to go because even my village Alavanyo Kpeme was not cool either.
The first day I arrived, I was invited by my Assistant headmaster to enjoy some Builsa Pito in Wiaga a village near by as customs demand and to thank me for accepting the posting to his district. At the bar I overhead my Asst. Headmaster calling an oldman passing by his “slave”. So I quickly asked him if slave trade still exist at the North? He laughed and replied it is an ethnic joke among the northern communities.
From that day I’ve been a witness to several of that which if you are new you may think those involved were fighting.
Among them is solving an issue the builsa way which very common expression in the region which personally I have used several times during my stay in the Builsaland.
Historically and Traditionally, Builsa people don’t engage the services of herdsmen. They tend to their own cattle. During the dry season, they allow their cattle and other livestock to go free range, since there were no crops to destroy.
But this is not so during the rainy season. At this time the Builsa people make their maize, millet and groundnut farms within 10 to 200 metres from their homes. At this time, you dare not allow your cattle to go free range.
What used to be the practice in the olden days was that a particular child or two in the family were mostly responsible for grazing the family cattle several miles from home. Generally, these boys and girls would spend several hours on the savanna grasslands, far away from home, tending to the family’s livestock while their parents worked on the farms close to the home.
These “cowboys” were known to be very strong and tough because they spent most of their lives tending to cattle in the hilly, savanna plains and often encountered numerous dangers. If any disagreement arose among the stick wielding cowboys, the usual means of settling their difference was to drop all weapons and engage in one on one combat.
The sort of wrestling the Akans call “ntam.” Only that the Builsa version comes with an interesting but potentially “dangerous” twist; the combatants used their heads in this combat. Head – to – head bumps.
With time, the practice found its way into various Builsa communities which became one of their traditional games, wrestling.
Solving matters through one – on – one combat so that afterwards the defeated party wouldn’t complained of been cheated.
Now there certainly must be a detailed explanation as to how the saying became a common one among the educated class in Northern Ghana but I was told it was used for the first time in one of the secondary schools, probably Navasco, and gained popularity with time.
Among the educated class, to settle an issue “The Builsa way” means to settle it through a fist fight satisfactorily without hurting each other been hurt.
Builsa people are very lovely, generous and people loving people but wouldn’t allow you to take them for a ride. They are mostly physically strong and always make victory their hallmark.
One thing I love about them is their respect for elders and tradition.
I’ve really missed their staple food Tz and bitter soup as well as their local drink frofro and almighty pito.
…By Efo Worlanyo TSEKPO
Former Upper East Regional President, NASPA
Nii Kpakpo Thompson so there you have it. I’ve always insisted that you tell our people down there that we don’t walk around in a war zone up here but it is a peaceful society and we need to understand the cultural values whilst we try to bridge the gap between the north and south.
It’s people like us and Efo with have been up here whom need to spread the stories of the savanna to create that awareness.
Until I write to you again, I still remain
Your Cousin in Law,