Tracing the origin of the Ewe people, they are initially called the Adjas, then Adja-ewe and today, the Ewe. The Adja people come from the kingdom of Ifè in Nigeria passing by Kétu and settled in Tado in Togo. Since then, the city of Notsè will emerge and the Ewés people are born.
Notsè had become a city in which the political, economic and cultural administration was led by the King called Mawufia (‘King of Mawu’ or ‘God’). Hostilities began for this people since the arrival of King Agokoli successor, his son. He was an authoritarian king who spread terror among his subjects. He even built fortifications around Notsè thus preventing his people from leaving the kingdom to establish his power and his reign. To escape this cruel and tyrannical monarch, his subjects would have decided to go into exile. Thus the Ewe migrated to the east, west and south. In their exodus, they had been stopped by the Mono River in the east and the Volta River in the west. Also, for fear of being again under the oppression of any power, these migrants organized themselves in several politically independent communities called “Duko”, the most important of which are the Anlo in the south-west, the Péki in the north-west, the Agu, Agolé, Danyi and Kpélé in the centre, the Bè in the south and the Watchi in the south-east.
Language and Culture
Language: The language spoken by the Ewe is Ewe. A language with many variances and multiple fusions, spoken by more than 3,000,000 people around the world. The Ewe live in several “duko” communities in the south, unequally spread. The Anlos dialect is not the same as the dialect of the Watchi and so on. But what is noteworthy is that despite these different ways of expressing themselves, these communities understand each other and can talk to each other.
Culture: The Ewes share the same customs and beliefs. They have the same cultural heritage and practice the same religion that is the Vodun. Each community organizes its annual traditional festival, which tells its story, which is mainly related to their great exodus. Also, the Ewés have a big annual traditional festival that brings together all the communities called Agbogbozan.
The Ewe produce their own fabric called Kenté. Traditionally they dress in a large loincloth in Kenté wrapped around the body, including a pan on one shoulder. They wear at the bottom of the loincloth either pants or shorts arriving at the knee. As accessories, on the head they wear hats sewn in Kente or in another fabric. They wear sandals for men or traditional leather mules. They put on the neck and wrist traditional pearls dotted with gold beads.
Weaving of Kente
Young Woman Ewe in Kente
Young Woman Ewe in Kente
The style of dress on traditional occasions. The King of the Ewes on the far right
When it comes to a woman chief or queen she dresses like men with more accessories like jewellery especially in gold. Otherwise, in general, women also wear Kenté loincloth tied around the hips or around the chest. Sometimes they wear white shirts and pearls around their necks and around their wrists. The girls, on the other hand, just cover the breast and wear a skirt maintained by an invisible cord. Today with fashion, Kente is revisited in several types of fashion. Pearls are a symbol of beauty, they also wear around the hips, ankle and arm.
Way of life
They live mainly from agriculture, livestock, hunting and trade. They live in houses with a large common yard. In the villages, the women work in the fields or do a small business, they take care of the children as well. The men also work in the fields or do other crafts such as the forge, the carpentry, etc…
In the city, women work in offices, most are business women or artisans in hairdressing, sewing. Some become restaurant owners. Men also work in the offices where they are most numerous. Others engage in commerce and in the craft industry.
On the marital plane, they are for the most polygamous especially in the villages. The wedding is done in a traditional way. They can also opt for civil marriage if they wish.
Corn dough with adémè sauce
Corn paste commonly called Akplein, is their main food. It is accompanied with sauce, including the famous sauce Adémè which is oily sauce with green leaves. The dough also comes with Fétri (okra sauce), Gboma (spinach sauce), palm nut juice sauce and many more. On the table, water is usually found in a glass and a jug of water, a plate containing the dough and another containing the sauce. Below the table, the water for washing hands is placed in another large plate in the form of a salad bowl. It is forbidden to eat with the left hand (considered impure). It is also forbidden to converse during the meal. The prohibitions around food are diverse. In the Ewe, dads eat alone at the table. The children and the wives were eating together in another corner each with his plate sitting on a long bench or seat. Today some sit at the Western table. The meal is composed only of the main course. Which is still current among the people of West Africa.