“Dipo,” a puberty rite and a rite of passage accepted by the Krobos, the Dangme people in the Eastern Region of Ghana and the Sɛ (shai) in the Greater Accra. Instituted over hundred years ago. Its purpose was to check teenage pregnancy and to protect the virginity of the woman for her future husband. Dipo which is now a commemorative ceremony tell the story and the history of the Krobos (Kloli). Dipo seeks to mentor the girls who reach their puberty age into womanhood. Ages past, Dipo was perform for ladies who reach the marital age that is tweenty five year and above. They were confined for one year and mentored on household chores. They were thought Traditional medications, bathing for a newly born bab personal hygiene including other things that brings harmony between husband and wife. Now, the Tradition has changed. It is compulsary for the girl child to attain formal education. She can not be confine for a whole year to under study only indigenous knowledge. In the era of ours , women who attained age tweenty five are supposed to be completing universities and therefore maybe or maybe not will feel shy for the process. Some people have been “misinformed” that, the Dipo rites, when performed serves as a stump or cirtificate for marriage. No, that is not the intention of Dipo as stated above. In Ghana now, the Constitutional maturity for a child is eighteen, but that does not warrant the female child to customarily marriage. Lomoki Dameh, a daughter of Noah Dameh has just passed through Dipo rites at Manya Krobo-Agbom in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
Lomoki is being guided to grind millet, a staple food for the Krobos during their migration. This goes with a folklore misic called “Klama” Hɛɛ mo kɛ su wɛ he nɛ waa glɛ ngma. Come closer to the grinding stone, so we can grind the millet. They are made to taste the grinded millet with a calabash. They are also taken through loin fixing to protect their Virginity and expecially during their critical times.
Lomoki at the centre recessing from the traditional bath house where she and other colegues have been taken through bathing and washing of undergarments.
Day three, Lomoki is going to seat on the sacred stone called Dipo tɛ or tɛgbɛtɛ. This is The peak of The rite. In the olden days, women who got pregnant before this rites and refused to disclosed were said to have been caught by the sacred stone and therefore rejected by the community as an abominable offense against tradition. It was claimed that most of these victims have been driven out of home to serve as example for those who would not wait to reach traditionally approved maturity age.
The fathers role is also to appreciate the daughter with one live sheep (white) as a way of congratulating the daughter for attaining such a year and passing through the rites with success. Culture is dynamic. Fathers of the Dipo batch contribute an amount and given to the priest and the priestess so, they can buy one sheep for all the batch. The meat is shared to them immediately after they passed out from the Dipo sacred stone. During this period the girls are restricted from eating any other food than water yam.
The Dipo girls are again, restricted from drinking and bathing water from the River Volta, as well as the pipe borne water. This is because, the pipe take its water source from the River Volta. Rain water is therefore preserved in individual homes for the rites. Those who are not able to keep the rain water, fetch from other streams and hand dug wells.
Lomoki seat back the next day looking though her Dipo pictures.
Lomoki goes back to school.
Noah Dameh-Odumase Krobo.