This information is not only for the education of the Máwùfɛnugbetɔ but it also to normalize the proper terminology of this otherwise mysterious culture to the average New Afrikan who knows little about the culture, history and philosophy of the Aja people.
The Common Accepted Narrative
Directly on the border of the current countries of Togo and Benin, in Southern Togo, is a very ancient city called ߕߊߘߏ Tado. Originally, this city was called ߋߖ߮ߊߡߍ Ezame which means “surrounded with Eza trees“. Around the beginning 54th century in our time (12th century according to the Gregorian calendar) there was great famine, disease, and drought in the city. Then arrived a mysterious man named ߕߐߜߎߌ ߊߢߌ Togbui Anyi. Togbui Anyi said he could cure all of the ills of the community and raise Ezame back to a great state. The people accepted his offer. In time, he did exactly what he said and the city became whole again. For this, he was made king. Shortly thereafter, he renamed the monarchy Tado, which means “step over”. This was to represent that all misfortunes would step over the monarchy. According to this common narrative, from this Aja group came the Ewe, Fon and other people of similar culture; a culture collectively misnomered as “Gbe-speaking people” by the yovo non Afrikan so called scholars. However, word ߜߋ gbe itself simply means “language”.
The Bigger Picture
The truth of the matter is that the Aja have been here for thousands of years, and the above narrative is only one of many incidences of migrations and feats of the Aja. This is one of the narratives that the yovo (Europeans in this case) chose to popularize and thus has been accepted as the spread of what they call the “Gbe-speaking people”. For instance, one of our most sacred texts, the ߜ߮ߊߣߤߎߡߋߤߊߣ Gànhúmehàn, is dated back to 1329 AX according to our calendar, or the year 2920 BCE of European time (AX stands for Year of the Clan in Ajagbe). The Aja are mentioned throughout several chapters of the Gànhúmehàn as a collective identity of branch groups like the Fon, Ewe, Hula, Ayizo, Seto, kwk. When they migrated to Tado and Notsie they referred to themselves as Aja. When they migrated to the Alada and Agbome plateaus in what is now Southern Benin Republic they referred to themselves as Aja. In fact, the leader of the Alada migration expedition was called ߊߖ߮ߊߤߎߣߕߐ Ajahunto himself (there is further history behind his name which will not be dealt with here).
Additional proof comes from the fact that the ancient monarchy of Xeviè, now a small town in southern Benin Republic, is dated to the year 5055 AX (814 CE of the European calendar). This is at least 300 years before the time-frame of Tado and the great King Togbui Anyi. Thus, the only real question is the matter of the narrative one follows – the narrative that the Aja know of themselves or the one Europeans promote? Without a doubt, the Aja people know who they are. These related people (Ewe, Fòn, Sɛ́to, Ayizo, kwk) are offshoots of Aja in the same manner as the Yorùbá are broken down into Ifẹ, Oyo, Ijebu, Egba, Awori, kwk (kwk – etc, etc in KiBantu language). Thus the yovo took one of several big events in the history of the Aja, the creation of Tado, and attributed this as the spreading of the branches of these ancient people.
The more appropriate and 100% accurate collective term for our culture is ߊߖ߮ߊ Aja. Therefore, a monarch from the cultures of Southern Benin, Togo, and Ghana, who shares the same culture, which is rooted in Vodun, is referred to as an Aja (culture) Monarch just the same as when one refers to an Akan monarch or queen mother, or a Yoruba monarch due to their collective cultures respectively.
The Fon Aja Subgroup
It should be noted that the Fon are the result of the Aja mixing with the local indigenous Gedevi people of what is now Agbome, once the capital of the Danxome monarchy. Thus, much of what we refer to as Fon language and culture is the product of an admixture of several cultures that scholars have misnamed “Gbe” or “Gbe speaking”. The fact is that the Fon are the largest Aja ethnic group in southern Benin Republic. Through yovo (european non Afrikans in this case) pseudo scholarship they became the most known of the Aja groups. This also gave more credence to separating the various subgroups, which stripped their collective identity. However, we as the New Afrikans who have come back to restore order to our culture have now corrected these mishaps. Below are some of the various Aja branches. Each speak a dialect (gbe) of Ajagbe (Aja language).
- Western – Adan, Agoi/Gliji, Agu, Anexo, Aveno, Awlan, Awuna, Be, Ewe, Gbin, Gen, Kpelen, Kpési, Togo, Vhlin, Vo, Waci, Wance, Wundi
- Central – Dogbo, Hwe, Sikpi, Tado, Tala
- Eastern – Agbome, Ajara, Arohun, Ayizo, Ci, Daxe, Fon, Gbekon, Gbesi, Gbokpa, Gun, Hula, Hweda, Kotafon, Kpase, Maxi, Movolo, Sawxwe, Se, Seto, Tofin, Toli (Tori), Wemenu, Xwela, Xwla, Wudu
Aja Words to Know
These words will also help you navigate this site and help in your communication with us here at Gànlɔdó. One reasons these words are here because we are eliminating having to use putting English words in parenthesis when using common Aja words. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
ߡߊߥߎ Máwù/MáwùLisa – the Creator
ߡߊߥߎߝߍ Máwùfɛ – one of the original names of “Afrika” according to the Aja people
ߡߊߥߎߝߍߣߎߜߍߕߐ Máwùfɛnugbetɔ – Afrikan person; a true human
ߤߎߣ hùn – deity (like Òrìṣà in Yorùbá)
ߞߎ߫ߟߌ߫ߕߐ kúlítɔ – ancestor (Egungun in Yorùbá)
ߊߚߐ߫ߛߌ߫ axɔ́sú – an Aja male monarch as it relates to the Aja of southern Benin Republic (Ọba in Yorùbá). The “x” is pronounced like a hard “h”.
ߊߚߐ߫ߛߌ axɔ́si – an Aja female monarch as it relates to the Aja of southern Benin Republic.
ߊߦߌ߬ߣߐߣ ayìnon – his/her imperial majesty. Lit “owner of the earth“
ߦߏߝ߮ߏ yovo – any non Afrikan (Europeans, Mexicans, Asians, Non Afrikan Latinos, kwk)
ߏߜ߮ߊ߱ߣ ogăn/gantɔ/gan – chief
ߚߏߕߐߡߍ xotɔme – monarchy. We do not use the term kingdom as Aja history and culture shows that women can rule and have ruled a monarchy
ߞߌߟߐߡߓߏ kilɔmbo – actually a Ki Kongo term meaning encampment. These were intentional encampments created to separate one’s self from chaos, disorder, and degeneracy. Gànlɔdó is a kilɔmbo.
ߞߌߟߐߡߓߏߣߎ kilɔmbonu – a combination of the KiKongo kilɔmbo and the Ajagbe “nu” which means “a thing of“. Thus the term kilɔmbonu refers to Maroonage and Maroon ideology for Gànlɔdó – a way of life based upon Afrikan only heterosexual family development, nation building, and sovereignty.
ߞߌߟߐߡߓߏߡߎߣߕߎ kilɔmbomuntu – a person who is a Maroon; a true and elevated Maroon
ߞߟߐߡߓߏߣߐߣ Kilɔmbonon – a unique title held by the Maroon sovereign monarch of Gànlɔdó, Ayìnon Axɔ́sú̀ Agelogbagan Sàgbàjù Azàsinkpontín Jisovi Agbovi I, founder and paramount monarch of Gànlɔdó. This title means owner/leader of the Kilɔmbo.
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