Saturday, July 28, 2018

Villages Named After Genitalia

Nobody could keep a straight face in Ghana's parliament when MP John Frimpong Osei listed the names of some villages in his constituency that included bizarre references to genitals. 

Names in the Twi* dialect like "Vagina is Wise" left lawmakers in fits of giggles. 

The MP was asking when these areas would get access to electricity. 

"Providing them with electricity may interfere with nocturnal activities", joked Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko. 

Still, he followed it up, in earnest, by saying that a survey would be conducted into how the villages in Abirem constituency in Eastern Region could be connected to the national grid. 

[Note: Almost 80% of Ghana's population has access to electricity, which is almost double the average rate across Africa, according to the World Bank's 2016 report]. 

Anyway, this video clip from Thursday shows Frimpong Osei mentioning Etwe nim Nyansa, Kote ye Aboa and Shua ye Morbor:



These are the English translations for the Twi names: Etwe nim Nyansa is "Vagina is Wise"; Kote ye Aboa is "Penis is a Fool" and Shua ye Morbor is "Testicles are Sad". 

Many Ghanaians have not even heard of the villages until they were named in parliament – and they have been left wondering about the origins of the said names. 

The BBC's Thomas Naadi in the capital, Accra, says such names are normally given by the first settlers in those communities and are drawn from the life experiences of those individuals. 

Latest United Nations estimates suggest that Ghana has a population of nearly 29.5 million as at July 2018 (Source: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/ghana-population/). 

Twi* is widely-spoken, other than English of course, with 7 million speakers (23.7%) in Ghana. 

Another source I came across claims that it is understood by more than 90% of Ghana's population.

[*The Akan languages are part of the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo language family. And there are about 52 million speakers of Akan languages (2014 estimates) in eastern Ivory Coast, south-central Ghana, and central Togo. Note that there are numerous dialects of Akan, including Twi, Fante, Bono, Wasa, Nzema, Baule and Anyi, with a high level of mutual intelligibility between them].

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