2019 Anlo Hogbetsotsoza beckons

Anloga (V/R) – This year’s Hogbetsotsoza of the chiefs and people of Anlo in the Volta Region is gathering momentum and promises to be the best patronised cultural festival in the country in recent times.

The festival, also known as Hogbeza is to commemorate the legendary exodus of the Ewe-Dogbo folks from Notsie in present day, neighboring republic of Togo.

Celebrated every first Saturday in November, Anloga, the traditional and ritual capital of the Anlo State comes alive with a colorful grand durbar of chiefs and people of Anlo, Eweland in other parts of the country, and folks from the diaspora.

There is also a display of rich tradition and culture with people treated to variety of drumming and dancing including the ever popular agbadza, atsia and vehicle for the departure, “misego” or “husago.”

The 2019 Hogbetsotsoza being marked on the theme, Uniting Anlo through its Values for the Benefits of its Citizens and the Nation at Large, will attract tourists, traditional leaders and kings from Germany, the United States of America, Ghana and neighboring countries-Togo, Benin and Nigeria, according to Agbotadua Boni, Special Aide to the Awoamefia Torgbui Sri III.

Agbotadua Boni said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to be in attendance as the Guest of Honour with the Asantehene Otumfou Osei Tutu II as the Guest Speaker.

The Ewefiaga Torgbi Agorkoli IV from the ancestral home of Ewes in Togo and the Agbogbomefia Togbe Afede XIV who is also the President of National House of Chiefs are guests of honour.

The Agbotadua said this year’s festival aims at bringing cultural heritages together for the development of the Anlo State and mentioned that the presence of the Asantehene would rekindle the age-long relationship between the Anlos and Asantes.

With a week to the main durbar at Anloga, hotels are fully booked with some local and foreign tourists already pouring in as preparations reached fever pitch.

Social media is already loud with invitations as some people share their experiences and expectations for this year’s celebration. One of the messages read, “Must attend Hogbetsotsoza 2019, I’m repping live.

Basic school pupils in the 36 Anlo states are not left out of the celebration as they rehearse the various traditional drumming and dancing of their people in preparation for their day, mini durbar of schools to be held on Wednesday, October 30 before the Hogbetsotso on Saturday.

An array of activities and ceremonies usually precede the climax on Saturday to make the about one-month long festival a success.

There is ‘dodede’ rite -removal of diseases and expulsion of evil spirits.

Nugbidodo ‘reconciliation’ is another rite to ensure harmony among the people. By this, amicable solutions are found to end all disputes with the belief that the ancestors lived in harmony with themselves all through their escape from Notsie and that it was this character that made their sojourn successful.

Glimetoto, an enactment of the departure or escape of the captives where the departing group walked backwards such that their footsteps gave the impression that they were rather moving towards and not away from Notsie is organised on the eve of Hogbetsotso day.

Mini Hogbetsotso, which can best be described as dress rehearsal for the main festival comes off on Saturday, a week to the grand durbar.

According to Agbotadua Kumassah, Secretary to Association of Agbotaduawo in Anlo State, the 2019 Mini Hogbetsotso festival scheduled to take place on October 26 at Salo in the Anloga District, would have the Awoamefia and the Awadada in attendance.

Agbotadua Kumassah explained that the mini Hogbetsotso festival held on rotational basis “is to reaffirm the bond of relationship among the 13 divisions of the Anlo State” adding that the 2018 one was held at Klikor in the Ketu South Municipality with the previous one held at a town in the Ketu North Municipality.

He mentioned that the purpose of taking the festival to different towns was also to make citizens there who could not afford to make it to Anloga on the event day, feel a part of the celebration.

The festival is also characterised by interesting programmes including games, beauty pageant (Mama Hogbe), street carnivals and the very recent EdemFest – music concert by Volta Regime Music Group leader, Edem, which brings together accomplished artists and great talents from the Region onto one big platform to thrill patrons.

Hogbetsotso is derived from three words, ‘ho’ move or uproot, ‘gbe’ day “tsotso” crossing, thus, the day of exodus.

Tradition holds that the Anlos who form part of Ewe people had to flee from Notsie where they were being held captive in a walled city due to altercation (resulting from a conspiracy which forced King Agorkorli to order the killing of his favourite son) between them and the king.

They devised a way to soften a portion of the wall, broke it and through it, walked backwards to freedom amidst drumming and dancing to misego/husago under the command and leadership of Torgbui Tegli.

The Anlo State is noted for providing security to its people and fighting a number of wars to fend off enemies and has as its motto, Anlo kotsiklolo, naketi deka nor dzome binu meaning, Anlo, the unified state, one firewood is able to prepare a meal, a summation of a gallantry of one man performing the task assigned to many.

Source: Ghana News Agency