Tɔgbui Ʋenya and the Awɔamezi (The Awɔmefia stool)

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Before the arrival of our forefathers at Ŋotsie the Eʋe people lived at Ketu on the western bank of the River Niger. From Ketu the Aŋlɔ people, along with the other Eʋe groups continued their westward migration settling for periods of time at places like Yor, Dogbo and Tado in present day Republic of Togo probably around the late 15th to early sixteen century.

The Aŋlɔ people at that point in time called themselves the Dogbo community in Ŋotsie, Dogbo being one of the places present day Aŋlɔ people settled in during their long westward migration.

According to tradition, the Awɔamezi, also known as the Aŋlɔ Awoamefia stool, came from Tado in present day Republic of Togo probably around the late 15th to early sixteen century. The stool was brought from Tado to Ŋotsie by Kponoe, who later became Tɔgbui Sri I. Ironically Kponoe, later Sri I, was apparently involved in a dispute with his brothers over succession to the throne when he took off with the stool and fled to his maternal uncle, Amega Wenya, at Notsie.

Kponoe’s maternal uncle, Togbui Wenya made him chief of the “Dogbo community” in Ŋotsie at which time he became Tɔgbui Sri I. The king of Ŋotsie at the time was Tɔgbui Agɔkoli I whose maltreatment of the “Dogbo community was legendary”.

By all accounts the Dogbo people, our forefathers, were war-hardened people who never shield from a fight. They were both feared and courted for their valor in wars. Legend had it that the Dogbo people actually caused Agɔkoli to execute his own son by falsely accusing the prince of having murdered a member of the Dogbo community.
Retribution followed when word reached Agɔkoli that the Dogbos were bragging about “having avenged the death of a living man”.

Under the leadership of Wenya the Aŋlɔs fled Ŋotsie to escape the harsh rule of Agɔkoli I of Ŋotsie. This migration took place in the 16th century and is still celebrating in our Hogbeza or Hogbetsotso annually.

Tɔgbui Wenya was an old man when under his leadership our forefathers finally arrived at Anloga. An old and tired man at that point tradition had it that he said in Ewe “Meŋlo”, literally, I am doubled over” or “I am folded up!”

In their hasty flight, our forbearers left the Awɔamefia stool in Notsie. Some authorities claim Tɔgbui Agɔkoli I refused to release the stool out of anger at our forbearers for intentionally misleading him with the resultant execution of an innocent man. Tɔgbui Sri’s own sons refused to go back to Ŋotsie to retrieve the stool, but his nephews, Adeladza and Atogolo, undertook the dangerous mission. Sri I rewarded his maternal nephew, by ordering that his nephew Adeladza should ascend to the Awɔamezi before his own children. From then onwards, in spite of our patrimonial system of inheritance, the male descendants of Sri I, who are of the Adzɔavia clan, and the male descendants of Adeladza I, the Bate Clan, rotate ascension to the Awɔamezi.

The Awɔamezi on which our current Awɔmefia Tɔgbuiga Sri lll takes his throne is more a symbol of authority or a unifying force; it is the very embodiment of the soul of Anlo land, the emotions of war and peace, a bond with our glorious past, a reminder of our present imperfections and our hope for a better tomorrow.

May God bless our Ancestors, forefathers and our Eʋeland!

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