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QuoteThe last god -animal incarnate to be discussed is the sea god • called Opo by the Ashanti. The Fante and Ga peoples believe that Bonsu the whale embodies the sea god, and they make offerings of corn to his spirit. He is also a fishing god and, like Tantrobu and Abodinkra, once a war god. Both concepts are visible in the powerful confrontation on this god at the Asafo shrine in Plate 35. In relation to fishing gods, fish are the offspring of these and of different lakes (Abosom), and enjoy a sacred status. They characterize the deities as givers of fertility. "If you dream about fish, your wife is going to conceive. "62 Bosumtwe is a lake approximately 20 miles from Kumasi. It is circular and approximately five miles across. It has no outlet so is quite stagnant and evaporates in the intense heat. Decomposition of vegetable matter causes an accumulation of gases, which "explodes like gunpowder." This is considered to be a supernatural event, and colorful legends explain the water's nature and the veneration of the fish which inhabit it. ''Twe is said to be the name of an obosom who came out of the water and made love to an old woman, Aberewa, a name also given to the earth goddess, Asase Yaa. Twe promised to give fish to the old woman whenever she wished, if she would simply knock on the water. To this day, no hooks or cast nets are allowed for fishing in the lake, nor can canoes be used. The fisherman who 1 i ve in the villages round the lake balance on logs, paddle with their heads, and catch the abundant fish in reed baskets. On Sundays, Twe emerges from the lake to sit among worshippers.
Quote Ghana 'When a sawfish attacks another fish, the victim never escapes.' Akan proverb | Ghana The Akan people of western Ghana are renowned for making a strong connection between visual and verbal expressions and for how they blend art and philosophy. Proverbs and sayings featured prominently in their culture and had political, economic and social significance. The many beautiful weights they made from 1400 AD onwards were used as counter-weights for measuring out gold dust (their traditional currency until replaced by coins and paper money). These weights, made from brass, often had forms that were linked to specific proverbs. The sawfish was sacred to the Akan people, symbolising individuals who held power in coastal communities. The proverb associated with the weight depicting a sawfish is 'When a sawfish attacks another fish, the victim never escapes'. This was meant to convey the indisputable authority of the king. More generally, fishes symbolised abundance in West African cultures. The sawfish symbol, which linked prosperity and leadership, was so important for Akan societies that the West African Monetary Union chose it, in the stylised form of the sawfish weight, to adorn all the coins and notes of the West African franc (the currency of Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry). Around the Volta Estuary in eastern Ghana, the Ewe people revered sawfishes as spiritually powerful entities, classed as tro, of a divinity between humans and God. The Ewe had formal sawfish propitiation rites to dispel the danger presented when a sawfish became entangled in a fishing net. The powerful spirit was appeased with offerings of corn meal, alcohol and palm oil. If this ceremony was not performed, fishers who caught sawfishes were believed to have bad luck – illness might strike them or one of their family members, or they might be involved in accidents, for example.