I read Raphael Nyarkotey Obu?s story titled ?Is It Really True That Okomfo Anokye Cursed Krobo Women on Sex Issues?? (Newsghana.com.gh 9/17/15) with no small measure of amusement.
I have also heard about the malediction or curse that Okomfo Anokye is reported to have pronounced against Krobo women, to the effect that they would remain sexually incontinent, or promiscuous, until the end of time or the end of the world, whichever of either event may come first or last.
But the version of this myth that I heard had nothing to do with the legendary nation-builder?s alleged bathing in a stream and being peeped at by some giggling Krobo Thomasinas, if you will. The legend, however, indicates that Okomfo Anokye may have had the most impressive set of genitalia in all of Akuapem and Krobo lands. The specific dimensions have never been let on to us, as far as I have been able to verify.
Some versions of the account claim that the immortalized Akuapem Awukugua native?s ?dingaling? was the metaphorical equivalent of freshly cut timber, which has never ceased to make me wonder about the average size of the pudenda of the Krobo woman. Perhaps like one of the motorized tunnels ? Lincoln or Holland ? that link New York City with the State of New Jersey, under the Hudson River. Well, the version of the legend that I know of claims Okomfo Anokye to have married a pretty bombshell of a Krobo woman shortly before he decided to embark on one of his numerous missionary journeys as a healer-priest.
The couple had solemnly pledged to remain faithful to one another and to rekindle the flame of their passionate conjugal relationship, once the great healer-priest had returned from his epochal journey and mission. The trouble with the otherwise flawlessly decent Krobo women began when Okomfo Anokye returned only to discover to his heart-rending chagrin that another man had been regularly congressing/conjugating with his wife.
Unfortunately, the name of his wife is not given us in the version of the narrative that I most familiar with, but it just may plausibly be Auntie Korkor, since I knew quite a few Auntie Korkors while growing up at Akyem-Asiakwa, a small historical township with a considerable colony of Krobo residents. Mostly, the women and their menfolk are engaged in farming.
But there is a remarkable level of commercial sex also present among the Krobo residents that is not quite as pronounced among their Akan hosts, which this writer personally witnessed with great wistfulness, as a result of several of his own uncles and elder cousins having been regular johns to several of these Krobo women, including a handful who were highly placed Christian clergymen. I know this because I would often be dispatched as an emissary to any one of these admittedly gorgeous women that one of my maternal uncles intended to spend the night with her.
It was not a task that I performed with humor. In some ways, I felt mortified by the fact that these relatives would so casually abuse the emotional generosity of these quite prepossessing Krobo women with such reckless abandon, although these women did not give any overt indication that they preferred to maintain their coital independence to being in respectable conjugal relationships. For I tend to believe that what clearly appears to be the easy ways or morals of the stereotypical Krobo woman is actually an inescapable and confident exhibition of sexual independence and liberation.
They curiously did not seem bashful about the entire arrangement. They had actually devised ways of making such largely commercial transaction seem more normative than anomalous. For instance, if any one of these women were ready to receive a john for the night, they would often prepare a sumptuous meal for him, almost as if he were a husband or an ?Mpena? ? a regular monogamous sexual partner ? who was returning home after having been away on a journey for several weeks or even a couple of months.
You see, stereotypically speaking, the Krobo women are relatively more sophisticated than most non-Krobo Ghanaian women, which makes them quite uniquely attractive. They also tend to be work horses. I never knew any Krobo woman while growing up at Akyem-Asiakwa who was not very hardworking or did not own a farm the size of at least a giant soccer field. They were known to be serviceable to a fault. This may have significantly added to the mystique of their sexual attractiveness.
Remember, the Krobo are also among the very first Ghanaians to become familiar and conversant modern Western-minted education. But their education and relative sophistication have not caused the Krobo to recklessly abandon such signal cultural institutions as the ?Dipo Festival? of female pubertal rites whose Akan equivalent of ?Bragoro? has almost completely been erased with the spread of Western missionary education, which caused many an Akan woman and her menfolk to despise themselves and their indigenous traditional institutions. The Dipo festal rites have also ensured that unwanted teen pregnancy would become significantly and relatively less rampant among the Krobos than other Ghanaian ethnic and sub-ethnic polities.
Legend has it that any Krobo woman who dies at any age without having undergone Dipo is not afforded the proper funerary and burial rites. And if she died outside the confines of her village, her remains was prevented from being returned to her moorings or ancestral village for interment. Her mortal remains were tabooed because the deceased was deemed to have died an abominable death.
Well, I personally had an uncle, Opanyin Amoyaw, of Asiakwa-Kassardjian, adjacent to the New-Zongo quarter of the township, who married a Krobo woman and suffered a very painful conjugal infidelity when he became bedridden with a chronic and terminal form of the hiccups. The couple?s eldest child, a daughter, was my classmate in the fifth and sixth grades. My uncle?s wife would marry a younger man whom she kept in the same household but largely out of the view of her immobilized husband for more than a decade until Opanyin Amoyaw passed on.
And when upon Opanyin Amoyaw?s death this scandalous affair came to light, Auntie Korkor, (not her real name), viciously and falsely claimed that she had discussed her extreme difficulties in taking care of her then-ailing and bedridden husband with an uncle-in-law (that would be my maternal grandfather, Rev. T. H. Sintim) who had readily consented to her decision of taking a second husband, a much younger Krobo man, as a house help, to enable her take care of the virtually vegetable husband that Opanyin Amoyaw had become.
As to whether any highly intelligent and enlightened observer can legitimately use this one outrageous case of patent conjugal infidelity, call it polyandry, to make a sweeping generalization about the morals of the ?stereotypical? Krobo woman, well, that is another breed of rhetorical quadruped altogether. Auntie Korkor is probably dead as of this writing.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
E-mail: [email protected]