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Southern Lands

Southern Lands

(p.1) Southern Lands
Remains of Ritual
University of Chicago Press

This book reaches back over a period of fifteen years of working with Ewe shrines. Writing about the Ewe people is a notoriously difficult task, even though much has been written about them. There seems to be no getting to the bottom of things, especially those things having to do with shrines, leaving a distinct impression that no matter how long you stay in Ewe country, you are never quite there. It is like the many clay Legbas, the god of the crossroads and thresholds, protecting the entrances to villages and homes. Much in Ewe culture is similarly subterranean, not visible to the naked eye. Nothing is quite what it seems; everything feels submerged beneath at least two layers of clay. A drive into Three-Town, an assemblage of small municipalities located on the Guinea Coast near the Togo border where the author did most of his fieldwork, will confirm that fact. This book, as with those traces of traces in the sand, remains of ritual, is an invitation to enter, to follow a path, above all, to heed the way.

Keywords:   shrines, Ewe people, ritual, Togo, Legbas, Three-Town, Guinea Coast

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