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Remains of RitualNorthern Gods in a Southern Land$
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Steven M. Friedson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226265049

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226265063.001.0001

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(p.155) 6 Burials
Remains of Ritual
University of Chicago Press

Afa is not only the name of the god, but also that ancient divination system found throughout the Guinea Coast. It is all about possibility and paths, and thus the crossroads. Wherever you find the crossroads, you will find Legba, the guardian of thresholds but also the trickster nonpareil in this West African religion. Legba of the crossroads, by the way, is not confined to West Africa. The relationship between Afa and Legba, destiny and the trickster, fate and the fortunes of chance, is revealed in a large corpus of myth and lore found throughout the Guinea Coast. Some Ewe people say that ghosts speak with a soft high voice through their noses. In this sense, the word is virtually an onomatopoeia due to the nasalized consonant at the beginning. Ewe bokɔwo consistently associate GbeŊɔli not only with ghosts, but also with guns. Traditional Ewe religious practice such as burial is full of ambiguity.

Keywords:   burial, Ewe people, Afa, divination, Guinea Coast, Legba, ghosts, guns, West Africa, religion

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