Last week, Members of Parliament in Ghana lost their composure in fits of giggles and horselaughs, when the Member for Abirem in the Eastern Region, John Frimpong Osei listed out the names of towns in the Birim North District that were awaiting connection to the national electricity grid.
The laughter was caused by the place names, which contained references to genitals.
These are the English translations for the Twi names:
* Etwe nim Nyansa – “Vagina is Wise”
* Kote ye Aboa – “Penis is a Fool”
* Shua ye Morbor – “Testicles are Sad”.
In Ghana names of towns and villages are normally given by the first settlers in those communities and are drawn from the life experiences of those individuals.
Many Ghanaians had not heard of the villages until they were mentioned in Parliament – and they have been left wondering about the origins of the names.
Following the laughter in Parliament and the Energy Minister, Mr Boakye Agyarko’s joke that providing the villages with electricity may interfere with nocturnal activities in the communities, the television station, UTV visited the villages for an explanation on why the settlers chose those names.
Explaining the rationale, a grandson of one of the early settlers, Atta who is a resident of ‘Kote ye Aboa’ – “Penis is a Fool” explained to the television station there were three brothers who settled in the area.
He said it was one of his grandmothers, Maame Akosua Ani who died in 2011, who explained to him why their great-grandfathers chose those names for the villages.
He said the three brothers moved from ‘Mia w’ani’ – ‘Try harder’ to settle in the area courtesy of the Pankese chief who allowed them to settle and farm in the area.
The three brothers, namely – Kofi Sampon, Kwadwo Gyan and Kofi Sane lived together but when Kwadwo Gyan married, he sacked his two brothers, Kofi Sampon and Kofi Sane from his community because he was being controlled by his wife.
The wife later divorced and sacked Kwadwo Gyan from the house and took over his properties.
Gyan turned to his two brothers whom he had earlier sacked from his house for help, and they explained to him how foolish he had behaved by choosing to live with a woman [vagina] instead of sticking to his brothers and now that the “wise vagina” had maltreated him, he was turning to them.
They, therefore, coined the phrase Etwe nim Nyansa – “Vagina is Wise.”
According to Atta, his grandmother Maame Akosua Ani also added that a madman is always not able to find a wife or a woman to have sex with or give birth, because of his mental condition, no woman [vagina] would be readily willing to accept him.
But said a mad woman [vagina] is able to find a man [penis] to have sex with and even gets pregnant since a man [penis], care less about the mental state of the woman. This, she said was a testimony that ‘Kote ye Aboa – “Penis is a Fool.”
He added that when the penis and vagina meet, the testicles don’t benefit from the enjoyment but since the testicles is always attached to the penis, it always suffers the same fate as the penis but does not get to enjoy thereby making it sad – Shua ye Morbor – “Testicles are Sad”
According to him, the interpretation given by his grandmother was that, women can sometimes use what they have to get what they want from men, some men will go for anything under a skirt, whether mad, teenager or mature and that those testicles, contribute to nothing, it just hangs sadly.
He said the three brothers, therefore, chose the names for their villages and along the line, the Oda chief who initially thought the names were indecent and wanted to abolish it, rather adopted it after it was explained to him and decreed that the names should be maintained.
The members of the communities said the names can never be changed and that they were proud of it.