The possible origins of the Atiavi name and ‘naketi deka no dzome bi nu’
The early migrants into present Anlo area were hunters and gatherers of wild fruits. The aquatic eco-system with its numerous creeks, ponds and lagoons offered an ideal opportunity of harvesting nature without planting.
The high fresh water table of the sandy soil ensures good drinking water all year round. According to narratives from friends on Atiavi Roots, when our ancestors first arrived they found the area to be littered with cashew trees ‘atia ti’ and upon tasting the nut inside the fruit, they found it to be sweet whereas the fruit itself was sour and very corrosive. To this they said “atia vivim lo ga vevem”.
Added to the abundance of cashew nuts for nourishment, the Lagoon provided salt water fish to supplement their diet. They then discovered a running river nearby and this provided them with sweet and soft drinking water.
The coconut trees which covered the area had great versatility in their domestic life. The edible fruits, when dried (copra) was used in producing oil for cooking, coconut oil was widely used in making soaps, The clear liquid or ‘coconut milk’ provided a re-freshen drink and can be processed to create alcohol. The stem, branches, husks and leaves of the coconut tree was used as materials in making a variety of products such as lighting fire, fishing, sweeping, furnishing and constructing shelter.
The coconut trees therefore assumed cultural and religious significance to our fore fathers.
The geography of the area would have given them natural protection from attacking enemies as it was almost surrounded by swamp lands with thick vegetation and based on these reasons, our ancestors may have decided to settle in the area and referred to the place as ‘Atia vivim ga vevem’ and with time the name evolved to what we know presently as Atiavi.
‘naketi deka no dzome bi nu’— Seal of the Anlo State.
The spirit of the Anlo State among the community of Nation is invoked as follows: “Anlo kotsiklolo, naketi deka no dzome bi nu. Anlo godoo le vii. Du no me mase emenya. Xedzra kataka ebe ye da azi de wotete gbe. Ga meno gali nu o. Gae tso afe de wotete gbe. Nu nodokpo eto dzi meglina o.”
The nearest literal translation of the invocation in English reads “Anlo kotsiklolo”, one faggot is sufficient to cook the meal. Anlo round and serene, a State you live in without comprehending its affairs. The brave and courageous bird lays its eggs in the open and challenges any predator birds to scoop them. The brave has built its house in the open. Anything which rests on tripod remains stable”.
The main town of Atiavi is situated in Anlo in the Volta Region of Ghana; its geographical coordinates are 5° 56′ 0″ North, 0° 52′ 0″ east. Atiavi is about 3 metres below sea level and 78 miles (125km) east of Accra which is about two and half hours drive away from the capital city.
Atiavi is one of the oldest settlement communities in the Anlo traditional area and comprises some 10 settlements of Agbodekor, Agblego, Atime, Aveli, Bornokope, Glime, Gbetuinu, Hotagba, Ledzorbi, Wanyagor in which there are approximately 10,000 inhabitants and many more Atiavians living in the Diasporas.
The ancient name of Atiavi is Agblego and sub divided into five different family communities namely; Masete, Asorme, Afegame, Tsiteti, Lokofigonu.
Atiavi (Agblego) is highly reputed for its cleanliness and the main town is situated at the confluence of the Keta lagoon and the Nuyi River.
Atiavi perches on the northern shore and is squeezed in from the west by the largest marsh-land in Ghana full of creeks and streams. This forms part of the Lower Volta Natural Habitat Ecological Zone.
Atiavi offers no waterfalls, mountains or elephants. She offers the bounty of the water that has moulded the life of a friendly people. Among the many achievements are, water project to bring pure and drinking pipe borne water for the people and its immediate surroundings. We have electricity, a good access road to the town, a basic primary and secondary school system, a town market, a community centre, and a medical centre.
Atiavi also boasts a plush hotel called kumahor Guest lodge, a modern, 33-bed three-star facility, with local or continental style dishes and your hospitality is assured.
Added to these amenities we have churches and traditional religious shrines and the town is surrounded by the Keta lagoon. Among the many activities, you may try includes mat weaving, boating, and fishing and you are also advised to take a good book along to read at your leisure.
The name Atiavi was thought to have been coined by our ancestors who were mainly hunters and on such an expedition to the area, sought rest under a cashew tree where on trying the fruit found the nut when roasted tasted nice but the fruit itself was sour to which they said “Atia vivim lo ga vevem” and over the years the name has transformed to Atiavi.
In the 1960s, traces of hydrocarbons were encountered and by 25th October 1966, a Romanian team in collaboration with the Ghana Ministry of Fuel drilled a test well named Atiavi-1, located onshore at the Keta Basin. The well was sunk about 5152 feet without any significant find and the later abandoned. We could do with more data on these past exploration activities in the area.
By 24th June 1967, a second test well called Anloga-2 was drilled to the depth of about 6995 feet located onshore Keta Basin without any major oil find.
As an ancient settlement town, the place was revered in superstition and it was a belief that powerful shrines existed in the community with supernatural powers and practices surrounding luck, prophecy, spiritual beings, and diviners or ‘bokor’ were good at traditional medicine. Their spiritual leaders were feared and regarded with the deepest respect and homage paid to the gods through them.
There is oil deep under the rocks at Atiavi and we could bring some investors to the area to prospect for it. Just like the Niger Delta of Nigeria where oil can be found in abundance so there is plenty at the Keta Basin.
At Atiavi, the prospecting company need to know about the oil reservoir before they start drilling a lot of expensive wells. They need to know about the size and number of pores in a reservoir rock, which is mass of solid rock protecting the crude from gushing out.
This solid rock may have prevented the Romanian Technical Team from discovering oil at the wells dug in 1965 named at locations named Atiavi-1 and Anloga-1.
Today’s scientists have invented many new ways to learn about the characteristics of an oil rocks.
They have developed ways to send sound waves through reservoir rock. Sound waves travel at different speeds through different types of rocks. By listening to sound waves using devices called “geophones,” scientists can measure the speed at which the sound moves through the rock and determine where there might be rocks with oil in them.
Scientists also measure how electric current moves through rock. Rocks with a lot of water in the tiny pores will conduct electricity better than rocks with oil in the pores. Sending electric current through the rock can often reveal oil-bearing rocks.
Tourism at Atiavi
The town is best known for tourist attraction including cruising on small landing strip for canoes, pleasure fishing trips,self rowing canoes,pedal boats or canoes and also watching birds and other animals on the river as well .
Many people rely on fish as their main source of protein and fishermen also earn income from their fishing activities. Fish consumption is rapidly increasing with the growing awareness of its health benefits but due to overfishing, our Lagoon has either fully been exploited or depleted of fish.
As a result, fish farming, has quickly stepped up to meet the demands of fish consumption in many developing economies. With fish stocks rapidly depleting in the Keta Lagoon, the industry of fish farming has continued to grow in response on the Volta River .
Environmentally friendly fish farming methods could be explored at Atiavi to benefit the local community.
Grasscutters, or cane rats, are Africa’s second largest rodent, after the porcupine. Their meat is a rich source of protein, and they are a popular food in many African countries.
Up till now, grasscutters have generally been hunted in the wild, but rearing them is very straightforward. They are susceptible to few disease or health problems and can be easily maintained on a wide variety of foods.
The people also venture into sugar plantation farming in large scale which are been transformed into locally based alcohol. This sugar are sometimes been sent outside this town for medicinal purposes,and for marketing as well.
There’s one noble thing one could see when you visit this town,that’s you will see hand braided mat called ‘Atiavi -Matress’ by the folks and it is popular in the Volta Region,Ghana and West Africa as whole.
This very town of great hospitality needs the support of the indigenous, philanthropists and government to help develop to meet the international standard of tourist attractions.
Atiavi is an open and welcoming community and I would entreat every native to endeavour visiting the town and its satellite communities, such as Glime, Wanyagor, etc to experience the varying life of the people.
“Atiavi, a place of endless activities and excitement”
The possible origins of the Atiavi name and ‘naketi deka no dzome bi nu’