All Traditional areas in Ghana are identified with special festivals which make the people very distinct from each other.
The festival is celebrated by the chiefs and people of the Ada Traditional Area in the Dangme East District of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. It is an annual festival and week-long activities.
The celebration of the festival is in remembrance of the achievements in wars for settlement fought by the ancestors of the area, hence the name "ASAFOTUFIAMI".
The settlement of the Adas at their present abode came about as a result of a great migration of an ethnic group of people believed to be part of a great African Negro race from the Western Sudan "ASAFOTU" as the name implies, is company firing of musketry.
In the olden days the Ada state comprised the following states as Divisional Chiefs supporting the Ada "Mantse" (Chief) as the Paramount chief and the various tribes at Big Ada; Agave Sokpoe, Tafle, Mape, Mafi, Bakpa and Battor.
With the secession of these Divisional Chiefs to form what is now known in addition to the following clans of Ada, which formerly, were under their respective womorhi (fetish leaders) and Asafoatseme (War Leaders). Since 1954 the following 10 tribes have had Wetsoyi (Divisional Chiefs) to support the Paramount stool of Ada.
1. Adibiawe 5. Ohuewen 9. Kabiaweyuwu
2. Lomobiawe 6. Korgbor 10. Kpono
3. Tekperbiawe 7. Kudzragbe
4. Dangmebiawe 8. Kabiawetsu
To encourage sons and daughters domiciled in other towns of the country to return and help the elders in development of the Ada State I as a whole and the towns and villages in particular.
The Ada Pastors and Teachers Association (APTA) jointly with the Ada National Improvement Association (ANIA) approached the chiefs and elders of the State to have the festival of "Asafotu" revived. The approach received the overwhelming support and the revival of the ancient "Asafotu" festival again in 1937.
There are two Asafo (Companies) within the Ada State viz; Akomfode and Asorkore, membership of which, according to tradition, is by maternal lineage.
For this reason, children of the same father and of different mothers at times find themselves in the opposite company (Asafo) and this confirms the appellation of the people of Ada as "Nyeko Bi, Tseko Bi".
Mode of Celebration
According to tradition, the celebration starts from Thursday in the first week of every August with the arrival of guests from other places to the town with house cleaning ceremony and pouring of libation at the respective shrines of the various families and keeping of vigil.
At dawn of Friday, as part of the schedule for the celebration, the two companies (Asafo) beat their respective drums to summon their members for the onward march to LUHUESE (a suburb of Ada) on the outskirt of Big Ada where they are camped and according to ancient custom, all young men who attain the age of puberty will then be initiated into their respective Asafo companies by being taught how to handle, load a gun and fire some for the first time.
This is followed by war formation and the initiates being taught the ancient tactics of warfare. This continues until late afternoon when the two Asafo companies retire to the town of Big Ada dressed in traditional robes returning from the war fronts and firing of musketry and war cries.
This party of "warriors" are met at LENOBINYA (a suburb of Ada) by women and children carrying vessels containing water and mixed with ROASTED CONRNFLOUR with the hailing cry.
Awe, Awe, Awe
Response Awe e-e-e
Agbae, Bleku Tso
Nsu, o, Nsu
Manye o, Manye
Meaning: success, success, success, Let good befall the people ,Let food come in abundance. Singing, firing of musketry and dancing continue here until sunset when the procession continues to Kponkpo panya where the Asafo companies form a single file along the river side and fire three consecutive volleys into the river, dip their feet into it and wash their hands to indicate the carrying away of all evil and bad omens of the year, looking forward to all the good in store of the year ahead. All the followers of the Asafo companies follow the custom of feet dipping and hand-washing ceremony.
The procession then disperses and everyone retires home with songs of jubilation continuing until late in the night.
The newly initiated young men followed by their friends proceed to houses of their in-laws and pay homage by firing musketry thrice ,acknowledged by cheers and congratulation of inmates.
Drinks and other presentations are made available by the in-laws and the household. The following Saturday is noted for durbar of the Paramount Chief, Asafoatseme and Divisional Chiefs carried in their palanquins through the town to the grounds of the Big Ada Presby Junior Secondary School park where the elders, men, women and children, gaily dressed, are assembled to receive them Ada Youth Groups and other Benevolent societies, established in certain towns of the country.
Security personnels also in their respective uniform of identity parade through the streets of Big Ada to the durbar grounds where they march past and take their positions for the Saturday and Sunday functions with their patriotic and melodious songs to grace the occasion.
After the Paramount Chief has greeted the Divisional Chiefs, Asafoatseme and elders and the people, he sits in state to receive in return greetings and homage of his people, swearing of oath of allegiance by the Asafoatseme which in each case are sealed with volleys of musketry by the Divisions.
After close of the function for the day, the Paramount Chief, Divisional chiefs, Asafoatseme, Elders and the people, return home accompanied by the Youth Associations and Benevolent Societies with songs, drumming and jubilation, Cinema shows, and Grand Ball Dances are attended in the evening, till daybreak of Sunday when non-denominational open air church services is held at that same venue of the Durbar to give praises and thanks to the Almighty God for His abundant blessing for success of the festival.
The following week days, Monday to Thursday are occupied with recreational activities including Boat Racing, River Excursion, Football Matches and greetings o individuals and bidding good-bye to each other with happy memories of the year.