Unless the rains that give life to every living creature, including the dog, stops wetting the earth, nothing can tear the cordial relations that the broth of a dog has succeeded in establishing between the Dagaabas and Frafras in Ghana.
My observation of the inextricable bond of affection and goodwill between these two tribes finds expression in this message shared by the two groups: “as long as it rains, as long as the dog lives, the Dagaabas and Frafras shall know no hate in their midst”.
Indeed, until one experiences the friendly verbal contestation for superiority amongst them and the humour that is usually triggered out of such exchanges at the mere meeting of members of these great tribes, one may not know there exists a past tradition that has been instrumental in cementing a thick bond of harmony between these tribes. Their unblemished friendship is unique, coming against the backdrop of violence and intolerance persistently displayed by some tribes in Africa that easily find a shred of disagreement a fertile ground to plug the eyes of one another.
The spirit of cordiality between the two groups merits the description a ‘super bond tribal alliance’ which is worth emulating at a time society is increasingly becoming polarized along ethnic and political lines.
The intriguing story about the two dates back to several centuries. History has it that the two, believed to have co-existed more peacefully than any other tribe in northern Ghana, trace their roots to a common ancestor whose offspring produced the current Dagaabaa-Frafra generation.
It is held that severe famine hit two brothers, representing the two tribes. They journeyed with their dog in search of food until their hopes of survival became thin. They, therefore, agreed to sacrifice their dog for a meal. The memory of this life-saving agreement to end the life of their dear dog for their common good has remained with their descendants who connect and honour one another with the expression “abalaaravu”, which means, “dog laughing at fire”.
It is no wonder that a gathering of the tribesmen and women of the two is climaxed with the, preparation and consumption of many varieties of sumptuous northern dishes and zealous feasting on the steamed meat of the dog.
The celebration of the long standing relations of the Dagaabas and Frafras has taken a national dimension for a long time with a fresh impetus being given to the celebration each year. All celebrations across the country are crowned with the organization of games in Accra under a defined theme that reinforces the spirit of the two tribes – friendship.
This year’s grand event slated for September 2, 2017, at the El Wak Stadium, Accra, comes under the theme: Consolidating the gains of mutual fraternity in Ghana’s diamond jubilee year, the Dagaaba-Frafra style. Thousands, including friends and admirers, will be converging on the venue for a treat of their lives.
Among the activities earmarked for the day are football and volleyball games, tug of peace and egg and spoon race with MTN, FirstBanC, Guinness Ghana Ltd, Accra Brewery Ltd, Voltic Minerals, Distell Ghana Ltd and Cocoa Processing Company as the main sponsors.