The Avikam People of Ivory Coast .

The Avikam People of Ivory Coast .

Avikam People can be found in Ivory Coast and they are also known as Avekom , Brignan, Brinya , Gareth , Kwakwa or Lahu People . 
 Avikam people are part of the Akan People of Ivory Coast and they are related to the Aowin People of Ivory Coast , Abbe People of Ivory Coast , Evalue People of Ivory Coast , Attle People of Ivory Coast , Alladin People of Ivory coast and others part of the Akan subgroups . 
 They grow crops such as coconut , banana , orange , watermelon , palm oil and different kinds of crops .  
Avikam work for large producers of rubber and palm oil and It is believed Avikam people were originally Denkyira and Ahanta People which they traced their origins to Denkyiraman and Ahanta land under the leadership of Nanan Kodjo Gbadja in Twi which is Nana Kojo Gbadja he led Avikam which they migrated from Gold Coast Present day Ghana and moved to Present day Togo , Dahomey Present day Benin before settling in Present day Ivory Coast as their final settlement .
 Avikam share common custom , cultural practices and traditional beliefs of the Akan People of Ghana and Ivory Coast .  
They are located in the western lagoon region of Southeast Ivory Coast and there are areas collectively known as lagunaires , that contains some dozen people speaking around 15 languages and Avikam were part of the Denkyira Kingdom and Ahanta Kingdom . Denkyira was considered to be the first Akan state to become an empire and the largest State around the 1695 .  
The Capital was Abankesieso between 1600 and 1690 , Denkyira was the dominant power in the south western coast of Present day Ghana . The Asante Kingdom was considered to be a vassal of Denkyira hene Ntim Gyakari requested hire taxes from Asantehene Osei Tutu I.   
This action led to the war , In 1701 , Denkyirahene Ntim Gyakari was defeated by Asantes during the battle of Feyiase . During the reign of Denkyirahene Boa Amponsem I around the 1600s , Avikam migrated from Gold Coast Present day Ghana before the war took place between Denkyira , Asen and Twifo- Hema . The goal of these struggle was to keep open trading routes to the peninsula Ashantiland .  
The Denkyira State dominated their neighboring Akyem and Akwamu and According to other account on Avikam Akan People of Ivory Coast , they are a subgroup of the Akans originally from Gold Coast Present day Ghana who were originally Denkyiras and Ahantas who migrated from Gold Coast Present day Ghana then crossed Present day Togo , Dahomey Present day Benin before settling in Present day Ivory between the 17th Century.
 Furthermore  Avikam language also known as Avekom , Brignan , Kwakwa or Lahu is a language spoken by Avikams which is mixed up of Twi , Alladian , some Ahanta in the Lagoo region and on the edge of the Gulf of Guinea near the town of Grand- Lahou . 
It is claimed some Avikams traced their ancestry to Nana Ewuarde Basa of Abankseieso whose long hair was cut off by Nana Appiah Brenyah in Denkyira and they traced their origins to the ancient Capital of Denkyira which is Abannkeseieso.
They also sell palm and most of them do farming and fishing , Avikam speakers was estimated at 21,000 in 1993 . The term “ Lagoon” was given to them as a fact of being installed around the vast lagoon complex by the lagoon Ebrie , Oualadine , Aby , Tano also referred as Tando , Ehu , Potou , Aghien and the Grand Lahou . These are Abe , Maury , Tchofou , Abeve , Khos , Abidji , Aboure , Ehe , Ehive , Ossoun , Akye , Lepin , Bodin , Ketin , Adioukrou , Avikam , Alladian , Bidjan , Kwe , Songon , Niangon , Yopougon , Bya , Nonkwa , Bobo , Adiapo .  
Others believed Avikam , Alladian songs resemble both Akan and Ewe Including songs and culture . According to Paul Leba’s account on Avikam People of Ivory Coast
They are a population of Akan People living mainly in the lagoons and bordering the gulf of Guinea , near the town of grand- Lahou. Avikam People are also known as Avekom , Brinya , Gbanda or Kwakwa and Lahu or Lahou people.
 It is believed after the creation of avadivy , four fishermen went to the sea , went astray and landed at birou near the lower region.
 Avikam later stayed at Zrigneba and then on their way back , they discovered the site of grand- lahou under their legend Kodjo Gbadja which is translated as Kojo Gbadja in Twi others said he was a Denkyira and Avikam ‘s legend who spotted using a grove .  
A few days after the pioguiers told them of avadivry , a Chief of Avikam of Ahanta ancestry known as Nanan Bazale which is spelled as Nana Bazale in Twi , Nanan Bazale moved his people which is the Avikam instead of the grove spotted by Adventures . The Avikams stop at Present day Afouava before setting up in Kpandadon near lagoon which It is believed to have take place towards the end of the 14th Century . The Founders of Kpandandon were mostly Denkyira , Baoule , Ahanta and Alladian .  
These Alladian from avadivry meet in the region and Others believed Avikam have started their migration from Gold Coast Present day Ghana then crossed Present day Togo , Dahomey Present day Benin and settled in Present day Ivory Coast which began somewhere in the end of the 14th Century. 
 The Kpanda founded several villages such as gin gindon , bodi gbata, muakudon , Adro , tegbe . The Akouri created villages such as noumouzou , djateke , Akre - Nguessadon , Amsan- Nguessandon , Degnidon , Eboukoutchi , Toukouzou , Krafi , Gnagoussou and Afouava . 
It is believed In the 18th Century another Akan migration from which are the Ahanta who are now Avikam and Avikam of Denkyira heritage migrated to Present day Ivory Coast from Present day Ghana moving southwards at the time of the Invasion of Agni Sanwi , and especially with the destruction of Kokkola Namoue , Some Avikams traced their ancestry to Ahantaland and Denkyiraman in Present day Ghana .  
According to the Oral tradition , It is said their population confirmed they were part with other Akand under Kpanyi’s brother Ahanta native and this aspect of the history Indicated that they founded Brafedon and Samoua. 
 Avikam are divided into 6 sub-tribes such as Kpada , Akouri , Afe , Brafe , Samoua and Likpilazie . It is said the dialect of Avikan many obatined from Twi , Alladian , Ahanta , Mokyiobo , Agoua , Agni and dida language. Avikam used phrases which derived from the Twi language such as Ogya but among Avikam is spelled as Edja meaning fire , Agyinamoa which is cut they spelled as Ajarawa or Agyinawa .  
Avikam families Include Akroui , Braffe , Kpanda, Likpilassie and Sawa have Intronise which is the Supreme leader or emi sa meaning people’s guide . Avikam Culture , they have day name just like every Akans in Ghana and Ivory Coast and they carved face masks and as well as human figures which include gold , bronze and Ivory .  
Kente is common among them is referred as Lappa or Pagne which they brought the Kente with them from what is now Ghana to what is now Ivory Coast . The Akan version “ Kente “ meaning Baket and the Ewe version “ “ Kente is Kete “. Ke meaning to spread or open and te meaning tighten or press . According to Shuddy John ‘s account , Mapoka is actually a traditional dance which originated from Avikam mostly performed by women shaking their rear end side to side , facing away from audience while bent over .  
Mapoka became well known many did not know that Mapoka has it origins in Ivory Coast and it is perfomed by Avikam People , Mapoka dance became hit in Ghana , other parts of Africa many believed is from Congo which there is no evidence to prove Its Congolese origin being claimed, Mapoka dance is similar to the belly dance .  

The fundamental differenec is that in belly dance , It is performed while upright and facing the audience , whereas Mapouka is performed more often .  
In Avikam Concept , They believed in a Supreme being which is considered as Creator and river Goddess they are accompained by their Ancestors and a Traditional Priest inteprets the words of the aancestors and river Goddess they are consulted to heal sickness and human disasters .  
Avikam People celebrate festivals such as Yam Festival , Masks Festivals and Mask Festivals is celebrated to pay homage to their ancestors and wear colorful constumes futhermore , They perform cultural dances such as Goli dance perfomed by Avikam and Baoule People of Ivory Coast , Mapoka dance , war dance and different kinds of cultural dances .

Avikam Naming Systems .
Names for 3rd , 10th borns , for 3rd born is Mensa or N’Guessan , 10 th born is Broudou or Boudou but the Akan People of Ghana used Badu instead of Broudou or Boudou . Below are also Day naming systems from Monday to Sunday there is name for both male and female born on Monday , Tuesday , Wednesday , Thursday , Friday , Saturday and Sunday .

I . Monday Born : Male - Kodjo    

Female : Adjowa / Adjua

Twi Version : Male name is Kojo/ Kwadwo

Twi Version : Female is Adjoa/ Adwoa.

ll. Tuesday Born : Male - Komlan

Female : Abla.

Twi Version : Male name is Kwabena

Twi Version : Female is Abena

ll. Wednesday Born : Male - Koukou.

Female : Akoua/Aku .

Twi Version : Male name is Kwaku /Kwaku .

Twi Version : Female name is Akua.

Thursday Born : Male - Yao / Kwao

Female : Afi

Twi Version : Male name is Yaw.

Twi Version : Female name is Yaa.

Friday Born : Male - Koffie / Koffi .

Female : Aya .

Twi Version :Male : Kofi .

Twi Version : Afia.

Saturday Born : Male - Kouame / Komi .

Female : Akissi

Twi Version : Kwame .

Twi Version : Female is Ama

Sunday Born : Male - Koassi / Kouassi

Female : Akosi /Asi .

Twi Version : Male is Kwasi / Kwesi .

Twi Version : Female is Akosua .

Research by Selikem Okatakyie
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