The Four Divisions and Sixteen Clans of Tanyigbe.

The Four Divisions and Sixteen Clans of Tanyigbe.

Tanyigbe is made up of four divisions and sixteen clans. The four divisions in order of seniority are Anyigbe, Etoe, Atidze and Dzaƒe.
 Here some information on the four divisions.
We begin the series with Anyigbe. The name Anyigbe literally means “down the hill” or “lower-end”. Some of the divisions in Tanyigbe acquired their names by where their forebears first settled when we arrived at Gborxome (the last settlement before our present site). 
As you may recall, the people of Tanyigbe made several stopovers on our journey from Togo (Ŋɔtsie) to our current location. When we arrived at Gborxome, we stayed together in one space – note that back then, the population was much less than it is today, so we stayed together. The people of Anyigbe were said to have occupied the lower-end (Anyigbemɛ) of the settlement, thus the name.
Anyigbe is made up of four clans. In order of seniority, the clans are Kodivi, Anyidoto, Ʋlivi, and Deƒeme.

Kodivi Clan
The people of Kodivi are referred to as Kodiviwo or Kodivitɔwo, simply meaning the children or descendants of Kodi. Remember Kodi is the first Fiaga of Tanyigbe; Togbe Kodi Adiko I. The Kodivi clan is the senior-most clan in Anyigbe. Kodivi is the seat of the Fiaga (Paramountcy) of Tanyigbe, and that is my clan. Each clan is made up of a number of families; therefore, you will find people of different last names belonging to one clan. The family names in the Kodivi clan are Adiko, Adoe, Agordzo, Biney, Kette, Klu, and Ketetsie.  
Anyidoto Clan
The people of Anyidoto are referred to as Anyidototɔwo. History has it that at Gborxome, they settled close to the clay quarry where clay was being mined to build huts for dwelling. Anyidoto literally means the “edge of the clay quarry”. They are the second in seniority in Anyigbe. The Divisional chief and Divisional Queenmother of Anyigbe come from the Anyidoto clan; Togbe Kwami Akoto V and Mama Afua Amenɔvi Hiadzi I respectively.
Family names from the Anyidoto clan include Azumah, Kpodo, Hiadzi (Deh), Akoto, Fedieley, Xetor, Kagbe, Amevor, Morti, Agbovi, Fiagbor, Apaka, Atsutse, Fuadedzi, Kpetse, Amexo. And to add that my wife comes from the Anyidoto clan 😊
Ʋlivi Clan
The people of Ʋlivi are known to have a great voice for singing. They are also described as excellent whistlers. Ʋli is a bird that moves in multitudes singing and making beautiful whistling sounds. The people of Ʋlivi are said to have acquired their name from the Ʋli bird because of their melodious voice and prowess in singing and whistling. This talent of the Ʋliviwo attracted them to Togbe Kodi I, who invited them to stay with him, so they could sing for him while they also relay messages from him to his subjects and vice versa. The Ʋlivi clan became the Tsiamiga (Chief Linguist) of Tanyigbe, and they remain so to date. Family names in the Ʋlivi clan include Sunu, Wuttor, Asamoah, Bimah, Asem, Ankukumah, Adzasu and Bandoh.

Deƒeme Clan
The people of Deƒeme are referred to as Deƒemetowo. Deƒeme literally means house of palm trees. They acquired this name because of where they were located at Gborxome. Their settlement was filled with palm trees and the calming shade that came with it. Family names in the Deƒeme clan are Drah (Hini), Asem, Adzasu, Attah.

Though there are different families and clans in Anyigbe, we are all related in one way or the other. Some of the different surnames today can be traced back to one forefather. Many of us are cousins, siblings, in-laws etc. Anyigbe acquired the appellation “Adzasi Kotoko” – a slogan that describes us as united and a formidable force to reckon with. It is said that if you touch one, you touch all.  

The name Etoe was coined out of the Eʋe word “kɔtoe” meaning “edge” or “boundary”. The name Etoe evolved from the word kɔtoe because they were said to have occupied the edge/ boundary at one of our previous settlements.

Etoe is second in seniority in Tanyigbe; therefore, they hold the seat of the Dusimefia (right-hand Chief), and the Dusimefia is second in command in the Tanyigbe traditional area. Etoe has four clans. In order of seniority, the clans are Vovoevi, Sosoeme, Avonyi, and Adeblevi.
Vovoevi Clan
The people of Vovoevi are referred to as Vovoeviwo, meaning the children or descendants of Vovoe. Vovoe is the name of their ancestor who led them from Ŋɔtsie to Gborxome, so they were naturally referred to as children of Vovoe. The Vovoevi clan is the senior-most clan in Etoe, hence the seat of the Divisional Chief of Etoe. Togbe Ameworkunu Danku IV is the current Divisional Chief of Etoe and the Dusimefia of Tanyigbe. The Queen-mother of Etoe also hails from the Vovoevi clan, and Mama Akɔsia Danku III currently occupies that stool. Some family names of the Vovoevi clan are Danku, Agbo, Attamah, Dadzo, Kabo, Gamese, Agbeko, Anto, and Aponsa/Amponsah.   
Sosoeme Clan
The people of Sosoeme clan are known as Sosoemetɔwo. The name Sosoeme originates from the word “Sosoe”, meaning “gather around” or “settle with”. It is reported that when we arrived at Gborxome, Togbe Ableda and his family settled at Gbetreve, also known as Aɖagbe a little further away from the rest of the group. The Fiaga at the time, Togbe Kodi Adiko I, sent two elders to Togbe Ableda with the message that “no va bɔ sosoe ɖe ye ŋu” (come and gather around him) at Klɔbɔ (Gborxome) like the rest of the group had done. This narration explains the name Sosoemetɔwo and the clan’s name Sosoeme. Some family names in the Sosoeme clan are Ableda, Sonu, Agbesi, Anyormi, Akuaku, Dabi, Tiɖe, Boso, Apreku, Tenu, Anipanka, Hia, Tsah, Tsakadi, Golu, Anku, Letsu, Dzigbor, Koffie, Adika, Ameŋu, Gla, Agbemor, Ankuɖe, and Boafo.

Avonyi Clan
The people of the Avonyi clan are referred to as Avonyiwo, meaning people of Avonyi. The Avonyi clan derived their name from their initial location at Gborxome. It is reported that they settled at the bank of the Dayi River, giving them easy access to water. They were the envy of many for the convenience and ease with which water was available to them. They were described as living a stress-free life or living in a stress-free settlement (vovo anyi nɔnɔ or wó nɔ anyi le vovo mɛ); thus, the name Avonyi emerged. It is important to note that the river is dried out presently but there is evidence of its existence today. Family names in the Avonyi clan include Kpatsa, Prempeh, Sakyi, Aforkpe, Afordi, Akafia, Agbeɖuga, Azah, Danfo, Akortsu, Godzo, Korto, Kpatey, Anyormi, Kpeh, Bansah, Atipoe, Adzoʋu, Tsri, Aʋadzi, Ofori/ Foli, Kaga, Gbagbo, Debra, Adzavor, Dzah, Siama, Agortor, Sodzi, Adzimah, Wampah.

Adeblevi Clan
The people of Adeblevi are referred to as Adebleviwo, simply meaning the children or descendants of Adeble, their forefather. The name Adeble is said to have started as a nickname acquired by their forefather who was a hunter, from a proverb he was fond of: “ade ble xɔlɔ, meble na evia o”. To wit, a hunter may lie to his friend about his catch, but he cannot lie to his children about it because they will see the game for themselves. In other words, you can deceive the public about your issues, but you cannot lie to your family, implying that the truth will always be known. Family names found in the Adeblevi clan include Asigbee, Agbagidi, Mordzi, Aƒesi, Akumah, Aza-Motte, Hlorbu, Matti, Tusah, Fia, Dake, Akoblodzi, Anyidoho, Abotsi-Kobli, Seddoh, Kotoku-Besah, Akpa, Eɖegbe, Sogomati, Agbagede and Seɖofia.

The people of Etoe pride themselves in their numbers and their capacity. They say they have the men and women and are up to the task in anything they set themselves to do. This earned them the appellation, Genɛawo; miɛsu te le ntsu kple nyɔnu me. 

The name Atidze is an Eʋe word that literally means “red tree”. It is reported that at one of our many settlements on our journey from Ŋɔtsie to our present location, the people of Atidze led by Togbe Adrikpanya, settled a little further away from the group. 

Togbe Kodi Adiko I and some of his elders invited Togbe Adrikpanya to enquire why they were located at that distance. He responded that: “mí mele didiƒe o, miele nku kpɔƒe (within sight) le atidzie (red tree) ɖome”, meaning “we are not that far, we are just within sight under the red tree”.

 This is how they acquired the name Atidze and the appellation Kpɔƒeawo. 

Atidze is the third in seniority in Tanyigbe; therefore, they hold the seat of the Miamefia (left-hand Chief). The Miamefia is third in command in the Tanyigbe traditional area. Atidze has the enviable record of being the only division in Tanyigbe with five clans. In order of seniority, the clans are Gbordzeme, Agbekavi, Atsiaƒe, Dodokpo and Kportokoe.

Gbordzeme Clan
The people of the Gbordzeme clan are known as Gbordzemetɔwo. The name Gbordzeme is an Eʋe phrase that literally means “in the red town”. The first settlement of the Gbordzeme clan was in an area that had reddish soil/ clay (anyikodzie), giving the town a red outlook, thus they acquired the name Gbordzeme. The Gbordzeme clan is the senior-most clan in Atidze, thus it is the seat of the Divisional Chief of Atidze and the Miamefia (left-hand chief) of Tanyigbe. 
You will recall that last year, the Divisional Chief of Atidze, Togbe Kwami Adrikpanya Agubretu V embarked on a royal journey to the land of his ancestors. Pending the installation of a new Divisional Chief from the Gbordzeme clan, Togbe Kpe Amanu IV of the Agbekavi clan (next in seniority in Atidze) is acting as the Divisional Chief of Atidze.

 The current Queen-mother of Atidze also comes from the Gbordzeme clan and she is Mama Ama Agbenkuma III.
 Some family names in the Gbordzeme clan are Abiwu, Gle, Afemor, Anku, Agorkor, Adeka, Fenu, Shiagbor, Kpekpo, Alowu, Boama, Dogbe, Agbavor, Gbekle, Agbonu, Klu, Sedzramedo, Amu, Adjei
Agbekavi Clan
The people of Agbekavi are referred to as Agbekaviwo, meaning the children or descendants of Agbeka, their forefather. They are the second in seniority in Atidze and therefore the Dusimefia of Atidze. The chief of Agbekavi clan is currently acting as the Divisional chief of Atidze in the absence of a substantive chief from the Gbordzeme clan. Some family names found in the Agbekavi clan are Amanu, Atta, Kumatey, Akposoe, Adjadi, Kete, Dansu, Ayittey, Klo, Gade, Dadi, Adadzi, Kofitse, Agorku.
Atsiaƒe Clan
It is reported that the people of Atsiaƒe or Atsiaƒetɔwo initially settled in an area that was filled with cashew (atsia) trees hence the name. Atsiaƒe means “house of cashew”. Though Atsiaƒe is a bonafide clan of Atidze, during the relocation from Gborxome to our current site, the people of Atsiaƒe decided to settle near the main road close to Etoe, while the Atidze clan stayed behind the kabakaba mountains. One of the main reasons for this decision was that almost all their farmlands are close to them. 

The people of Atsiaƒe are said to hold a taboo that forbids having their bathing water mix up with that of other people; thus, they were conscious of where they settled to prevent their bathwater from sipping out to mix up with others. Some family names found in Atsiafe are Sagate, Amenya, Motte, Tseklu, Tsrim, Akpatsa, Dzasi, Abrey, Attor, Amenuvor, Dzoe, Dzandu and Ekah.
Dodokpo Clan
At one of our earlier settlements, the Dodokpo clan settled near a short Baobab tree (Dodoti kpui), so they were associated with the “dodoti kpui”, and eventually, it translated into the name, “Dodokpo”. The people are referred to as Dodokpotɔwo, meaning the people of Dodokpo. Some family names from Dodokpo clan are Sokpoe, Klu, Akumah, Akorli, Akoe, Koto, Kpe, Gbetsi, Xadzi, Ntiamoah

There is an interesting history about the Dodokpo clan; the people of Dzifadzi-Dunyo are descendants of the Dodokpo clan. You may recall from the history of Tanyigbe that the people of Dzifadzi-Dunyo near Vakpo are descendants of Tanyigbe. 

This is the story: at one of our settlements on the journey from Ŋɔtsie, two sons of Togbe Agutsime (of the Dodokpo clan), Letsu and Letsa went on a hunting expedition and did not return before the group had to change location. They left without them because they were unsure if the brothers were still alive.

 Upon their return, the two brothers could not find the group, so they stayed there and began a new family that expanded into a large community. The government later relocated them during the construction of the Akosombo Dam to their current site near Vakpo. They maintained the name Dzifadzi (name of the location near the volta river bank) and added Dunyo to it so the new site is called Dzifadzi-Dunyo. They did this to maintain their identity and connection to Tanyigbe. We have since reunited with them and relate like people of the same ancestry. 

Kportokoe Clan
The ancestors of Kportokoe were said to be very rich traders from Peki Adzokoe in the Volta Region who originally hailed from Pekyi in the Ashanti region. They were guests of Togbe Adrikpanya (who became the first chief of Atidze) in Asorglor near Tavieƒe. They came to Tanyigbe in order to be closer to Togo where they traded with their partners. Once upon a time, one of them called Oppong, went on a journey and when Togbe Adrikpanya enquired about his whereabouts, the response he got in Twi was that “Oppong atu kwan” meaning “Oppong has travelled”.

 They therefore began referring to them as the “Oppong atu kwan” people. This Akan phrase evolved to become the name "Kportokoe" today. People of the Kportokoe clan (Kportokoetɔwo) were originally part of Gbordzeme clan until they were granted full clanship or clan status as the fifth clan of Atidze during the reign of Togbe Boso Agubretu II after they bailed Tanyigbe out, by making a special contribution in one of the numerous wars fought at the time. Some family names in the Kportokoe clan are Dzawu, Addo, Motte, Penni, Aborʋu, Teprey, Aŋeze, Dzansi, Krakani.

As earlier explained, the people of Atidze, respond to the appellation, Kporƒeawo; mí me bɛ o (we are not hidden). 

Atidze is affectionately referred to as "Jerusalem".

The name Dzaƒe literally means “house of Dza” (Dza ƒe). Dza is one of the forefathers of Dzaƒe. It is reported that the people of Dzaƒe were feared warriors and hunters. They protected and secured the back of the Tanyigbe troupe during wars, thus, they formed the rear contingent on the battlefield. 

This, in addition to their being the fourth division in the Tanyigbe traditional structure earned them the appellation “adexemegbeawo, wóme ƒoa gbe o”. Meaning, they safeguard the back and they never disappoint.

Dzaƒe is the fourth in seniority in Tanyigbe and therefore hold the seat of the Megbefia. The Megbefia is fourth in command in the Tanyigbe Traditional Area. Dzaƒe is made up of three clans: in order of seniority, the clans are Dzaƒeho, Dzaƒenyigbe and Agudza.

Dzaƒeho Clan
The people of the Dzaƒeho clan are known as Dzaƒehowoe or Dzaƒehotɔwo. Dzaƒeho earned the name from a popular saying of one of their forefathers, who loved the saying, “hokor sue ade ko me nye, gake mega katse kplim o” meaning “I am just a small heap of weeds but do not mess with me”. “Ho” or “Hokor” in Eʋe means a pile or gathering of weeds after the clearing of a bushy area. These pile/heap of weeds can become the hiding place for harmful creatures and reptiles like snakes, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes etc., therefore if you lift the debris without caution, you could get bitten by any of those creatures. Their forefather proudly likened himself to the “Ho” or “Hokor” in such a way that the clan became known as the Dzaƒeho.

The Dzaƒeho clan is the senior-most clan in Dzaƒe, thus it is the seat of the Divisional Chief of Dzaƒe and the Megbefia of Tanyigbe. Both the Divisional Chief and the Divisional Queenmother of Dzaƒe come from Dzaƒeho and the current leaders are, Togbe Yao Sunu II and Mama Yawa Sunu II respectively. 

Some family names in the Dzaƒeho clan are Sunu, Gbortsu, Anku, Tigoe, Agbleze, Akorli, Dogbe, Amega, Asempa, Avornyo, Lokko, Awuku, Ketto, Detsetsu, Obimpe, Kwao, Koto, Fiable.

Dzaƒenyigbe Clan 
The people of Dzaƒenyigbe are reƒerred to as Dzaƒenyigbetɔwo or Dzaƒenyigbeawo. They acquired this name because of where they occupied at one of our many settlements. They occupied the lower part (anyigbeme) of Dzaƒe and that is how they got the name, Dzaƒenyigbe. 

Some family names found in the Dzaƒenyigbe clan are Amasu, Dake, Abiwu, Kofitse, Motte, Atike, Yorgbe, Akortsu, Lovi, Hovi, Gba. 

Agudza Clan
The people of Agudza are referred to as Agudzaawoe. They earned the name Agudza because it is reported that, at Gborxome (Klɔbɔ), they were uniquely located at a place that made it possible for them to be the first to see the sun rise (agu-dze) in the mornings thus the name.

Some family names found in Agudza are Debrah, Abredu, Boafo, Battah, Adzei, Amekorgbe, Ŋuake, Ankukpuie, Koeni, Kpo, Adzatsi, Osei, Akubia, Gagba. 

Dzaƒe is also known as “dome a bra” an Akan phrase that means “lɔm nava” in Eʋe and “come to me if you love me” in English. 

This name came about when an elder of Dzaƒe called Dzakpli from Dzaƒeho who was the first Tanyigbe person to move from Gborxome to our current location put up an inscription at his settlement that read "dome a bra". 

Dzakpli was the first person to move when Tanyigbe decided to relocate to our current location after all arrangements were put in place. He moved to the current Dzaƒe location sometime in 1928. He settled near the big mango tree that still stands today at Dzaƒe. Dzakpli was followed by the rest of the Dzaƒe community shortly after. Then Etoe moved and settled close to Dzaƒe initially before moving to their current location. Atidze followed suit to their current location whilst Anyigbe came last to where they currently are now. 

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