alfred burton ellis : surf dieties of west africa, 1887
For other reports from West Africa, see:
1812 Henry Meredith : Canoe
Surf Riding on Gold Coast, Africa.
1835 James Edward Alexander : West Africa.
1861 Thomas J. Hutchinson : Surfboard Riding in Gabon, Africa.
1876 Hugh Dyer : Surf Boats in West Africa.
1891 The Graphic : Surf Boats, Ghana.
1895 C. S. Smith : Batanga Canoes, West Africa.
1949 Jean Rouch : Surf Riding at Dakar, Senegal.
As with the land,
so it is also with the sea, which has its own local spirits.
As a rule, every portion of the shore where the surf breaks unusually heavily, or where the presence of rocks causes the water to become broken, and, in consequence, dangerous for canoes, has its local spirit.
The raison d'itre of these imaginary beings is hence, at first sight, more easy of comprehension than is that of those of the land.
In the roar and dash of the surf there is a sense of motion and power, and the upsetting of canoes and the drowning of fishermen or
bathers is taken as proof of the existence of the malignant spirits.
Page 45 [LOCAL DEITIES.]
is the god of a shoal or reef between Cape Coast Castle and Acquon Point,
on which, in bad weather, the surf breaks very dangerously.
Formerly he was considered malignant, but now he is considered friendly, and as preventing the approach of foes by sea.
He is of diminutive stature and black in colour.
(said to imply "where some one spits." (oh enteffi, v., to spit),
is the god of the surf which breaks heavily between the landing-place at
Cape Coast and the suburb of Omanfo.
He is malignant and of human shape, but monstrous in size.
He is white in colour, but has the woolly head of a Negro.
(the name of a snake-like fish) is the god of the surf which breaks
upon the landing-place.
As it is not usually heavy there, he is not considered a very powerful god.
Formerly he was considered malicious, but not malignant ; upsetting canoes, and causing fishermen to lose the result of their labour, rather than
Now, however, he is considered friendly, and it is the wave that he raises which brings the canoe safely to the shore.
He is of the colour of wood-ashes, of human shape, but very small and round, with a short and broad face.
The Tshi-speaking Peoples of the Gold Coast of West Africa
Their religion, manners, customs, laws, language, etc.
Chapman and Hall, London, 1887.