The Migratory Story of HaveLike the other tribesmen of the Ewes, the people of Have migrated from the Sudan, travelled through Ketu in the Niger, and lived in Notsie or Glime. Forced by the tyranny and inhuman treatment of King Agorkorli, the Ewes escaped from Notsie in 1670. During their flight, the Haveawo travelled westwards and first settled at Loglota in the Republic of Togo. They then moved to Havega also in Togo and later settled in Adaklu.
Unfavourable circumstances, primarily, lack of good drinking water made them leave Adaklu and continued their journey westwards. They crossed the river Dayi and settled at Tsawegbe by the banks of the river.
Later, they were attracted by the vibrant valley between the luxuriant mountain range and the river. This coupled with the presence of many springs from the mountain made them move nearer to the mountain, to settle in their present location.
Composition of HaveHave is made up of five townships namely
Etoe in the south, and Akleme, Atsiame, Agorme and Domefe in the north, collectively referred to as Gboxome. Etoe is made up of three sub-divisions, namely, Etoedzigbe, Ablodi and Tegbevi.
There is in addition a number of settler communities doted along the banks of river Dayi. These include Aveyoyoe, Gadrikofe, Adzekofe, Ando numbers 1, 2 and 3
ReligionPrior to the advent of Christianity, the people of Have worshipped an earth god “Anyigbazodzia” or “Wono” or “Miano Anyigbato”, the supreme god which controlled the earth with all the shrubs, food crops and other plants. The fetish day was “Asiamigbe”, which happened to be the market day. Tendedu was the war god that protects the people of Have and her allies at battlefield. The fetish day was Asiamigbe or Domesigbe Fida. The fetish god of birth and regeneration was Nyito, which protected conception and looked over all expectant mothers. Other deities were the following and their appellations:
Role in WarsHave became prominent during the Ashanti besiege of 1869-1871. Valiant soldiers of Have, who became heroes in the Ashanti Wars led the allied troops of surrounding villages including Anfoeta, Anfoega, Tafi, Logba, Awudome, Tsrukpe, and Nyagbo. Nyagbo, initially led the Ashantis to Avatime, but later joined the allies. The momentous battle was fought on Friday, 26th July 1869, at Goviefe Agodome, described by the Ashantis as Kubekro. The Haveawo opened fire at about 8:30 am. Traditionally, this day was a Domesigbe. The people of Ho also fought another battle against the Ashantis in the evening of the same day at 3 pm. This day became an important oath “Haveawo fe Domesigbe” for the people of Have.
Have and her allies contributed a lot to the success of the Taviefe wars of 1888. Her leadership in these battles was evidenced by linguistic promulgation that “the allied battalions would never move unless Have came to the fore-front”. The allies had to wait for Have at Kpale, near Bame for an advance to wage a throng attack upon the enemy.
Have During the Colonial EraTogoland became a German colony in 1847. She shared boundary at the east with Dahomey (Benin), a French colony and in the west with Gold Coast, an English colony. Have, and all the surrounding villages lying in the valley between Weto and river Dayi and beyond to the Volta were part of this colony. Kpeve, located about five miles away from Have was an important settlement, being the border town where the Gold Coast and Togoland shared boundary.
Have, as a result of her leadership role during the allied military campaigns, was given the recognition as one of the seats of paramountcy by the surrounding villages of Tsoxo, Botoku, Tsrukpe, Wusuta, Goviefe, Woadze, Agate, Kpeve, Anfoeta, Hlefi, Bame, Todome, Etodome, Kpale, Nyagbo, Tafi and Logba. Consequently, Have became the centre at which administrative instructions were given by colonial rulers. During the administration of Captain Mansfield, the then District Commissioner at Ho (Galenkutodzi) and later that of Captain Lily (based at Kpandu), Have became a sub-centre at which all court cases were heard. The Fiaga of Have was empowered to adjudicate and preside over all court cases in the absence of the District Commissioners. He was also given the power to supervise the stamping of guns, selling of guns and gunpowder in the various communities. Some of the prominent paramount chiefs of Have during this era were Togbe Asiam, Togbe Agbale and Togbe Yaokuma.
Timber for Amedzofe SeminaryTogbe Agbale, the Paramount Chef was approached by a German Missionary, Holtzefel in 1896 to offer wood for the roofing of the Seminary blocks. Togbe Agbale granted a concession freely from Havega, a forest near River Dayi.
Revolt Against the German Administration
During the time of German administration of the Mandated Territory of Togoland, the people of Have and surrounding villages expressed strong dissatisfaction with the draconian German rules. As a result the following German Administrative Officers: Dr Gron, based at Misahoe, Pearl stationed at Kpando and “Galenku” based at Ho convened a large meeting of almost all the people in the territory. The meeting was held at Misahoe, near Agome Tomegbe. The purpose of this meeting was for the German Administrators to extract a vote of confidence from the people through a sham “referendum” in support of their high-handed tyrannical leadership in the territory. Considering Have as the leader, the question was put to the Paramount Chief, Togbe Agbale. Contrary to the German expectation, the Linguist, Tsiami Asima (Adzasima) answered on behalf of the people that they (the people) were all truly dissatisfied with the German rule. This stance infuriated the Germans who arrested Asima immediately and charged him for being the ringleader. He was jailed for three years. He survived the jail term. It was therefore not surprising that when he died, all the chiefs from the area came to his funeral in order to pay him their last respects.
Early Missionary ActivityTo understand the message of Agadevi, it is important to posit it within the historical context, the religious and social setting within which the event occurred. It is particularly important to go down memory lane to envisage the psyche of the people and how that affected their perception of the occurrence. The role played by the Bremen mission at the time in this regard cannot be ignored.
The Early ChurchBremen Missionaries from the then West Germany (Nord-deutsche mission) brought Christianity to Have in 1897. At the time, Have, like most parts of the present day Volta Region was part of the German colony. In 1907, the missionaries built a mission house and a school with the latter located between Gboxome and Etoe.
The early converts to the new faith moved from their homes to settle at mission quarters named Kpodzi. The relocation was precipitated by the need for the new converts to have freedom to practise their new faith without any interference from the traditionalists.
From 1907 to 1914, the following people worked for the church and the new school.
1. Timothy Agbi from Gbi Bla
2. Henry Kumah Gakpada from Ve Gbodome
3. Daniel Adinyira from Amedzofe
4. David Kodzo Ziga from Have Etoe.
Special credit must be given to the first Presbyter of the church, Mr David Kodzo Ziga. He was smart and performed his duties diligently for many years. Have produced many educated people during this era of German rule. Some of them included;
1. Erhardt Feddy- a teacher
2. Adolf Ansah- a teacher
3. Ferdinand Kokutse- a rail worker
4. Jonathan Agro- a pharmacist
5. Christian Anyomi- customs collector
6. Rheinfried Menye- accountant
7. Barnabas Tsekpetse-teacher
8. Joshua Azila Tornu- teacher and pianist
9. Franz Ahadome- Engineer
10. Renatus Ahadome- carpenter and pianist
The church suffered a jolt during the First World War. It however rebounded strongly during the period immediately before and after Agadevi, particularly, during the era of Teacher Do. Mr Clement Klu and Rebecca Gledo were the presbyters of the revived church at Etoe. They were assisted by Simon Adeti, Gustav Zente, Jonas Ziga and Emmanuel Aduama. Mr Siegfried Koso and Victoria Tatsi were the presbyters at Gboxome. Christians from both Etoe and Gboxome were congregating at Etoe on Sundays for church service at the mission school. Occasionally, however, the congregation moved to Gboxome on Sundays for joint service. Renatus Ahadome led the church for weekday morning services at Gboxome. The joint church choir numbered eighty-eight (88).
The Effect of the World WarsThe First World War disrupted the development process of Togoland and Have was no exception. Missionary activity was truncated. All schools were closed down and missionaries recalled. The defeat of the Germans resulted in the artificial partitioning of Togoland by the League of Nations, with the French taking the eastern part whilst the western portion (present day Volta Region) was administered by the British as a trust colony. Togoland became an orphaned colony. There was a big mess. Trade, education, finance, development projects and missionary activity, were all disrupted.
The war greatly affected the early Christians. They were disorganised. Those from Gboxome left to settle between Agome and Akleme. Those from Etoe drifted closer to Etoe. The old Kpodzi then became desolate and deserted.
Captain Mansfield, the first English District Commissioner was posted to Kpalime Agome to administer Togoland. He was later transferred to Ho in 1920 as a District Commissioner for the English portion of Togoland. He was followed by the legendary, no-nonsense Captain C. C Lily, who was the second District Commissioner. Captain Lily sited his headquarters at Kpando. Captain Lily initiated and completed a myriad of development projects. His outstanding dedication and excellent performance made him gain the accolade “The Governor of Togoland”. It was through his instrumentality that many major roads and bridges were constructed in the territory. Captain Lily was stationed at Kpando. It was during his era that the landslide occurred.
Have Infant Schools and D.K Do’s Arrival
One immediate effect of the war on education was the disorientation of the people. Schools were taught in the German language. Converting immediately into English became an uphill task. However, things began to change for the better when Mr Aikins was posted to Amedzofe in 1920. He quickly gathered the former German teachers and took them through six months’ intensive English training in order to equip them for their new role. He was an excellent education officer. He re-equipped the former German-trained teachers up to English standards comparable to what pertained in Akropong. These teachers were then sent to open new schools, known as infant schools.
The first infant school was started in Have Etoe in 1921 by Siegfried Kende from Agate. Mr K. K. Nyalemegbe from Peki Dzake was also teaching at Gboxome during the same period. School teachers who succeeded Mr Kende included:
1. Erhardt Feddy from Have
2. Christophe Bobo from Avatime Vane
3. G.N Adae from Awudome Tsito and
4. D.K Do from Botoku.
Mr Do, during whose era the AGADEVI occurred was transferred from Awudome Tsito on February 15, 1932 to be in charge of both the infant school and the church. He took over from Mr Adae. At the time, the church was under the Leklebi District, supervised by Rev S.D Buatsi. Rev Elias Awuma was the Moderator whilst Rev R. S Kwami was the Synod Clerk.
The school was housed in the old Bremen Mission compound. He had in all 36 pupils. The school was up to class three after which the pupils would have to continue in Agate. It is this school which was nearly washed away by the floods of 1933 landslide. By faith, determination, hard work and commitment coupled with foresight on the part of both the successive school administrators and the town folks, this school grew from its humble beginnings to become a formidable fully fledged school in the area known as Have E.P Schools. This school produced the crème de la crème of intellectuals, diplomats, top public servants, university professors, accountants, medical doctors, lawyers etc who are playing key roles not only in the development of Have but also in national and international circles. It was a small seed that was planted by early missionary activity, divinely watered by God Almighty through the instrumentality, inspiration and spirituality of Agadevi; it has become a mighty fruitful tree.
Teacher D.K Do’s leadership was unparalleled. He challenged the people to embrace the new faith in a very pragmatic way. There was a rapid growth in the church with a strong wind of evangelism. The Church Choir alone numbered 88 members, a very unlikely situation today!
On his posting to Have, and unlike his predecessors, he accepted to stay at the deserted mission house, directly opposite the cemetery. The people saw his faith in God. He led the congregation to construct a road near his residence. This road must necessarily pass through a fetish groove belonging to Miano-Anyigbator, the most powerful deity in the town. The road was in preparation for an impending church festival which would be attended by many dignitaries and visitors. The construction of the road led to an unforgettable clash with the chief fetish priest, Anku Tsitsia of Agome. For desecration of the shrine and in order to pacify the deity, the priest imposed a hefty fine money, corn flour, six bottles of gin, palm oil, salt, pepper and £16 on the teacher. After unsuccessful attempts to explain the significance of the road to priests, the teacher and his church elders left the fetish priests in a stalemate. No fine was paid and contrary to the admonition of the priests, the Christians used the road, which today has become a useful one. Nothing ever happened to any road user. Through these incidents, the faith of the people was galvanised. No wonder, when Agadevi occurred, it brought untold devastation and desecration to this groove whilst not a hair was touched at the mission quarters.
The early church, particularly under Teacher Do was a development agent. It set up a school which catalysed the training of most of the human resources Have can today boast of. It was an agent for social change. The church also played a significant role in mediation and promoting social stability and peace in the town. It was during one of these supposed mediation meetings that rains began to fall leading to the unprecedented Agadevi. Indeed, God was with the church. And church members had every right to celebrate God’s hand of deliverance. With these experiences, Teacher Do became deeply attached to the church and the town that it was not a surprise when upon ordination as a reverend minister he returned to Have to continue his pastoral work. He was a household name.