Chief Nangui Abrogoua was an Ebrié chief. Born around 1848, he died in 1938 in Abidjan.
As a landowner originally from the village of Adjamé , he lived on the Boulay Island where he played an important role in negotiations with French colonialists for the land rights of the "Djemian", also called "koutoukou djemian", a valiant hard-working people.
Nangui Abrogoua was one of the many chiefs of Adjamé, the capital of bidjan (modern-day Abidjan), originally composed of: Adjamé, Attécoubé or bidjan té, Agban, Anoumanbo (currently in the municipality of Marcory), Lokodjro, Bidjan Santè and Bidjan Cocoly (modern-day Cocody). The Djemien resettled successively from the current Abidjan Zoo, to the outskirts of the current municipality of the downtown area called Plateau, at the current location of the Félix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium to finally settle permanently in the heart of modern-day Adjamé. Nangui Abrogoua, head of the family and the Dougbo generation, fathered about twenty children . One of his grandchildren is the current chief of the Djemian community. One of Abidjan's major boulevards and the University of Abobo-Adjamé bear his name.
In our serialized version of the diverse cultures of Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire), this month is dedicated to the brave people of Abidjan, a distortion of the expression "Min tchan bidjan", or "I have just cut the leaves to serve attiéké" (Attieke, Ivorian main side dish/cassava couscous). In Atchan language, Bidjan means the people of Abidjan.
The Ebriés are an ethnic group from Côte d'Ivoire. Initially called "Tchamans" or "Achans" people.
"Tchamans" or "Achans" stands for " The chosen ones". However, other sources believe that the name Ebrié was given to the Chamans by the Abourés who were their adversaries in ancestral times. Etymologically, the word means "charcoal men" or "dirty men".
The derogatory connotation stems from the many tribal wars lost to the "Tchamans or Achans". For a reason of their own, colonialists chose to call them "Ebriés", rather than "Tchamans" as they were once referred to. The singular form of Tchaman is "Tchabio" for a man and "Tchabia" for a woman.
They live in the south of Côte d'Ivoire, around the lagoon that bears their name. This imposing body of water (Ebrié lagoon) crossing the city of Abidjan, from Grand-Bassam (in the East) to the Assagni Canal (in the West). They represent about 0.7% of the country's population.
Origin of the Tchaman or Ebriés
The Ebriés are members of the Akan ethnic group. Oral tradition teaches us that they migrated from the Northeast region of the Ashanti country of Ghana. They were part of a wave of successive migrations of Akans who fled, following a war with a neighbouring ethnic group in 18th century Ghana. They are part of nine sub-groups ( Kwè, Bidjan, Yopougon, Nonkwa, Songon, Bodo, Dyapo, Bya and Gnangon) forming sixty-three villages.
The Ebriés live in large villages organized along a central artery. Each village has three religious buildings: a Catholic church, a Protestant temple and a Harrist temple. The villages or "akubè" are divided into quartiers or "akrobu" named after the plot of land on which they are built. "Atô" is the name given to the "quartiers" on higher grounds and "Até" for those on lower grounds. School buildings are grouped in a separate neighbourhood. The cemeteries are usually located in the "Atô" (high) district, a few hundred meters away from the village.
The Ebriés mainly live off fishing. However, those in the peripheral regions (Songon, Bingerville...) practice agriculture and produce food crops (plantain banana, yam, taro, cassava) and export products (coffee, cocoa, hevea, palm oil, bananas, pineapple...).
Political and traditional organization
One of the fundamental structures of Ebrié society is the "Generations". A generation consists of assembling those born within fifteen years. Members of the same generation all consider themselves brothers and sisters. Generations are named as follows: Bénis, Gnando, Dougbo and Tchagba. Each generation comprises four age groups named the Djehou (elders), the Dongba (puinés), the Agban (cadets) and the Assoukrou (benjamins). A complete cycle of four generations lasts sixty years. It should be noted that this social organization is essentially based on clans that are functions of maternal lineage. However, a child is always the responsibility of his (her) father who names him (her). The child will later join their maternal family according to the original matrilineal system. Relations between generations are institutionalized. As a result, all individuals are equal in rights and duties and are responsible for managing the affairs of the village. This makes Ebrié society an egalitarian and democratic society.
The "Fatchué" or Generation Festival in Ebrié
Every year, one generation organizes the century-old festival of "Fatchué". It is an initiation ceremony that marks the passage from one stage to another in the lives of young girls and boys within the same 15 years time period. During this festival, the leading age group passes the torch to another age group who will, in turn, manage the affairs of the village. This passing of the torch enables the receiving age group to move from adolescence to adulthood and the age of maturity. From this ceremony onwards, individuals of this age group will have the right to speak during assemblies and thus take part in the village's decisions.
This small, restful village has become a real residential area that welcomes executives working in the largest companies in the city of Abidjan. It has distinguished itself by its dazzling development, based on a dynamic set up by the sons and daughters of the village.
Thru contributions and other public donations, the village council initiated development actions, including the construction of schools, houses and building of a multifunctional hall equipped and dedicated to weddings and other major events, the asphalting of the main arteries, electrification, etc. It feels good to live in Abobo-Baoulé, inspiring experience for other villages in Ivory Coast, willing to begin their inclusive development
In abobo-Baoulé, you will find the original Attiéké (also spelled acheke) a side dish made from cassava that is a part of the cuisine of Côte d'Ivoire in Africa. The dish is prepared from fermented cassava pulp that has been grated or granulated. Dried attiéké is also prepared, similarly in texture to couscous. It is a common and traditional dish in Côte d'Ivoire that originated in Ebrié country, and methods for its production are well known in Côte d'Ivoire, although neighbouring countries have recently tried to label their versions. In Côte d'Ivoire, the dish is often served with Kedjenou, a slow-cooked stew but mostly with fish. Fresh attiéké can spoil quickly, and should generally be consumed within 24 hours after preparation, except the brand "Agbodjama" from Abobo-baoulé.
Published on 29/01/2020
By Meyan Clark Nanguy
Ivory Coast Tribune