The Ntrubo/Ntribou (Delose) are agriculturalist, patrilineal Dulo-speaking people living in the eastern corner of the Nkwanta South District in the Oti Region of Ghana and the Western part of Central Togo. In Ghana, the Delose (Ntrubo) lives in 10 communities: Abrubruwa, Akyem-Ntrubo, Ando, Bankanba, Bontibor, Brewaniase, Dodo-Tamale, Obanda, Pusupu, Salifu (Salifukrom). New settlements like Ahondwo, Asukoorkor. Dormabin, and Fankyenkor have sprung. Brewaniase is their traditional capital and seat of their paramount chief (Cornevin 1969:38). The Nrubo (Ntribou/Delose) reside in Ghana live below the Adele plateau, and their neighbours in the area they occupy are the Challa, the Adele and the Atwode (Achode) with who they share cultural and language affiliations (Gayibor 1997:85; Alonso 1992: 6). This is reaffirmed by Jones (1987:1) that the Delose (Ntrubo) is closely affiliated with the Achode and Adele – two Ghana-Togo Mountain (GTM) ethnic groups- who live on the boundaries of the Ntrubo area. She avers further that intermarriage is common amongst these three groups so much that there is some degree of understanding between them. In Togo, the Delose (Ntrubo) live in two main communities: in Digingé (Diguengue) and Abosomkopé (Gayibor 1997:85). Others are scattered in Ayagba (within Akebu territory), Pampaoulé, Dodo, Kounda, and Amedzro. The majority of the Ntubo (Ntribou) are found in Ghana (Gayibor 1997).

The Ntrubo call themselves Delose and their language is Delo/Dilo/Dulo (Westermann 1933; Jones 1965, Grimes 1996, Kleinewillinghofer 2000). Delo (Dulo) belongs to the Western Southeastern Mabia (Western Southeastern Gur) branch of the larger Western Gur (Mabia) cluster of languages of the larger Niger-Congo language group (Kleinewillinghöfer 2002). The Southeastern languages include Cala (Chala), Dulo, Bago, and Kusuntu. Delo is closely related to Chala (Cala) and shares an affinity with Gikyode (Gichode) and Gɩdɩrɛ. Delo (Dulo) is spoken mainly in the Ghanaian communities of Brawaniase, Pusupu, Bontibor, Akyem-Ntrubo, Salifukrom, Obanda, Abrubruwa, Ahondwo, Asukoorkor, Dormabin, and Fankyenkor. In Togo, it is spoken in Diguengue, Abosomkope, and Ayagba. Apart from speaking Delo (Dulo/Dilo), the Ntrubo are multi-lingual, thus, they also speak the Adélé who are their immediate neighbours, the Akan-Twi and Ewe as a language of trade.

The exonym, Ntrubo means “take the lead.” Ntrubo was given to them by their neighbours, but they call themselves, Delose (Kleinewillinghöfer 2000). The exonym Ntrubo is a nickname and it is about their migration experience with their siblings, the Challa. They took the leading role as warriors whilst the Challa follows them. The Ntrubo are patrilineal, thus a property of a man goes to his male children. A man inherits the land, house, and livestock from his father whilst a woman also inherits from her father but gets a smaller share.  Trades and priesthood of the deities are also inherited. In terms of political structure, the Ntrubo state operates a chieftaincy system. They have a paramount chief with his seat at Brewaniase with sub-chiefs from various towns and villages under him.

The Delose (Ntrubo) are very religious, thus the three religions of Christianity, Islam, and African Traditional Spiritualties are found in their territories. Traditionally, the Ntrubo believe in a Supreme Being called Wurubuarɛ “Creator God” who lives in adido “heaven/sky”. Wurubuarɛ is very holy and above all other divinities. Wurubuarɛ is the one whose name is mentioned in the prayers of the Delose (Ntrubo). Below the Wurubuarɛ are the Banɛɛ “deities and earth shrines.” These shrines housing the deities are served by traditional priests. Kpebun, a rock and a war deity at Bontibor is the national deity of the Delose (Ntrubo). Kpebun is served by Kpebun sae “Kpebun priest”, and people who make propitiation to him believe the deity passes on their requests to Wurubuarɛ to solve their problems. Because Kpebun is highly regarded, every Ntrubo village possesses a bag of animal skin that represents Kpebun and has local sae ‘priest’ who serves it. Kpebu Sae offers annual sacrifices with a prayer of thanks for the past year. Kpebun used to demand a share of crops from the Ntrubo.  Opradu, a powerful thunder deity, is another fearsome deity in Ntrubo.

The occupation of the people is subsistence agriculture. They have vast stretches of arable land with suitable vegetation and a climate for optimum crop production. The main crops they produce are yam, cassava, cocoyam, plantain and cereal (maize, rice, etc.). In the past, the Ntrubu farmed several cash crops, including beans, cocoa, and chickpeas, Agro-processing is largely limited to gari processing using cassava. World Vision have introduced palm oil seedlings and bee-keeping; vegetables are planted for home consumption and the surplus is sold. They also keep ungulates (mammals who have hoofs such as goats, sheep, and cattle) and pigs for both domestic and commercial purposes. Fishing is carried out on the Oti arm of the Volta Lake in the Nkwanta Municipal at Kabiti. Ntrubo has markets at Brewaniase and Pusupu on Fridays, Bontibor on Thursdays, Obanda on Wednesdays. They also take their foodstuffs to sell at Nkwanta and Dodi-Amanfrom markets and buy salt, fish, meat, clothes, gari, pepper, etc. The Ntrubo celebrates Kedibom Festival annually in November at Brewaniase. The festival is in commemoration of the Ntrubo migration process. Hence, during the festivities, a small group usually eats together in a big local dish “Nyifale Dina” to ensure unity and mutual love.

Origin and Migration

The oral tradition of the Delose (Ntrubo) asserts that their ancestors were original inhabitants of Tchaoudjo, which is currently a prefecture located in the Centrale Region of Togo. Kleinewillinghofer (2002:68) posits that they were settling on the hills in Tchaoudjo with their siblings, the Challa (Cala). However, because of constant attacks by other powerful ethnic groups, they fled their settlements and moved southwards to settle on the Atakpamé, now in the Plateaux Region of Togo. From the Atakpamé enclaves, the Ntrubo (Delose) and Challa (Cala) who are of the same stock to westwards settle together on those mountains occupied nowadays by the Adele (Kleinewillinghofer 2000).

The oral tradition asserts further that in all these journeys, the Delose were the ones who always makes the first move to travel, fight and defend the two groups whilst the Challa follows. As a result of this travelling formation and protection given to the group by the Delose warriors, the Delose was given the nickname Ntrubo “take the lead” by the strangers on the land they came to settle on the mountains now occupied by the Adele. As they spread to the west, the Adele settled between the Cala and the Delose, and this led to the separation of the two groups (Kleinewillinghofer 2000:68). The Delose journeyed further down to make their final settlement at their present location at Brewaniase. The hunters amongst them moved out to found several villages such as Abrubruwa, Akyem-Ntrubo, Ando, Bankanba, Bontibor, Dodo-Tamale, Obanda, Pusupu, and Salifu (Salifukrom). On the Togo side, Diguengue, Pampaoulé, Amedzro were also founded. Cornevin (1968:38) posited that Ayagba was one of the villages that the Delose founded in Togo, but the village has been completely assimilated into Akébou.

On the founding of the villages, Gayibor (1997:86) contends that the village of Diguingé was founded by a descendant of an apical ancestor named Boïsa who resided at a place called Budjoo, which is about located about 5 km west of Diguingé, and very close to at the Ghana border. Boïsa was said to have evacuated from Budjoo to first settle Anyafatcho in the valley of Asoukoko/Kélébo “Red River”, near Nyonbo. Boïsa had five children, and upon his death at Anyafatcho, Koti, his eldest son moved the people to its present location at Diguingé in the Yégué valley, upstream from that of Asoukoko (Gayibor 1997:87). Boïsa’s second son Bwaatini, moved out to found Djobo (which got disappeared and its people mixed with Diguingé and Abosomkopé), The other children Djo Kodjo, third son; Papao, fourth son; Létché Wura fifth son and Koti, the sixth son return to Adurnadum where their mother comes from, and then to Domabên’

The village of Abosomkopé is said to have been founded by an ancestor called Gounou who resided in Liyala (or Dîyala), on the mountain overlooking the upper valley of the Bouwa near Asoukoko/Kélébo (Gayibor 1997:87). Gounou and Boïsa were neighbours; Gounou had two sons: (1) Mon who moved out to found Lénion (now a deserted town), near Bantibo, whilst the  (2) Atakofi who evacuated people from his father’s village to Qjaédédja. Here, Atakofi’s daughter married one Isa and had a son called Abosom who later founded where his Abosomkopé “Abosom village” (Gayibor 1997: 87-88).


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