Afadjato – “The Height of Determination”

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So how would you feel if your very existence depended largely on your ability to wage war with wild animals and plants? Would you put up a fight or you would rather relocate to a

afadjato001more secured environment in order to avoid the wrestle and have your peace of mind? Well, the sheer bravery of the first settlers around Afadjato( Mount Afadja) choose to put up a fight and it’s certainly only the mountain that can bear witness to this beautiful piece of history.

Afadjato is the highest mountain in Ghana and it is situated in the North Western part of the Volta Region in Liati Wote. Standing at 885 metres above sea level, it has a rather

afadjato002challenging altitude of 2,905 feet for daring climbers. Does this intrigue you or it rather scares you away? Well, depending on which of the world you are from, you may rather see this challenge as a piece of mole to walk over if you enjoy the adrenaline workout or you may find it a great deal of workout if you are not accustomed to altitudinal challenges. After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating! On average, it is said that one can climb up the mountain in 45 minutes and down it in the same amount of time. This of course depends on your respective stamina and endurance. There are tales of people who made it only half way up the mountain and started heading back down because they lack the energy and determination required to reach the apex.

Afadjato Township
Afadjato Township

 I have personally climbed the mountain on two different occasions and in both instances, there was the temptation to give up on the way and just return home. Well, I never gave in to such thoughts as I always put up a good fight as far as my challenges are concerned. Trust me, climbing Afadjato is not the easiest of things to do.

Now back to the history of Afadjato. The mountain was said to have been discovered by the 5th battalion of the adventure club of the Ghanaian Army on the 7th of August 1961. This might be an official date of discovery but it must be noted that the initial settlers were already aware of its existence long before the Army came around. So is the name “Afadjato” the initial name or the exact name of the mountain? Not really! The actual name was “Aʋadjato” and it has been corrupted into “Afadjato” for an obvious reason. The Eʋe language has a unique set of alphabets that are alien to the English language and among which is the letter “ʋ” which a lot of non- Eʋe native speakers find very difficult to pronounce. It produces a sound akin to the the combination of the English alphabets “f” and “v”. However, a substitution of either “f” or “v” in place of “ʋ” will render a different meaning or none to the words in which in which this unique alphabet is found. But for convenience seek, the later “f” was substituted in place of “ʋ” for easy pronunciation.

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The Edja plant

So what does the orignial name “Aʋadjato” means? Aʋadjato is a combination of three words namely “Aʋa”, “Edja” and “to”, all being Eʋe words. Ava means “war”, “Edja” is a name of a specific itchy plant and “to” means “mountain”. Tales have it that the initial settlers around the base of the mountain were always terrorized by wild animals that lived on and around the mountain. The survival instincts of the settlers however made them to put up a brave fight with the wild animals. They were said to have waged a war against them by following them up to the mountain and managed to kill them. However, the animals were not the only enemies they had to fight. They were confronted with itchy plants called “Edja”. These plants have the ability to produce an itchy sensation on your body afadjato005when you get into close contact with them. They were by then the predominate plants on the mountain and the path leading to it. Hence it was seen as a war not only with the animals but with the “edja” plants too. Thus in recounting their story, they referred to it as the war with the plants on the mountain, thus combining the syllabi “Aʋa”, “Edja”, “to” to form the word “Aʋadjato” which was later corrupted into “Afadjato”. This then became the name of the mountain till date.

It must be noted that since the syllabus “To” in Afadjato means mountain, it will be a tautology to refer to the mountain as “Mountain Afajato”. Ideally, you only need to refer to it as “Afadjato” or “Mount Afadja”.

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