Northern Heritage is highly pleased to bring to you an insightful and thrilling encounter from our My Northern Experience session as we engage Mr. Abdul Majeed I. Badigamsira. Our guest is a proud and noble son of Mamprugu, as well as a professional nurse. He has experienced most of the northern cultures and traditions and has visited majority of the renowned locations, the like of Jakpa Palace and Larabanga Mosque in Savannah region etc. He has also dedicated his time to researching and writing his findings on Facebook - a way to project those information to the general public. Our forefathers will say, do not call the forest that shelters you a jungle.
He will be taking us through an in depth ride of northern experiences filled with traditions, history and culture.
Shamuddeen: You are welcome to My Northern Experience Mr. Abdul Majeed I. Badigamsira
Mr. Abdul Majeed I. Badigamsira: Thank you my brother Shamuddeen I'm pleased to be in this noble house to share with you my little knowledge on the northern tradition and personal experiences.
Shamuddeen: It a pleasure. We are honoured to have you tonight. Distinguished members will be glad to know who Mr. Abdul- Majeed I. Badigamsira is?
Mr. Abdul Majeed I. Badigamsira: Just as expected in every interview. Well Badigamsira Inusah Abdul Majeed is my name, I was born to the Badigamsira family by Mr & Mrs Badigamsira Inusah in a Village called Gbimsi in the West Mamprusi Municipality of the North East Region, Ghana.
I grew up in a traditional Mamprusi home, an extended family for that matter with my grandfather having two wives with 13 Children and my father having 3 wives. So ironically, I grew up in a community where almost everybody is a family member and a child belongs to everyone.
Shamuddeen: Interesting. Thanks for taking your time to introduce yourself. Can you please take us through your life journey, where you grew up, places you have visited and some exciting memories?
Mr. Abdul Majeed I. Badigamsira: I think I'll be fair to say something about my educational background. I started both my Primary and JHS education at Gbimsi R/C Primary and JHS. I wrote my BECE in 2007 and was placed at Walewale Senior High School where I offered General Arts between the years of 2007-2011.
Growing up, I always nursed the ambition of being a teacher. My dream was dashed however when I applied for admission at the Tamale college of education in 2012 and was denied admission because I lacked "connection".
In the following year, I again applied at Bagabaga College of Education and Nalerigu College of Nursing. Then again I couldn't get admission to the college of education and rather the Nursing admission came. And that's how I finally found myself as a nurse.
I did General Nursing at Nalerigu College of Nursing and graduated in 2015 and was posted to the West Gonja Hospital in Damongo in the year 2017 where I'm practicing. But I’m currently doing Bsc Nursing at the University for Development Studies UDS in Tamale.
Shamuddeen: Interesting. Since you grew up in the typical extended family system. How will you describe your experiences of the north?
Mr. Abdul Majeed I. Badigamsira: Fantastic, lovely people that does almost everything together. Talk of communal labour and so on. And also no child is left to go astray as everybody assumes responsibility of every child in the community. It is very common for an elder of a different house to discipline a child of another.
The north in general to me is a great place to call home. We have different tribes who are related to each other in one way or the other and the playmate among tribes in the north makes it unique of its kind. This is one of the most fascinating thing about the north.
One of the interesting moments growing up was during the dry season after the harvest session which is mostly characterised by funerals and it's accompanied drumming and dancing of various kinds.
My grandfather use to play the talking drums and the custom is, during funerals the one playing the talking drums is given the feet of the cattle and sheep killed at the funeral. This season was always the time we get meat to chop in abundance.
This season was also the time that we learn to dance and also practice the drumming. I use to be the one carrying his drumming sticks whenever he is going for drumming and he will often sit me by the drums whilst playing. And I tell you with pride that I can also play the talking drums called "Tumpani" in Mamprulli
Also, as a royal and head of the family, my grandfather had a horse. So it was a great traditional experience growing up.
Shamuddeen: As a Mamprusi which northern tribes are your playmantes?
Mr. Abdul Majeed I. Badigamsira: Mamprusi are playmates to the Chakosi, Guruma, Larabanga/Kamara, Mossi etc
Shamuddeen: Interesting. So which popular or tourist sites in northern Ghana have you ever visited?
Mr. Abdul Majeed I. Badigamsira: I've also visited some historic tourist sites of the north like, The Gambaga Escarpment, Paga crocodile pond, Naa Jeringa wall in Nalerigu built in 17th century by the late Nayiri Naa Jeringa, Tongo Hills and Tenzuag Shrine - a diety of the Talensi people of the upper East region, Larabanga mosque - an ancient Sudanese architectural mosque built around the 16th century, The Jakpa Palace thus seat of the king of the Gonja people.
Shamuddeen: Can you please pick your favourite out of the list and discuss with us your experiences. If possible share some images with us.
Mr. Abdul Majeed I. Badigamsira: Hah if you ask of my favourite among them it will be difficult for me to choose because almost all of these tourist sites have fascinating stories beneath them. But for the purpose of time I'll choose two that is the Larabanga mosque and Naa Jeringa wall.
The Larabanga mosque is said to have been built by an Islamic cleric called Yidana Braimah who is believed to have come from Madina in Saudi Arabia and was invited by the founder of the Gonja Kingdom Alhaji Sumaila Ndewura Jakpa to help in prayers during his war expedition.
After assisting Jakpa to establish his Kingdom, he was too old to go back to Saudi as those time they travel by road. So he was asked to settle wherever he wished and he chose to settle at that place.
History has it that he met the mosque at the foundation level and continued building. The foundation level is what they've painted black. It is also said that he later on married a Mamprusi woman, the reason they're playmates with Mamprusi. Their language is also much similar with the Mamprulli language.
The Naa Jeringa wall in the other hand was built by a Nayiri call Naa Yamusah Jeringa as a defence wall and also as a monument for his memory. It is believed that this king was so powerful but he lacked a male child to succeed him after his demise in other to keep his memory alive since the Mamprugu kingship is solely inherited by male children.
This king though had two male children, they were physically deformed and tradition forbid a physically disabled person to be enskined the Nayiri thus King of Mamprugu. So on the advice of his Islamic Cleric called Imam Baba who was the Chief Imam of Gambaga, he was asked to build that monument.
Another reason was that during those days there used to be slave raiding by other tribes so it was built around Nalerigu the traditional capital of the Mamprusi people to protect the Palace from raiders. It is said that materials used to build that wall was milk, honey and shea butter mixed with sand, human beings was also used and this was people who complained of tiredness. This was done to discourage laziness.
The wall was built around Nalerigu with only two entrants at Gambaga and Sakogu. Remains of the Naa Jeringa wall still stands till date. The wall was supposed to have only one entrance and that was the Gambaga side but a sister to the king who was a Queen Mother of the Dindani traditional area told his brother not to close that side as no man born by a woman can bypass her to enter Nalerigu without her notice.
The Dindani skin is a skin where female children of the Nayiri are enskined. This goes to defuse the myths held about the north that women are not represented. In fact current occupant of that skin is Po'a Naa Naama daughter the late Nayiri Naa Gamni.
Shamuddeen: Interesting accounts. What's your perception of northern culture, traditions and unique way of life?
Mr. Abdul Majeed I. Badigamsira: My perception of the north is, Northern Ghana have a beautiful but undiscovered culture and traditions. The West and Religion both Islam Christianity have had a toll on the tradition of the north.
Most peoples’ perception change ones they are educated they feel disassociated and special and wouldn't want to participate with our traditions. To me it shouldn't be the case because education should rather be used to propagate our culture and tradition. Also most people when they become either Muslims or Christians begins to view our tradition as devilish.
All this factors have negatively affected the northern culture and tradition. But there seem to be light at the end of the tunnel since we the youth have now realised the need to propagate our culture and is doing just that.
Of late there have been more women inclusiveness in the Chieftaincy institution of Mamprugu by enskining of women to various Chieftaincy portfolios. This is a positive idea and I think we should propagate that for the other kingdoms to follow suit as that promotes gender inclusiveness in at our traditional level.
Apart from the few hindrances stated, the northern culture to me is such a beautiful one and we need to project and market it to the outside world.
Shamuddeen: Interesting perception there. Truly there is still hope. Still in your hindsight, what is your most fondest memory of the north?
Mr. Abdul Majeed I. Badigamsira: As someone who has much interest in tradition, my fondest memories have to do with the traditional dances.
I'll like to share with the house my dance move at the just ended Damma festival at the forecourt of the Nayiri Palace Nalerigu.
Shamuddeen: Can you please tell us something peculiar to your lifestyle that was as a result of the northern experience?
Mr. Abdul Majeed I. Badigamsira: Well if there's anything peculiar to my lifestyle as someone from the north or what probably north has thought me, then it's to be humble and respectful and building of cordial relationship with people as we surely needs each other in one way or another because no man is an island.
Shamuddeen: In a brief statement is there something you want to tell us concerning your lifestyle that is related to the north? Something you will be glad to share with members?
Mr. Abdul Majeed I. Badigamsira: We the people of northern Ghana have a peculiar humble nature, respectful and togetherness. I've always tried as much as I could to propagate this character. It's unfortunate we are losing this important core values, so my candid appeal is that we should hold tight to get this values because that was what people of the north were known for.
I'm most grateful to you Mr. Bagura Shamsudeen and this noble house for hosting me to share with you my personal experience. I'm grateful. N puusiya.
Shamuddeen: Thank you. We are glad to have you.
A Video of Mr. Abdul Majeed I. Badigamsira showcasing his damba dancing skills!!