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Traditions that may still exist – Trokosi and its reference in “Wife of the Gods” by Kwei Quartey

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by Andres Gonzales, Journalism student at University of Maryland  

      

 In a recent novel “Wife of the Gods” by author Kwei Quartey, the age-old custom of Trokosi is discussed as Detective Darko Dawson investigates a murder mystery.

        The Trokosi practice, originating in the Volta region of Ghana, West Africa, promotes the enslavement of young virgin girls for ritualistic purposes.  Often, an aggrieved person reports an alleged crime or offense to the local Fetish Priest, who is said to punish the guilty party’s family with mystifying deaths and diseases.

         In an effort to stop this misfortune, a family sends their virgin daughter (sometimes as young as 4 years old) to a local fetish priest. In a so-called humiliation ceremony, the girl is stripped of all her clothes, except for a cloth between her tights. She is then paraded around the village.

        Afterwards, the girl is given to the priest to serve a life of forced-labor slavery and prostitution in the Fetish shrines, where idol worship takes place. The Trokosi tradition has been practiced for hundreds of years, and is still practiced today. If the child manages to escape, the family may be penalized and forced to give another child away to slavery. Although the practice has been outlawed, it is still practiced today.

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