A hand drawn map of Kawu

Colleen’s post about the Hand Drawn Map Contest reminded me of a neat map of Kawu I was given some time ago. Kawu is the area where I do fieldwork, located in the Hohoe district of Ghana’s beautiful Volta Region. This map was drawn in 2003 by John Atsu, literacy coordinator and member of the Siwu Language Committee

Geography: Extent of Kawu

Geography: Extent of Kawu. By John Atsu, 2003 [click to enlarge]

The main villages (squares) and the tarred roads (thick lines) would be found on any sufficiently detailed map; more interesting are the farm settlements (FM), where farmers stay overnight if they work far from home; and the foot paths (x-x-x-x) that connect the villages where there are no roads.

I’m not sure why the map is oriented as it is (with West on the lower side), not having done fieldwork in enough different villages to be sure about how the Mawu talk about directionality and orientation. 1 The mountainous area on the lower side of the map is simply called Kùbe ‘the mountains’; partly in it, partly beyond it lies Awubeame, literally ‘in the mountains of the Mawu’, the area where the Mawu people lived before they split up into Akpafu and Lolobi.

The Kawu area is divided into two zones: Akpafu (north-west, comprised of Todzi, Odomi, Mempeasem, Adokor, and Sokpoo) and Lolobi (south-east, with Kumasi, Ashiambi, and Huyeasem). The names of the villages are usually prefixed by the traditional area: Akpafu-Todzi, Lolobi-Kumasi, and so on. A mountain ridge, or actually the river Dayi just east of it, provides a natural boundary between the two areas. The main dialectal division in Siwu corresponds to this geographic boundary.

Right in the center of the map lies Akpafu-Mempeasem, the village that is my home base while in the field. There is a foot path from there to Adokor (top left corner) which crosses the mountains (via Todzi) and a densely forested valley, until it reaches Sokpoo, where it changes into a 2nd class untarred road. It’s a very nice hike. And this map tells me I should also try to hike to Lolobi-Ashiambi one day — there is a footpath after all.

Below a picture of Akpafu-Todzi, the oldest town of Kawu and the seat of the paramount chief.

Akpafu-Todzi seen from mount Ɔgagɛ̃

Akpafu-Todzi seen from mount Ɔgagɛ̃ , facing north, September 2008.
In the valley lies Akpafu-Odomi.


  1. What I know is that Todzi and Mempeasem are in an up-down relationship, with Todzi being called kaa i kato ‘home up high’ and Mempeasem kàlà ‘down’.[]

6 thoughts on “A hand drawn map of Kawu”

  1. I like peoplle from this area.Abena Sarpong CEO of KAWU/OGAGEN Jewery,Kumasi, Lost contact.God bless daughters and sons of this land.

  2. The people of this land were blessed with technological advancement since acient days. They were able to mine minerals such as iron etc and mould it into different devices and weapons just for their survival. People do travel from far and near to buy some of those devices especially those for farming, hunting and even war.They were also inclined agriculturally. This made them keep one of their most important food crop”kawumor” (i.e brown rice) viable through good and even very bad weather conditions. GOD BLESS OUR HOME LAND, GOD BLESS AKPAFU,KAWU,and MAWU.

  3. This is the place everybody must wish to be especially during our Rice festival in April. The atmosphere is always welcoming, this made our keep one of their most important food crop”kawumor” (i.e brown rice) viable through good and even very bad weather conditions.
    Proud to come from Odomi


  5. God richly bless the people of akpafu mempeasem,espercially okrah family may God watch ovar this family and bless them like never before.

  6. am just delightful to read this research work and the wonderful experiences and findings about Akpafu and Lolobi Traditional areas. If indeed Agricultural and Technology advancement all started from here then the region has a lot to offer Ghana and volta region as a whole. God bless us all.

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