Jesus of the Deep Forest

Jesus of the Deep Forest July 11, 2007

In the songs and praises of the illiterate Ghanian Christian, Christina Afua Gyan (or Afua Kuma), Jesus is described as a powerful Protector in a world teeming with dangers.

“Should the devil himself become a lion
and chase us as his prey,
we shall have no fear
Lamb of God!
Satan says he is a wolf –
Jesus stretches forth His hand,
and look: Satan is a mouse!
Holy One!”

He invades the forest and drives out the monsters:

“He, the sharpest of all great swords
has made the forest safe for the hunters.
The mmoatia he has cut to pieces;
he has caught Sasabonsam
and twisted off its head.”

According to Kwame Bediao, “Mmoatia are supposed to be mysterious creatures with superhuman powers, that dwell deep in the forest; they are believed to be tiny, with feet that point backwards; suspending themselves from trees, they wait for the unwary hunter in the pitch darkness of night. At their head, as their head spirit, is Sasabonsam with bloodshot eyes.”

JEsus is above all the ” Tutugyagu ,” the “Fearless One” who “pulled the teeth of the viper”; He is ” Adubasapon ,” the man of ten-arms-in-one who “has tied death to a tree/ So that we may be happy.”

Browse Our Archives