Emoula is a famous group of people
believed to have hailed from Kumbiifu in Burkina Faso. They found their
way into Wa and deeply rooted in the upper west region of Ghana
through trade. In particular, the Emoula reared horses for sale to
ancient rulers and warriors. With great populations, the Emoula are
predominantly found in Kumbiahi, Kaleo, Loho (all near Wa) and Kulmasa
in the northern region. Kumbiahi, where they first settled is
invariably the administrative capital of the Emoula in and around the
Upper West Region.
The Emoula consider
crocodile as their spirit and for that reason taboo it entirely. Any
part of this reptile eaten by an Emoula is a dangerous poison which has a
resultant effect of death or leprosy. It is believed that during the
era of warfare, their great ancestors were pursued until they came
across a river they could not cross. Almost losing hope that they were
at the mercy of the enemy, their leader (unnamed) made incantations for
divine intervention. There and then, a very huge crocodile surfaced
from the water which they sat on to enable them cross the river. The
crocodile also appeared before the enemy but when they sat on it and it
took them to the middle of the river, it discarded them and they got
drowned. Thereafter, the ancestor forbade all his progeny from harming
or eating crocodile.
Kulmasa, which literally
means ‘cold or calm wells’ was founded by one of the sons of Dangoli
(one of Emoula ancestors at Kumbiahi near Wa) around a well called
Bituori. As if history repeated itself, Bituori is flooded with
crocodiles and water therein never dries up. These crocodiles
peacefully co-exist with the people just at their backyards causing
harm to neither human beings nor animals. Attacks by crocodiles on
human beings and animals in Kulmasa are clear signs of calamity to
befall the people. Dead crocodiles from Bituori are prepared and buried
just like human beings. The people of Kulmasa even taboo any other
creature (such as fishes and frogs) living in Bituori.
Interesting however, the
Emoula are not among the ruling class of Kulmasa. Kulmasa is considered
part of Daripe (a Gonja controlled land), and as such chieftaincy is in
the hands of the Gonjas who have a central administration at Damango
in the northern region.
The people of Kulmasa are
mainly farmers. Sorghum, legumes and yams are their main food crops,
with shea tree and cashew being their cash crops. Livestock is also kept
on quite substantial scale. While some aspects of barter are still
being practised, the Ghana cedi is the official medium of exchange.
Cola nut is also a very important commodity among the people of Kulmasa
for a lot of their customary practices.
Despite a lot of development
potentials in and around Kulmansa including a huge tourist potential,
poverty still lingers among the people. Low literacy rate, women
marginalisation and inadequate social amenities e.g. health care
delivery, are identified to be some of their challenges. There is only
one borehole serving the close to 3,000 residents of Kulmasa.