Who is Major (Rtd) Teddy William Gariba Anadem?

I was busy still trying to find my feet and he was in my shoes. Always ready to support. He never said ‘ I love you’ He showed it in so many ways that I only got to know when he left. No individual has had an influence over my life than this man. Nobody has ever supported my dreams even when it didn’t make sense (footballer and photography). Nobody has ever taught me so much in a short while to be prayerful, to be humble, to be content, to work hard and to live within one’s means. Ideals that has never departed from us (the family). He spent his whole life sacrificing for the family and everyone around him. Telling us to be proud of who we are and where we come from, teaching us to block out distractions. And focus on what makes us happy. Giving us a chance to make something of ourselves.

Major (RTD)Edward William Gariba Anadem, I affectionately called him Major was born to Master Anadem Awudu Atugurik a veteran soldier who was handpicked from Kori- kanaansa( Achengbe Yeri) a suburb of Sandema to fight in 2nd World War in Burma and Madam Asuembiik Akpiaak of Siniensi- kaasa also in Sandema on Thursday 15th July 1954. He happened to be the ninth (9th) and only surviving male child out of the ten (10) successful births of the mother. He attended Afoko Primary school, and moved to Ayieta Middle School.

On completion of his elementary education from Ayieta Middle School, he traveled to stay with his uncle, who was an Army Officer at MAT’S Teshie in Accra. There he was running errands and doing other causal works for some army officers. As a results, he developed interest in the service and applied into the force in November 1979. While there, he registered privately and wrote his “O and A” level examination and passed successfully. After a decade he was enlisted at Ghana Military Academy (GMA) and became an Officer. The first from all the community that make up Sandema. Intake 29 of Ghana Military Academy GMA.

Sometimes it feels there are so much bad in the world that we forget to celebrate the good and the good time. Everyone please, love your parents no matter what, where and who they are. Share moments and build bonds. Travel with them, sit and chat with them.

There is no better time to do that than today and everyday.  Because you will never recover from the heartbreak when they are gone.

Major (RTD) Teddy William Gariba Anadem you deserve to be celebrated, you are the best dad and friend, I could never get. Thanks for the love and support.

Major lives in everyone he touched with his life. God bless you and God got us. Happy birthday dad, Rest in peace. Love you forever



Chieftaincy is a traditional system of ruling by a chief. The history of the chieftaincy institution dates as far back as the creation of the land. In the old days, when people settle at a particular place, there is always the need to have a leader among them, who will always lead them. And this has lived with us till date. Normally, the person who becomes the chief is the leader from the first family. Chiefs in the Bulsa land are no exception to the above statement, they rule their areas with a council of elders who advise them as well as help make laws and pass judgments.

Chiefs in Bulsa land are elected before enskinned. The election of a chief in the Bulsa culture follows a routine ritual of fixed rules and a time-honored procedure. Bulsa paramount chief election is unique. The Nab is the title for a chief among the Bulsa. Sandema Nab is the paramount chief who has traditional and executive powers of installing chiefs for the towns in the Bulsa district. The paramountcy refers to the topmost chief of an area thus the Sandema Nab.
The Bulsas, administratively occupy two districts (Bulsa North and Bulsa South Districts) in the Upper East region of Ghana, according to oral narrations, descended from the Mamprugu Kingdom.

Nab Dr. Ayieta Azantinlow
Source Abil-yeri photo.

Sandema became the most important town following their ability to mobilize the others in the area in defending and protecting the whole kingdom, especially from slave raiders. Reigning over important towns like Wiaga, Siniesi, Doninga, Kanjaga, Kadema, Gbedema, Uasi, Fumbisi, Bachansi, Chuchuliga and Gbedemblisi, Sandema happens to be the royal capital of Bulsa land.
The mode of selecting a chief in the Bulsa traditional area follows “who has the majority” of heads of house owners (Yeri-nyam). Basically, only Yeri-nyam can vote. So, take for instance Sandema, only Yeri-nyams from communities that makeup Sandema are permitted to vote and elect a Naab for Sandema. Before voting commence, candidates have the volition to go for a door-to-door campaign to make their intentions known to the various households. The system is run such that the electorates (Yeri-nyam) stand by the candidate of their choice and the candidate with the majority of Yeri-nyam is declared the winner. Candidates must be from the royal family of Abil-yeri and their lineage must have at least been a chief.
The Bulsa Traditional Area has remained relatively peaceful with a very stable and powerful chieftaincy system that has existed for more than a century. They have had powerful chiefs like Abil, who was the first chief of Sandema, he was succeeded by nine other chiefs before Azantilow, late Nab Dr Ayieta Azantinlow 1st was the tenth Bulsa King and Paramount Chief of Buluk.

Nab Dr. Ayieta Azantinlow
Source Abil-yeri photo.

The ascension of Nab Dr. Ayieta Azantinlow to the Buluk paramountcy in December 1931, who succeeded his elder brother Nab Agaasa Ayieta, has helped to make the area peaceful and he subsequently reigned for seventy-five years. At the time of his death on the 14th November 2006, he was one of the longest reigning Paramount Chiefs in Ghana. He had many wives, children, and several grand and great grandchildren.
The last time an election was organized was in June 2012 of which Azagsuk Azantilow the second was elected as the Sandema Nab, making him the eleventh Bulsa king.

Nab Azagsuk Azantinlow II
Source Anadem photography

The Family System of Inheritance In Bulsa

A discussion of the family system necessarily leads us to consider what definition to give to the word ‘ Family’ which would enable us to determine those groups that made up this unit for purposes of inheritance.
Every one of us belong to a family whether by blood or by adoption. In the Bulsa community one don’t just need to belong to a blood group to be a member of a family.
There are other ways by which you can become a member of a family.
An individual will usually belong to his or her parent’s family at the time of birth. This normally attaches to everyone or everybody during his or her lifetime. Yet, there is considerable divergence of opinion on what entity constitute the family.
Under the Bulsa Customary law, the word family may be used in two senses. The word “family” may be used in Bulsa to include all of a peron’s relations who have descended directly from one male ancestor. In some instances, the term may be used to loosely include members of the same clan. The term used here is “ Kobiisa “ which is said to have originated from one ancestor or even the founder of the clan that reference is being made to. This group “ kobiisa” are not considered for purposes of succession or inheritance.
This leads us to the second sense in which the term family may be referred.
The second sense of term family is used to cover is a man’s children, both male and female. But it is the sons who are entitled to the beneficial enjoyment of the deceased’s self-acquired property. In some cases the deceased’s brother might be allowed to inherit him if he (deceased) is childless.
The Bulsa are patrilineal community where inheritance of property is through the direct male line. A male member of the Bulsa Family from the moments of birth, is born into his father’s family. He therefore is a member of that family by right of birth. He begins life in that family, together with brothers and sisters who share the paternity with him. His family is his father’s family and he would be a member of the family of his father.
This would be the situation until he has issues (children) of his own and this becomes his personal family. Hence in Bulsa Community the true position is that, a male member of a family who has issues (children) is the head of the family that he himself procreates. He is also a member, by right of birth, of the family he was born into, that is his father’s family. This distinction is important under Bulsa Customary law. His children may succeed to his own personal property but not the family property which might have been under his control. His brothers have the right to this property which belonged to their father and is held for purposes of joint enjoyment. Hence, on the death of a Bulsa, his personal property is separated from that of the family property that he and his brother held jointly.
It can thus be confidently concluded or said that in Buluk , each man is a potential apex or originator of a family. While he enjoys this position as a founder. As one continues, the circle begins to get wider and may include his paternal grandfather, great- grand father and so on.

Family is always the arms around us.

Time lost? Making the most of the lockdown.

Children learn through social observation of their caregivers and adults in their environment 

Did you know that a lot of people finish school and are not employable? They do not have some basic skills such as team work, cooperation, tolerance and so on. These are skills that children learn from from the people around them as they grow up. However, most parents are so busy or they are not even aware that they have the responsibility to help their children learn these skills to survive and thrive in the world. Right now an opportunity has offered itself through the lockdown during the COVID 19 situation. As our lifestyle and livelihood has been put on hold and at a standstill.  Our great towns and cities in Ghana fallen to silence, public gatherings cancelled, basic schools, colleges, churches, mosques, universities all been closed down. Students are on compulsory holidays and parents are concerned. Some are employing the services of private tutors for their children which is not a bad idea, but I think this lockdown is a blessing in disguise for this generation to learn one or two skills from their parents and for parents to spend quality time with their kids. Of course, we cannot regain lost time today, tomorrow or any day but we can try and turn this into moment into something positive.

Continue reading “Time lost? Making the most of the lockdown.”

A brief History of the Builsas

The horns are worn by chiefs and elders in Builsa land
A Bulsa warrior

A historical account of the origins of the Builsas has been very scanty because of the lack of documentary evidence. We have typically relied on the oral traditions which are not always reliable. It would seem, however, that the Builsas  are a recent ethnic group founded long after the Mamprusi, Dagomba and Gonja Kingdoms were founded. Some Bulisa historians have tended to regard the latter half of the seventeenth century as the time that the region of Builsa was founded.

Continue reading “A brief History of the Builsas”


There is one paramountcy in the Builsa Districts referred to as the Builsa Traditional Area. The Traditional Authority area has twelve (12) divisional chiefs referred to as the “Kanbunabas” who are under the Sandema Nab. These sub-chiefs handle matters concerning chieftaincy, culture, traditions and issues relating to the various traditional councils and the individual sub-chiefs of which the Sandema Nab supersedes. The Chieftaincy institutions in collaboration with other stakeholders work to promote peace in the area.
Builsa North District is predominantly rural with agriculture as the main economic activity undertaken by self-employed farmers.The predominant ethnic group in the district is the Builsas. The Builsas constitute about majority of the entire population. The remaining populace are made up of minor ethnic groups comprising the Kantosi, Mamprusi, Sissala, Nankani, Mossi and some few migrants from Burkina-Faso. These tribes have co-existed over the years thus contributing to the development of the district.
The major religious denominations are Christians, Muslims, and Traditionalists. The largest mode of worship is the Traditional African Religion, which makes up the largest population followed by the Christian Religion and the Islamic religion . Other religions constitute about less of the total population. The traditionalists are mostly found in the rural parts of the district. Their spiritual roles contribute to enhancing peace and development in the district.
Festivals are significant practices in the Builsa Districts. The Feok festival is an annual festival celebrated to commemorate the defeat of Babatu and his notorious slave raiders by the ancestors of Builsa in the nineteenth century. The festival usually comes off in the third week of December and has virtually become a prelude to Christmas in the district. In view of its historic importance a number of tourists often participate in the celebration of the festival.
The traditional marriage system entails a distinctive practice of payment of bride price. A system where the family of the bridegroom carries out some marital obligations including the provision of cola nuts, a bottle of schnapps and some amount of money. The above arrangement serves to strengthen ties between families.
The patrilineal system of inheritance is practised. The eldest son inherits the deceased father in trust of the family. The system does not allow daughters access to heritable property within the traditional system which invariably denies women access to productive resources including lands.
Funeral rite is one of the most vital ceremonies among the people of Builsa Traditional Area. It is very significant as it indicates the final passage of the deceased to the ancestors or “the other world”.The funeral rite is divided into two sessions. The first referred to as “Kumca‟ is performed within the shortest possible time from the time of death. Burial takes place within a week and some rituals are performed for the deceased. The final funeral rite referred to as “Juuca‟ is performed after several successive meetings are held and a consensus is reached between the family heads.
Land in the Builsa Communities is not owned by individuals but rather the family heads, who take care of the land on behalf of the family.
The chief however oversees the distribution and sale of land. The Tindanas (original natives or first settlers) are the original owners of the land. The Builsa Communities possess some of the best spots for tourist attraction. They include the Sissili Central forest reserves with an area of about 155.09sq km, Abuga Crocodile pond in Uwasi, the Fiisa Shrine and the Doninga Slave Market.