chapter  One
24 Pages

Daughters of the Drum

The Social Environment of Female Artists in Dzodze

This chapter describes the context of Dzigbordi dance-drumming. It introduces the geographical and cultural environment of Dzigbordi women, explores their local setting as well as some of the institutions and epistemologies that govern local life. The chapter examines aspects of female authority and power in the midst of a professedly male dominated society. There is an ongoing debate among social scientists about how to conceptualize and represent cultural distinctions between men and women in Africa. In the early twentieth century, the British colonial authorities constructed a road passing through Dzodze that connects the northern and southern parts of Eweland. According to local legends in the Ewe village of Klikor, the site of one such shrine, one day a man promised one of his daughters, and thereafter the deity began to demand female servants as rewards. Until the early twentieth century Dzodze was surrounded by forest, which acted as a shield from regional warfare and slave-trading activities.