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Abokobe, a "Salem" Town

By Sandi Sawyerr

January 18, 2008 

My friend Naa is from Abokobe, a village just north of Accra.  She told me some great information which I will do my best to type up here.   Abokobe is known in Ghana to be the only village that is nearly 100% Christian, where no fetish occultism is practiced at all. Fetish Occultism is what is often used to describe the traditional spiritual beliefs of Ghana. Furthermore, now, all the people in Abokobe are Presby.  Presby means someone that belongs to the Presbyterian church.

Naa’s grandfather was the paramount chief of Abokobe for 43 years. He passed down to her the history of the village.  Naa’s great great great grandfathers have been the chiefs for hundreds of years at Abokobe. Then, some 100 years ago, Presbyterian missionaries came to the village.  The Chief gave the missionaries land.   The missionaries set about doing what missionaries do. But they did it a bit different here.  They set up a “salem” (SAH-lem), as Naa put it. (Could she mean “Asylum”?)  This is a community set apart from the rest of the village.  All the new converts were brought to the salem to live.  They built schools and community buildings and the salem grew and grew. It came to be that Christians living in the salem community could do all their daily activities never having to cross over to the old Abokobe, where the people were still practicing the fetish occult paganism.  It came to be that there was a clear border, not marked by a wall, or anything like that.  However, everyone on both sides knew where the border was. They all knew never to cross the border.

Another thing that sets Abokobe apart as a totally Christian village is this:  The chiefs of Abokobe are installed using only Christian prayers – doing all in the name of Jesus Christ.  There are no fetish occult rituals that are practiced in even the most subtle way when a chief is installed.  Also, the head Presbyterian Moderator does the prayers and leads the ceremony to install the new chiefs.  This “Moderator” is the head over the whole Presbyterian church of Ghana. 

Over time, it came to be that the whole town of Abokobe was Christian, like it is now. There is no need for borders or a separate area now, as there are no people in the town who practice the traditional fetish occultism.

The Presbyterian missionaries who had returned to Germany often would have their families fly them back to Abokobe to be buried.  Therefore, there are a lot of German missionaries buried in the Abokobe cemetery.

At the time this article was written, Naa Vanderpuye-Orgle is a Ghanaian living in the States for some 10 years. In May 2008, Naa plans to return to Ghana to start an orphanage in Abokobe. It will be called Royal Priesthood Orphanage. Her vision for the orphanage is to not only provide for the material needs of the orphans, but also the spiritual needs.  She hopes to teach the orphans how to live lives of true worship to the Lord. 

What does this mean?  Our Lord Jesus Christ desires that all of us would come to know him personally and intimately.  To have a close relationship with Him, seeking Him daily and dwelling daily in close communion and fellowship with Him.  This is a desire close to His heart.

If you should come visit Abokobe, please contact Naa’s family. They will be happy to provide you with good accommodations and the friendliest hospitality.  They will also be happy to show you around to the local tourist attractions.


Contact in Abokobe:

Dr. Aryeetey  233 244 38 10 73

Leonard and Naa Vanderpuye-Orgle  233 244 035 005

(Leonard is in Ghana prior to May 2008)


In the States, prior to May 2008:

Naa Vanderpuye-Orgle  678-480-8189


Naa is in need of financial support to get the orphanage started.  Right now, she is starting with a vision, but no support.  If you would like to donate to the Royal Priesthood Orphanage fund, or be a regular monthly supporter, please contact her at the numbers above.  If you would like to get a tax-deductible receipt for your donations, please contact SVR Missions in the States.   Please go to www.SVRmin.net for contact info.