The Krobo people are an ethnic group in Ghana. They are grouped as part of the Ga-Adangbe ethnolinguistic group and they are also the largest group of the seven Dangme ethnic groups of Southeastern Ghana.
The Krobo are farming people who occupy Accra Plains, Akuapem Mountains, and the Afram Basin.
In the Krobo community, the girl child’s transition from childhood to adulthood, ‘Dipo’, is of prime importance in the development of the community. The transition acknowledges the part women play in the welfare of society; hence the performance of elaborate puberty rites for girls.
The performance of the Dipo puberty rite which is usually done in the month of April is therefore regarded as a means of unifying teenage women in their social role and integrating the arts of the Krobo people.
Parents upon hearing the announcement of the rites send their qualified girls to the chief priest. However, these girls would have to go through rituals and tests to prove their chastity before they qualify to partake in the festival.
On the first day of the rites, the girls have their heads shaved and dressed with cloth around their waist to just their knee level.
This is done by a special ritual mother and it signifies their transition from childhood to adulthood. They are paraded to the entire community as the initiates (dipo-yo).
Early the next morning, the chief priest gives the initiates a ritual bath. He pours a libation to ask for blessings for the girls. He then washes their feet with the blood of a goat which their parents presented.
This is to drive away any spirit of barrenness. The crucial part of the rite is when the girls sit on the sacred stone.
This is to prove their virginity. However, any girl found to be pregnant or not a virgin is detested by the community and does not entice a man from the community.
The girls are then housed for a week, where they are given training on cooking, housekeeping, childbirth, and nurture.
The ritual mothers give them special lessons on seduction and how their husbands will expect to be treated. They learn the Klama dance which will be performed on the final day of the rites.
After the one-week schooling, they are finally released and the entire community gathers to celebrate their transition into womanhood.
They are beautifully dressed in rich kente cloth accessorised with beads around their waist, neck, and arms.
With singing and drumming, they perform the Klama dance. At this point, any man interested in any one of them can start investigating into her family.
It is assumed that any lady who partakes in the rites not only brings honour to herself but to her family at large.
The Dipo festival is believed to encourage and educate young women into knowing their responsibilities before stepping into marriage.