The people, according to oral tradition, left Adzatome after God confused the language they spoke and understood.
New clusters of people that spoke the same language emerged and they rallied around new leaders and left Babel which was a suburb of Adzatome to found new settlements.
The ancestors of the Ewes left under their leader called Gu and settled at the delta of the Nile River in the present-day Egypt. As time went on, they were joined by new migrants from other parts of the region.
The Jews also came to join them during the severe drought which brought famine that lasted seven years in the land of Canaan. It was there that the Ewes adopted the circumcision of their male children on the eighth day, composition of long songs, and the worship of the Jewish God Jehovah, the name they corrupted to sound Yewe. Another cultural practice the Ewes adopted from the Jews was the art of pouring of libation.
When the Egyptian Empire fell, the Ewes like the Jews also migrated under the leadership of Mi to Sudan. They were overwhelmed by the vast sea of sand of the Sahara Desert and called the place Ketu. The name Ketu means grinding sand which perhaps signifies the abrasion of the sand during the sandstorms.
The name Ketume and Khartoum give credence to the assumption that the two names could be the same settlement. Ketume means inside the grinding sand.
After staying awhile in Sudan, the Ewes were forced again by drought, famine and slave raids by Arabs to migrate under their leader, So into Abyssinia or Ethiopia. While there, they contributed to the growth and development of Axum and the Cush empires. They were also attacked again by the Arabs. Some of them were captured and sold as slaves in India. The Ewes found it very difficult to withstand the Arab invaders and finally decided under their leader to move out of Abyssinia.
Upon leaving Ethiopia, they moved south-westwards into the region between the bend of the river Niger and the middle reaches of the Senegal River. This was between AD 500 and 1200. During their stay, they contributed to the rise of the Ghana Empire. The capital of the old Ghana Empire was Walata near Timbuktu. Even today, the Ewes refer to the people of Nigeria as ‘Alatatowo’ meaning people coming from Walata which they know to be very far away but cannot be geographically located. There is a drum in Anlo called ‘Ganawu’ meaning the drum of a hyena which when played sounds like the roar of the hyena which incidentally was the insignia of the old Ghana Empire.
The Ghana Empire collapsed and was replaced by the old Mali Empire, one of the most powerful and fearsome king of that empire was Mari Dzata. The word lion in Ewe is ‘Dzata’ which was the insignia of the old Mali Empire. The name Mari Dzata in Ewe means ‘Ameadi Dzata which means the man resembles or is like the lion with reference to the King who was very hard and powerful. When Mari Dzata died his empire began to disintegrate due to internal and external forces. This led to the departure of many sub-ethnic and cultural groups which formed the Mali Empire. The Ewes also left rather than serve under the new Songhai overlords who conquered the old Mali Empire.
The Ewe conceive of the next world not as a separate and an independent world which happens to be next to this world, but as an integral part of this world and interactive with it. Reference to the next world, in the daily life of the Ewe of West Africa cannot therefore be treated meaningfully without knowledge of this world considered cosmologically as a unit.
For the Ewe this world taken as an orderly system is xexeme, but when it is considered as the abode of human beings who are conscious of their existence then it is referred to as Kodzogbe and so one name for human beings is Kodzogboawo, meaning conscious beings or conscients. The Dual High God, Mawu-Lisa is said to be responsible for the existence of the world as an orderly universe – xexeme – as well as the abode of conscious human beings – kodzogbeawo.
According to an Ewe cosmogonic belief, the world was not created but ordered into a unitary form organized into an orderly system, and Mawu-Lisa, the Dual High God was its chief organizer, who was helped by the Serpent (Da) in Ewe who is a semi-personal organizing power, the force or principle of life, motion and eternal rejuvenation. She acted as a creative instrument of Mawu-Lisa and as a conscious assistant in the process of ordering the world as follows: firstly, the world was gathered together by the Serpent, Da, then the places of the waters were determined; secondly, the two halves of the universe were welded together and secured by the Serpent, the two halves of the universe were welded together and secured by the Serpent, Da, who called around the inchoate earth and thus enabling it to be firmly gathered together. The Serpent is then the organizing, ordering and maintaining principle of the universe and it is a refraction of the Dual God, Mawu-Lisa, in her role as an organizing and maintaining power.
After the organization of the universe, the animals and vegetation of the wilds were called into being. Finally, Mawu-Lisa formed the first human beings from clay and water, the mixture being worked over in the same manner that clay and water are worked over to provide building materials for the walls of a house. The place where the act of forming man takes place is the next world called severally as: Amedzofe, Bome, Bofe, Feme, Mabome, Mafe, Dime, Sofe. Any of these names are used for the next world when it is conceived of as the place from which we originate, but when it is considered as the place where we go back to after death then it is referred to by any one of the following names: Afe, Agume, Awlime, Avlisi, Kutonu, Kuwode, Noliwode,Togbuiwode, Togbuiwogbo, Tsiefe, Tsietonu, Vovlowde and Yome.
The next world therefore has a dual name depending upon which of its dual functions is being referred to and the dual names correspond to the dual names of the Dual High God – Mawu-Lisa. In the Dual Mawu-Lisa, Mawu is the female principle of life and Lisa is the male principle of death. Whenever the next world is thought of as the source or origin of the (dzogbe or dzofe, Ewe), then it is a female principle, i.e. Mawu, the principle of life and so in the creation myth the Moulder of human beings is called Bomeno, i.e. The Mother of Bome. Bome itself stands for that which gives birth or life to, living things a form.
Whenever the next world is thought of as the place where life ends, then it is a male principle, Lisa, the principle of death, and so the person who welcomes the soul of the departed back is a man, father, thus when an individual is dead he is said to have gone to the fathers’ and never to the mothers. To the Ewe therefore, the next world’s is both the origin and destination of life, it gives birth to life and ends it and so it is conceived of as both female and male principles, principles of creativity and destructivity, the beginning and the end of existence.