Mountains in Ghana: Mount Gemi
It is almost cruel to know that Mount Gemi does not get the same recognition and mention as Mount Afadjato considering the fact that Mount Gemi only fell short of being the highest mountain in Ghana by some 85 metres, standing at 800metres while Mount Afadja stands at 885metres.
That notwithstanding, Mount Gemi, located in Amedzofe in the Volta region, is arguably one of the most visited mountains in Ghana, second only to the iconic Mount Afadja but with a more checkered and storied past compared to its compatriot.
Origin of the name
While the rest of Ghana refer to the mountain as Mount Gemi, the original and traditional name of the mountain is Mount Gayito, which means ‘God of Defense’ in the indigenes local dialect. The name Mount Gemi, however, was derived from an abbreviation GEMI which stood for German Evangelical Missions Institute.
German Evangelical Missions Institute (GEMI)
The Germans in 1939 decided to mount a cross on Mount Gayito to celebrate their 50yrs of settlement in Amedzofe and on this cross, they inscribed the name German Evangelical Missions Institute (GEMI). As more tourists visited the mountain and found it hard to pronounce GAYITO, they resorted to calling the mountain by the abbreviation (GEMI) of the name inscription on the cross they had seen at the summit of the mountain.
Gradually the name Gayito faded away and people, especially those living outside Amedzefo adopted the abbreviation GEMI as the name of the mountain, hence today it is known by all and sundry as Mount Gemi instead of Mount Gayito.
Origin of the Original Name, Gayito
It is believed that during the early 1800s when tribal and ethnic wars were very rife, the Ashantis who were the most powerful group attacked them several times, however, on each occasion, they were defeated by the Amedzofe people who believed that the mountain was behind their victory as it protected them and made an attack on the town difficult, giving them an advantage over their enemies. They then decided to name it Gayito meaning God of Defense with the belief that the mountain was a god offering them protection.