The Ampuku (also Apuku or Ampoekoe) Winti Gado is a busi Winti. The Ampuku is usually described as a muscular African man. Most will assign the Ampuku Gado to a lower position in the Winti pantheon. Yet, the Ampuku is a very clever Winti, capable of imitating all the other Winti. Because of this trickster ability, it easy to be misled by the Ampuku. The Ampuku may reveal itself as another Winti, and no one will be the wiser. Except a bona fide luku man who will be able to recognize particular Ampuku characteristics which will also be revealed.
The Ampuku does a lot of the bidding of other Winti. It is said that when the higher Winti see reason for punishing a human servant, the Ampuku will be employed to carry out the ‘sentence’. Thus, the Ampuku also has the role of an executioner, which is one cause for the severe dislike that some people have for this Winti. However, as it is not Ampuku who has decided on the punishment, the bad name is uncalled for. Ampuku is ‘just the messenger’. The punished should set things right with the other Winti, instead of wasting time thinking ill of Ampuku.
A well known Ampuku lament is: “Mi na ampuku mi no habi neng”. Meaning, “I’m Ampuku, I have a bad name.”
It must be emphasized that Ampuku is usually just the messenger. The message can be bounty or punishment. Also, it is the Ampuku Winti who will usually reveal when all is not well. And, when there is work to be done, it is the Ampuku who is first to express a willingness to help. Also, Ampuku Gado is a very good healer.
The Ampuku Winti is judged as a bit fickle. One moment all seems well with Ampuku, but the next moment nothing may seem right. But, it may simply be the case of the Ampuku seeing more than any human eye can. Ampuku is the messenger for the other Winti for good reason. When all may seem alright to the human mind, the Ampuku may already be aware of a turn of events in the spiritual realm.
Three types of Ampuku Gado can be identified:
1. The Mafungu Ampuku (Mafunagu) (or Kankantri Ampuku)
The Mafungu Ampuku Winti lives in the Kankantri, and is the largest and smartest of the Ampuku Gado. This Ampuku has a lot of knowledge – of both realms – and thus a lot of power. This Ampuku will make His asi (horse, or vessel) directly an obia man or du man.
2. Man Ampuku
The Man (masculine) Ampuku Winti usually manifests himself in women. He is known to interfere in the sex lives of the women, and can even cause difficulties in fertility. As such the Ampuku is portrayed as a jealous god. But, the Ampuku knows more than the woman who engages in a sexual relation with a man. No matter the desire of the woman for the man, she may be better off choosing another partner. The Ampuku is not so flimsy that it would interfere without a good reason. Still, if a woman wishes to follow her desire instead of the warning of the Ampuku, an Ampuku pai (pay) – offered by the woman and desired man both – may stop interference, and may even turn a potential harmful relationship between the woman and the man, into a healthy one.
3. Uma Ampuku
The Uma (feminine) Ampuku is tempting, attractive and irressistable. She will usually look for a handsome or attractive boy or man to possess.
The Ampuku is not shy of hard work, and will commit to help the person He possesses. Thus, those who take care of their Ampuku Winti are awarded with a good – maybe even rich – life. Because of the possibility of bounty instead of punishment, one is to take care to maintain a good relationship with Ampuku Gado. “I will take care of you and your every need in life, but you should also pay me attention me and show me off with pride”, is what Ampuku masra (master) impresses on his carriers (vessels).
There is still more to the Ampuku Winti Gado. When the Ampuku actually identifies with another Winti like the Adumankama Winti, then the Ampuku can become quite powerful.
To honor the Ampuku Winti, one should wear jewelry that are ascribed to the Ampuku as His favorite. The favorite gudu of Ampuku Gado include:
- A silver bere banti (belly chain) with an attached key, hack or knife.
- An ala kondre or drai tei keti (silver or gold necklace), with a pendant hack.
- A gold ring with a black stone (some choose a blue stone), or a silver ring with a red stone.
- A silver or gold foot chain with a pendant hack.
- A silver or gold vriendschapsring (friendship ring).
An Ampuku watra (bath) is usually prepared in a three-footed cast-iron pot, and an iron hack is used.