Migration, Urbanisation and Evolving identities – The Story of Adedainkpo in Old Accra
By Gilbert Nii-Okai Addy December 2012
Adedainkpo in Old Accra – not many Ghanaians would know this today – was for over one hundred and fifty years, from the early 1800s to perhaps the 1950s , where nearly anyone who was anyone among the native African elite in the Gold Coast lived. It was for that entire period, effectively most of the British colonial period, the equivalent of East Legon in the scheme of the Accra of today. It was veritably the centre of economic, social , cultural and intellectual life in Accra and the British Gold Coast colony.
One may be able to catch a glimpse of this glorious history by the scale of most of the now sadly crumbling grand houses there. The houses were even bigger in some parts of Korle Wokon firther down Hansen Road from the Wesley Methodist Church and towards the old UTC Katamanto area.
Housing for most people in nearly all of the colonial Gold Coast during would have been most rudimentary – mud huts, ta few wooden or concrete houses and the like at best.
Adedainkpo , was where most of the educated elite of Accra and the Gold Coast lived and the entire area , before the later development of Adabraka and Kaneshie, was the economic, social and cultural heart of Accra.
In my primary school in Accra in the 1960s, although many if not most of the Ghanaian pupils there and then could trace their origins to Adedainkpo, I was the only one who physically lived at there because I lived with my grandmother as my own parents were out of Ghana for much of that time. As such I got to know the area very intimately. Now what most of my friends and colleagues knew as my grandmother’s house was and still is i in fact not her house at all but her great grand parents house. Yes, the house was originally owned by my grandmother’s own great grandparents. So I actually grew up in a family house in which I was in fact something like a sixth or even seventh generation resident, which coming to think of, is actually quite interesting. My roots in the area go back several generations.Now what , one may ask, is the import of all this ? Continue reading “The Story of Adedainkpo in Old Accra”→
Linguistic Peregrinations of a Native Son
By Gilbert Nii-Okai Addy
The dictionary definition of the word “gargantuan” that has recently become enormously popular in Ghana and in “Ghenglish” ( Ghanaian English ) is “ extremely large or massive”. Related words or synonyms could be any among the following : giant, gigantic, jumbo, elephantine, colossal and perhaps even gargantuan itself !!!
Some lexicographers and linguists think that the word “gargantuan” should only be used to describe things connected with food in such ways as “ a gargantuan meal”, “a gargantuan appetite “ and perhaps even “ a gargantuan potbelly” , unfortunately and impolitely for some people !
The origins of the word is acknowledged to be from “Gargantua” , the large-mouthed giant in the collection of five novels by the French Renaissance author François Rabelais ( 1494-1553). It is supposedly derived from the Latin “garganta” which means “gullet “ or “throat “. Thanks to my being among the very last generation of Ghanaians to have studied Latin at Adisadel, I can confidently though modestly claim to know that this is the same Latin root as in the word “gargle” in the English language which many would be familiar with. After all who has not ever had to “gargle” ? Continue reading “GARGANTUAN !”→
Call for Lambeth’s Black Caribbean Community to take part in major listening exercise
Cllr Lorna Campbell, cabinet member for Equalities and Communities has called on Lambeth’s Black Caribbean Community to take part in a major listening exercise in March and April. The council is undertaking research to listen to the views and experiences of Lambeth’s black Caribbean community.
Whist the discussion on the results of 2011 census rages, the headlines seem to be more emotive than based on rigorous analysis of the figures and its implications. There is certainly a need for more information on the Black Caribbean population, especially in the places that they are usually associated with in order for a more informed discussion to take place. Places such as Lambeth need more critical analysis.
Between 1991 and 2001, the percentage of the Black Caribbean population increased from 1.05% to 1.14% in England. In London it increased from 4.36% to 4.79%, and in Outer London, it increased from 2.71% to 3.49%. However between 2001 and 2011, the percentage of the Black Caribbean population has decreased in all these areas. It is down to 1.11% in England, down to 4.22% in London and down to 3.45% in Outer London.