What and who the President left out

A sound analysis of why the speech was controversial and why a lot of younger people challenged the president on his being economical with the actualite. Too many names were mentioned when the real intention was to big up and rehabilitate Danquah in relation to our independence. The president failed to convince anyone in this regard and almost tarnished the respect that some of us had for Danquah as politician who unlike the president failed to reached the highest public office in our country. Ekow raises important questions about Kulungugu and if the president had cared to read the judgement of his father sitting in the the supreme court on the the treason trial he would not have used this important occasion to discuss a matter that is already settled. Nkrumah remains The Founder of Ghana.

ekownelson

http://www.graphic.com.gh/features/opinion/what-and-who-the-president-left-out.html

Ekow Nelson

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, used his speech on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Ghana’s independence to retell the story of the struggle for self-government – memorialising victims and celebrating ‘heroes’ alike. He recalled seminal moments in that struggle, like the formation of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society on 4th August, 1897 and their unprecedented but successful mobilization of opposition to the Lands Bills that “forced the colonial authorities to retreat”.

In many ways, what the President did was to render his version of our recent political history about which there is little consensus, with many contested claims on both sides –especially between the United Party’s (UP) and the Convention People’s Party’s (CPP) versions of events.

While the speech was generally commendable in lauding the contributions of people as diverse as the musicologist Dr. Ephraim Amu, Yaa Asantewaa and the formidable Dede Ashikisham…

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James Barnor JamesTown Revisited – Ghana@60 a community photographic exhibition

James Barnor JamesTown Revisited – Ghana@60 a community photographic exhibition

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James Barnor has returned home and we must applaud this young at heart, 87 year old son of James Town, who still active with more projects and things to do, and who in recent times, has consistently put Ghana and Africa right at the top of the world’s attention with his iconic photographs of Ghana in its formative years.

He has been excited from last October 2016, when he held another exhibition in France at Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière where his photographs were projected all over the Metro stations and streets of Paris as publicity for the exhibition.  This exhibition was also used to promote a book of his photographs and he had an opportunity to present one to President Mahama who was then in France to attend a conference at Unesco.

Continue reading “James Barnor JamesTown Revisited – Ghana@60 a community photographic exhibition”

James Barnor JamesTown Revisited – Ghana@60 a community photographic exhibition

James Barnor JamesTown Revisited – Ghana@60 a community photographic exhibition

baffourOseiAkoto

nixon

Ever Young_Jamestown.jpg

James Barnor has returned home and we must applaud this young at heart, 87 year old son of James Town, who still active with more projects and things to do, and who in recent times, has consistently put Ghana and Africa right at the top of the world’s attention with his iconic photographs of Ghana in its formative years.

He has been excited from last October 2016, when he held another exhibition in France at Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière where his photographs were projected all over the Metro stations and streets of Paris as publicity for the exhibition.  This exhibition was also used to promote a book of his photographs and he had an opportunity to present one to President Mahama who was then in France to attend a conference at Unesco.

In our weekly discussions since then, he has continued to talk about how his original studio EverYoung on St Edmonds Street needs to be turned into a photographic museum to inspire other young people in James Town British Accra where it all started.  His other project was how to replicate the exhibition of his works that the Black Cultural Archives had mounted in Othello House Kennington to commemorate the Ghana@50 anniversary.

So, when he called one day, and left a message with my son for me, saying that he was on his way to Ghana, I did not quite know what to make of it till I saw in the Ghanaian news online that he had been invested with the honour of Member of the Order of the Volta.  He came back and I was privileged to have attended a reception held in his honour by one of his good friends and Black British celebrated photographer Neil Kenlock, who once co-owned the first commercial Black Radio Station in Britain and he would not stop talking about Ghana@60

Then one day he blurted out the good news. He was going back to France in February to host an exhibition on Ghana@60 at Unesco and then he was going to take that exhibition to Ghana to the former seat of government, the Christianborg Castle.

Well, certainly some of his photographs are now at that Ghana@60 exhibition, but it never really was the the solo exhibition he had contemplated.  The first time Mr Barnor had exhibited in Ghana was in 2012 at the British Council and the Accra Mall, an exhibition sponsored by Myx Quest of Qirv, but now he has two exhibitions going – one at the Movenpick that has been sponsored by the destination-ghana conference and has been ably organised by Ambassador Johanna Odonkor-Svanikier and another at Jamestown Café in Ussher Town.

The James Town exhibition is one of the most innovative exhibitions that has been curated in our time.  It challenges but also projects and promotes the concept that our productive endeavours will best flow out of our creative thoughts and energies and that unless we can appreciate our own arts and culture, our growth and development will remain deficient and dominated by foreign content.

Joe Osae-Addo has turned his ArchiAfrika Gallery and his James Town Café into a community facility to host this important exhibition.  In so doing he is providing a service to the JamesTown community that once boasted distinctive architecture of yesteryears and he has staked his commitment to the regeneration of the area in a way that blends with the people and their spirit.  Into this mix appears Allotey Bruce-Konuah, a visual communicator now running ‘accralomigh’, a scion of the original Bruce who gave us Bruce Road and the Konuah family of educational entrepreneurs who gave us Accra Academy.  He has done marvellous work with the young pupils in Chorkor and probably now coming back home to help transform the artistic and cultural landscape of JamesTown with this unusual exhibition.

Allotey had started his working life at ‘photofusion’ in Brixton and had always been interested in recording and documenting iconic images of communities in transition so that their visual images can be preserved for posterity.

Allotey was the first to start digitising Mr Barnor’s work in 1998 at the offices of Equinox Consulting in Brixton South London. Mr Barnor had exhibited his photographs before on his 75th birthday, an exhibition attended by the then Ghna High Commissioner in the UK, Isaac Osei; his works have been previous curated by Rachel Pepper of the Acton Arts Centre, but it was Allotey who introduced Mr James Barnor to the Black Cultural Archives and through him that he met other curators who have exhibited his works at the BCA in South London, at the Autograph in Shoreditch, at the prestigious October Gallery in Holborn, in Manchester and Bristol and Medway, at Harvard University, in Chicago, in Toronto, Canada in South Africa and France and several other places.

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Now, Mr James Barnor’s face and his works have been splashed all over in several photographic and news magazines and respected newspapers such as the New York Times and the Guardian newspapers and though his photographs have been on the walls of great institutions such as the Tate Gallery and in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, but there was still unfinished business between the two.

As Allotey recounts “I am privileged to have known Mr Barnor, who I also consider to be a good friend, and I am very proud that though the genesis of this association started in Britain we are harvesting its fruitful produce in Jamestown British Accra with this unique exhibition of his works”.

Allotey says that “Mr Barnor remains an inspiration to me which is why I  started the EveryoungJBA.org project that is building a veritable archive of our past. It already provides several photographs of places and families, it will now become a fully-fledged audio visual archive to preserve the best in music, film, photographs and important documents”.

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The beauty of the current exhibition being curated by Allotey Bruce-konuah is that these ‘Independence Photographs’ were the very first negatives that Allotey digitised and it is fortuitous that these pictures now have a pride of place in the community where a lot of the action of the independence took place.

Bringing them back to the community is important it may just inspire another JamesTown born 28-year-old, the age Mr James Barnor was when he took those photographs 60 years ago to adopt photography.

In the often-repeated cliché, ‘pictures tell a thousand words’, or rather ‘pictures do not lie’,  the fact that they cannot be easily revised means that they will not excite any controversy.

For me this is the real reason for anyone to attend this exhibition.  There are no photographs of my contribution to the cause of independence and Mr James Barnor did not capture me as I marched down the street to the event, but I was there too, but the are several photographs of some of the unsung ones who helped usher in our freedom, sixty years ago,.

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James Barnor Jamestown Revisited is running till the 5th of May 2017 at ArchiAfrica Gallery, James Town Café and on the streets of James and Ussher Town in Accra.

Ade Sawyerr is a partner in the diversity focused management consultancy Equinox Consulting that works on issues relating to economic development of disadvantaged communities and social cultural and political issues of African heritage people in the Diaspora. He can be reached at jwasawyerr@gmail.com, followed @adesawyerr, and read at https://adesawyerr.wordpress.com

 

History of the CPP

History of the CPP by Ekow Nelson and Micheal Gyamerah with Ade Sawyerr

 

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Summary of the achievements of the C.P.P.

 

Standard of living and industrialization

During the period of the first C.P.P. government the standard of living of the people was greatly enhanced. Houses, schools clinics, hospitals, were opened. A network of roads, considered among the best in Africa was constructed. Piped water supply was provided to villages which had never before enjoyed such an amenity. Many state enterprises and corporations were set up, supervised by a State Management Committee.

Among new industries founded were two cocoa processing plants, two sugar refineries, a textile printing plant, a glass factory, a chocolate factory, a meat processing plant, and a large printing works at Tema. In addition, work was far advanced on a gold refinery at Tarkwa, cement, shoe and rubber tyre factories, and a factory for the manufacture of pre-fabricated houses. Ghana was beginning to supply local demand for many basic consumer goods, using locally produced raw materials.

The harbour at Takoradi was extended. An entirely new harbour was constructed at Tema with a dual carriageway to connect the new town and port of Tema with Accra.

Communications of all kinds, telephone, radio, newspapers were developed. Ghana had its own shipping line, the Black Star Line, also its own airline, Ghana Airways. The Ghana Navy and Air Force owe their origins to the CPP government.

Great strides were made to modernize and diversify agriculture, breaking away from the limited, colonial pattern of a single crop economy. The C.P.P.’s agricultural policy aimed to provide the nation’s food, and also the needs of industry.

State farms cultivated rubber, oil palm, banana, citrus fruits and other crops. Canning and processing plants were built. The agricultural wing of the Workers’ Brigade alone farmed some 12,500 acres of cereals and vegetables. Ghana’s forests supplied timber for a growing furniture industry and for export.

The Volta River Project (VRP)

C.P.P plans for industrialization and radical social reform involved the production of hydro-electric power on a massive scale. It was the purpose of the VRP to provide this power with enough capacity to spare for export to neighbouring states.

Ghana was estimated to have sufficient bauxite to last for 200 years. It was the intention to process this through an alumina plant at Tema using hydro-electric power from the Dam at Akosombo. The Volta Dam was officially opened by Nkrumah on 23rd January 1966. He described it as ‘the greatest of all our development projects’.

 Education

The 1961 Education Act made education compulsory for all school-age children, boys and girls. Education from primary to university level was made free. Textbooks were supplied free to pupils in primary, middle and secondary schools.

New schools and colleges were opened. The University College of the Gold Coast become the University of Ghana, enlarged with new faculties more suited to meet the needs of a rapidly developing independent state. From Achimota the University moved to Legon where an entirely new university campus had been built. Staff in the Extra-Mural Department travelled the country bringing higher education to those whose had ceased with leaving school.

The economic development plans of the party required skilled scientists and technicians. These were trained in the Kumasi College of Technology, later to become the University of Science and Technology. By 1966, Ghana had one of the highest literacy rates in Africa and among the best  public services.

Continue reading “History of the CPP”