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An Original Photograph Album of the Gold Coast Colony (Ghana) Taken by a Young officer of the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF), Gold Coast Regiment
Kingdom of Ashanti, British Gold Coast (Ghana): , 1945. Kingdom of Ashanti, British Gold Coast (Ghana), 1945. An original album of photographs from the Gold Coast Colony, with special attention paid to indigenous ways of life, as seen by a young officer of the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF), Gold Coast Regiment. Oblong 8vo. Album, diamond patterned cloth boards with illustrated paper label, contains 147 black and white photographs with white borders, mounted double sided onto 19 blue cardstock leaves and captioned in manuscript. Most photographs measure approximately 3.25 x 3.5 inches; seven measure 5.25 x 3.25 inches, and the frontis photograph measures 9.5 x 4.5 inches. Boards age-toning and frayed to extremities, otherwise in Very Good Condition with crisp images. Fascinating album of photographs taken by a cheeky young chap serving in the British Army, at the dawn of the decolonization of Africa, his regiment being stationed in the colonies then known as the Kingdom of Ashanti and the Gold Coast Region. The album begins with a large sepia photograph of the RMS Aquatania, then commissioned as a troop transport ship in the Atlantic, on which the men were brought to Accra, the capital of the British Gold Coast, centered around its port. Indigenous life and tribal custom is captured in numerous photographs, outdoor markets replete with fruit merchants and brimming weaved baskets, round huts with cylindrical peaked roofs called giddas, quaint mud and thatched-roof dwellings, a bush compound, groups of fishermen and their boats, a striking image of innumerable fishing canoes with their rims adorned with painted detail and flanking the cliffs near the 17th century Dutch Fort Christianborg or Osu Castle in Accra. Women, being reputed for the burden of labour in Africa, are indeed seen in many such roles in this volume. Some are selling the fish in the streets of Accra, others selling produce or cotton; several are carrying large sacs and baskets on their heads including a pottery merchant balancing two enormous clay vases; others are washing, nurturing children, braiding hair, and manually pounding cassava. A long elevated platform of cocoa beans drying in the sun is unsupervised but for a child sitting amidst the beans, the crop soon to be sorted by the women. (Cocoa was introduced to Ghana in 1878, Koforidu being one of the country’s oldest cocoa-producing centres. Founded in 1875 by Akan migrants from Asanteman, it is now the capital of Eastern Region in south Ghana. With the completion of the Kumasi railway in 1923 Koforidua also become an important road and rail junction.) Images portraying a vibrant community include those of a tribal drummer in traditional costume with his drum wrapped in leopard hide, the use of immense parasols, a snake charmer, and a street festival. Many photographs of modest villagers are taken, and in great contrast, photographed with an entourage of dignitaries is the Chief of Kibi, South Ghana, Nana Ofori Atta II, the Okyenhene or King of the wealthy Akyem Abuakwa kingdom, who reigned from September 1943 to 13 June 1958, and at the time claimed rule over a population of 160,000. Leisure activities for the British men including swimming in te ocean, sailing on a lagoon near Labadi Beach, a canoe tour of a lagoon in Korle Gonno in the Greater Accra Region, visiting markets, and a successful crocodile hunt. Camps were erected near the city of Accra, and also near a village of Zongo people situated in the Korle-Bu district of the Ashanti region of South Ghana, known today for the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital which was founded in 1923 as the Gold Coast Hospital. The men are shown building a railroad, and travelled to numerous places by road and by rail, sometimes on a Pullman sleeping car. The young men in these photographs would follow in the footsteps of British troops led by Sir Francis Scott in the late 1890s, who marched to Kumasi, from where the king was exiled to the Elmina Castle, then to Sierra Leone, and later to Seychels. Locations identified in captions are as follows: Accra, Zuarongo, Koforidua, Elmina, Takoradi, Kumasi, Korle Bu, the palm tree lined road to Achimota, Navrongo (8 miles south of French Equatorial Africa), and also a view of Freetown Harbour in Sierra Leone as the vessels cruises by..
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts, ]
Last Found On: 2014-02-01           Check availability:      Biblio    

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