Destination Accra: Kwame Nkrumah’s Lair, Labadi Beach, Architecture- A Photo Essay.
An avid reader, was in Accra for business and a fair bit of pleasure. In the spirit of seca.ku-laughter,happiness, joy shared, he let us in on all the sights of the Ghanaian capital. Having visited Accra in the mid-November, the weather provided pristine photography conditions. Enjoy!
Accra Beach Front: Labadi Beach Labadi Beach Accra Ghana: Perfect Romance getaway?
A couple taking an evening stroll along Labadi Beach, Accra, Ghana. The journey to Accra took this contributor from latitude 0 along the Kenyan Indian ocean coast, eastwards across longitude zero to the shores of the Atlantic along the Gold Coast.
Labadi beach ought be your first stop in Accra. If not, you better find a better host/tour guide.Sun, sand, swallow, swim, socialize, stroll = Labadi beach.
Nonetheless, the photographer’s expectations had taken a drive into the blue depths of the sea given that the golden sands of Labadi on the shores of the Atlantic were far removed from the white sands of Nyali and Malindi on the Indian ocean that he was so used to.
That, was until he chanced upon this scene straight from a movie or better still, what could be in another, another life a chapter off a Jane Austen book.
This, certainly the kind of stuff that makes one dream of a place once gone, and wish for just a hundred more nights.
Where To Stay: Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, Accra, Ghana
Said to be the priciest stay on offer in Accra. Movenpick Ambassador hotel offers spectacular views including Accra traffic on the adjacent Independence avenue. With all the trappings of the hotel industry holy grail of “a home away from home”, we find the name rather curious. For a full listing of where to stay in Accra, check out Tripadvisor Accra Listings
So where do the masses reside? Just in case you are getting inclined to make the move to Ghana’s capital permanent, in this shot a preview of one of Accra’s suburbs.
What about the ruling class?
Another curious name comes up: Flagstaff House. One thing’s for sure, don’t let a Ghanaian name anything! This is the equivalent of The White House or 10 Downing Street. Designed by an Indian architect via an Indian government grant.
Like most things African and Power, it is riddled by its fair share of controversy: From the building cost to occupation. Its use is dependent largely the preferences of whoever is president.The Flagstaff House: A fine piece of architecture nonetheless.
A Taste Of Accra Art & Architecture: The National Theater, Ghana
While it is the Indians who sought influence in modern day Ghana through the Flagstaff House, a choice that unashamedly went straight for the Jugular, their Asian rivals, China, went for the ‘softer’ side, gifting Ghana the iconic state of the art National Theater.
Surprisingly though, the inspiration for the building in magnificent white with marble finish appears to be a ship or a seagull in flight- depending on your sense of shape. History informs us it is the former of the Asians was the better seafarer.
In a recent radio interview, eminent Ghanaian creative mind David Dontoh was at loss at the erosion of Ghanaian culture:
most of the youths you find in Ghana today, they call themselves Ghanaians but in fact, in their minds they don’t think like Ghanaian, they don’t speak Ghanaian languages, they don’t eat Ghanaian foods, they don’t dress like Ghanaian, and they don’t like Ghanaian songs”
The genius of David Dontoh’s take on the future of Ghana in the 21st Century becomes apparent in the wisdom of his words:
civilizations have risen and fallen and gone extinct and it was all because they did not see the need to take good care of their traditions and cultures and the heritage they came to meet………..we should use the medium of theater and film to project, because other cultures vigorously projected their cultures through these media and that is what we have to do because at the end of the day, that is what promotes and markets your economy out there…You don’t market your economy based on someone else culture…..The basis of the economy is the culture, once you lose the culture, you’ve lost it,
To David Dontoh, a sage insight you have. Nonetheless, on a comparison scale, Ghana and indeed Accra would lord over many capitals in sub-Saharan Africa on the culture and art front. At least you get an A+ for effort.
The vagaries of the 21st century has left a desert of art in most of these capitals. Little wonder it that the Ghanaian film industry along with Nigeria’s Nollywood reign supreme in the living rooms of Nairobi, Daressalam, Kampala and beyond.
In Accra, There’s A Lion’s Lair
Nkrurumah’s MausoleumThe Accra round wouldn’t be complete without a trip downtown to the Lions lair: Kwame Nkurumah’s Mausoleum and Memorial Park.
There is no doubt about his eminence as one of the founding fathers of not only Ghana but also post colonial Africa. A widely traveled intellectual, even among this generation of Africa’s independence leaders, he stood shoulders above.
Perhaps only Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, though of differing ideological leanings, could share a table a with Osagyefo. They say boys have swag, men have style while gentlemen have class.
As our lady readers would concur, the yardstick for this lies in three things: the watch, the shoes and the car. Lying ‘in state’, at the Kwame Nkrumah’s Mausoleum Accra, Ghana; is the Gold Coast’s founding father’s wheels. A blue Cadillac! Even Snoop Lion would approve of this.
Ay! What a man. However special Nkrumah the leader, he wasn’t immune to the happenings of the day.
Like many independence African leaders, his regime fell to the winds of cold war geopolitics; the pandemic schizoid disease that afflicted African independence leaders that John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton described as “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
The disenfranchisement of the ruled following unrealized lofty independence dreams; the remnants of colonial divide and rule tactics that balkanized nascent African nations along tribal, class and religious lines; that heralded the coup-de-tat age of Africa which spanned through most of the 60’s and 70’s.
Finally, he rests
Kwame Nkrumah’s bronze statue at the mausoleum.This statue, in many ways encapsulates the man. He points forward and up; is dressed in what appears to be flowing silk or the finest cotton yet has a simple or if you prefer, a pauper’s footwear: His dream for Africa, and its fuel- a patchwork of ideological leanings.
Following unpopular socioeconomic reforms initiated by Kwame Nkrumah’s independence government, In the February of 1966, rebels led by Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka led a successful coup-de-tat.This statue of Kwame Nkrumah, well…