Accra, GHA by Julien Lanoo


Jamestown, one of the oldest districts of Accra, is a community with a very strong identity. Its history begins with the erection of James fort by the British in 1673 and, in time, it emerged as the first man-made harbor on the coast. Located on the Gulf of Guinea, the district carries the history of its colonial past and of a dense mixture of commercial and residential uses. At the beginning of the 20th century, when the main maritime port relocated to Takoradi, and upon the country’s independence, new social differentiation transformed the beachscape, marking Jamestown to become one of the poorest and most densely populated areas of the city today.

There is no distinction between work and social space. The fishing port, the semi-informal housing, the wooden shacks, the markets and the colonial architecture are inherent to the existing socio-economic urban network. Yet despite its amorphous character, there are implications of certain disjunction: the informal settlements are separated from the colonial architecture, the market and the port by the sea defence wall. Inhabited mostly by the Ga, Jamestown is home to fishermen, merchants and artists, coexisting as part of a single dynamic and complex inhabitation.

Text by Joana Lazarova

More surveys: