Tag Archives: West Africa

A West African Diary (195) part three

West African diary ghana mapOur visitor to West Africa (see previous Jots) in 1954 travelled by ship from Freetown to Takoradi on the Gold Coast ( now Ghana) in late February. On the 21stof this month he recorded his impressions of his fellow passengers.

At sea

Dinner  time. Is the African a snub? Observations of my fellow third-class passengers reveals it—because I boarded the boat at Freetown, and they from the UK, they are aloof. A Yoruba woman boasted to me that my journey from Freetown to Takoradi was short; and that I should go to England to experience the roughness of the bay. What arrant nonsense! Afternoon of us Africans are sweating profusely. An English woman—Rev! Paterson travelling to Ashanti to stay with Prempeh, king. Gave the sermon this morning. Although I did not attend I hear that she was very frank British Colonial policy. Racial strife in South Africa. Australia’s white only policy ; the erudite class of China and India; and the teeming thousands of these two countries. After supper discussion. Mr ( blank) a law graduate returning home to Nigeria told the story of a young Nigerian doctor who returned home with an English wife. His father did not know of the marriage and therefore resented it. During the party held in the honour of the new arrival, the father refused to mix with the young couple and drank alone. Pretty soon he walked up to his daughter-in-law and called her names. Her husband held her hand. She looked pleasantly on. The doctor’s mother had taken to her grandchild. Meanwhile the news of the Doctor’s marriage spread like wild-fire. And the town resented it. But the wife proved herself capable, and with the help of her husband she won all the women, young and old, on to her side.; old men too were soon admiring her qualities. She is the most popular woman in the town –an Ebo town.


By 2ndMarch he had reached his destination. On this day we find him witnessing the usual rowdy local elections.


March 2, 1954. Municipal Elections .

Ward 5.

I arrived on the scene at 6.30 a.m. The queue was large—polling starts at 7 a.m. Enthusiastic crowd. C.C.P. vans plough the whole area of ward 5. A van is playing Yoruba records in the Yoruba quarters ; a woman propagandist is really telling the women why they as women should vote C.C.P. The political machinery of the party is efficient—most of the men & women queuing are illiterate, esp. Hausa’s & Fantis…A C.C.P. propagandist speaking Hausa, shouting slogans …C.C.P. candidate’s name—Atta Housaine. Continue reading

A West African Diary part two

freetown_1947In our first extract from the diary kept by an anonymous male visitor ( possibly of African heritage) to West Africa early in 1954 we left him looking around Freetown in February. We continue with his observations from the 13thof that month.


‘ People one pass in the street at 7.30 a.m. have pleasant odour. Had some paw-paw this morning. Did nothing spectacular this morning and afternoon. Went to the City Hotel this evening with Mr John and meet there a Swede seaman who had been in hospital. He is waiting for a ship to go home.


Feb 14.

I went to the City Hotel this morning for a cup of tea. From the Hotel veranda I saw a queer thing—a middle age European and wife entered their car; the wife sat in front with the driver, the husband sat in the back alone. Got a cable from Sam at 11 o/c A.M.


15 Feb.

Camara & I went to the City Hotel. There we were invited into the august comp. of Lawyer Mahoney, Markus Jones, Admin. Officer, who travelled on the Apapa with us, and a local newspaper man, and a building contractor. The discussions were very enlighting.


16 February.

I saw a distasteful scene this afternoon in a primary school near Victoria Pk. A teacher was caning juvenile with all the vigour he can muster. Its was discraceful . Advance 30/- to John.


February 17, 1954.

I met a Somali in Victoria Pk. We were both listening to the radio news . Finally we got to know each other . I learnt a lot from him. He is a Moslem. The Syrians and the Indians in Freetown do not respect nor trust the inhabitants . They would rather keep a stranger in the city. There are three million Syrians out of Syria. Continue reading