Lived Modernity in Tema: Studying Home Histories

Hanna Baumann
Highway Africa Research Studio Paper, 2019

Tema is a new town planned and built during Ghana’s era of independence, under the regime of Kwameh Nkrumah. The master plan, by the renowned Greek planner Constantinos Doxiadis, provided homes for workers from all over Ghana. But the plan also promised to transform “traditional” Ghanaian society by creating an exemplary city based on industrial work and modern family life. Through an analysis of home histories and the neighborhood space in between these homes, I tried to understand how the inhabitants of Tema adopted and rejected the family modernization and social engineering ambitions of this top-down master plan. The families I studied remodeled their to serve changing needs and different imaginations, thereby creating their own modernity.

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