Published in DASH# 12-13 – Global Housing
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Tema Manhean

TemaMaxwell Fry & Jane Drew

In 1952, a year after Kwame Nkrumah became the first Prime Minister of what was then the British colony of the Gold Coast (now Ghana), the decision was made to build a brandnew harbour as part of the ambitious Volta River Project.1 For the relocation of Tema, a small fishing village that stood in the way of the new development, the English office of Maxwell Fry, Jane Drew and Denys Lasdun was engaged. Although there was a plan for a whole new city to be built on the site of the demolished village, it was decided not to incorporate the villagers in this new city. Instead, a separate settlement was designed (Tema Manhean) so that the villagers could keep their own identity while still improving their living environment. This decision caused a serious dilemma: because of its authenticity the tribe was condemned to remain an enclave of traditional living, while next door in the new Tema modern progress unfolded in all its attractiveness . . .

Notes:

  • The Volta River Project included the building of an aluminium smelter in
    Tema, a huge dam in the Volta River (now: Akosombodam) and a network of
    power lines installed throughout southern Ghana.