Dear Ataa Aflah Barnor,
As one of our very few remaining elders of the Jamestown community, I will call you on your birthday and sing you a song and wish you the best, again and again, every year as you edge gracefully towards your ton!.
The central piece of your work that I present here evokes memories of my childhood days in the 1950’s Jamestown British Accra. I still think of my childhood trip every Sunday to church in my finest European clothes of the time, walking through Bruce Road, Commodore Street, St Edmonds, and then High Street to the Church at Holy Trinity trailing after my older siblings and the very occasional stop after Church at Everyoung Studio.
The recurring theme of your photography for me is how you brought families together in that elite community that can only be recreated through astute regeneration. So as you celebrate your birthday, I can only think about family and what legacy we leave for them. It is only strong and united families that can strengthen the community and only strong communities that can influence society in a positive way.
As for me, I am happy that I continue in the tradition of driving from Croydon to Ealing for my monthly church service and a detour to Danehurst accompanied by my family and the occasional photograph in my finest African clothes more than 60 something years later.
I leave you with that one here
Ataa Aflah, Nyɔŋmɔ ajɔɔ bo ni ehabo wala
Mr Barnor, may the Lord continue to bless you and give you life.
Your friend and ‘nephew’
Croydon 31st May 2020