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Numo James Aflah Barnor at 91 years – Happy Birthday!

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.

Numo James Aflah Barnor

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’

Ade Sawyerr

Croydon 31st May 2020

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The Matters Arising blog is a collection of thought-provoking, thought-leadership pieces sprinkled with some blue-sky thinking on pertinent issues affecting African communities both in the diaspora and at home. It includes articles on culture, politics, social and economic advancement, diversity and inclusion, community cohesion topics. It is also a repository of the political history of Ghana, traditions of the Gadagme people of Ghana, and the Pan-African politics of Kwame Nkrumah. Read, enjoy, like, share, and join!


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