JamesTown (Accra) - A Journey Through History and Resilience

Maarten Schafer
4 min readJan 22, 2024


Welcomed by the kids from JamesTown — CoolTravel

In the bustling heart of Accra, Ghana, we discovered JamesTown — a district vibrant with history, culture, and an indomitable spirit. As we wandered its storied streets, every wall, every face, and every alley seemed to narrate a tale of the past and present.

The air in JamesTown was thick with the scent of the sea and the dynamic energy of daily life. The gentle lapping of the Atlantic Ocean against the shore reminded me of Ghana’s strategic position along historic trade routes. As we strolled through the narrow lanes, we were greeted by an explosion of vibrant street art, each mural telling its own story, depicting scenes from Ghanaian folklore, politics, and daily life.

At the heart of JamesTown stood the imposing Ussher Fort, a relic of colonial rule. Its weathered walls were a stark reminder of Ghana’s tumultuous past. Yet, the fort wasn’t just a symbol of oppression but a beacon of resilience, representing Ghana’s journey towards independence and self-governance. The locals, proud of their heritage, shared stories of their ancestors who fought valiantly against colonial forces.

The iconic JamesTown Lighthouse, another significant landmark, offered us a panoramic view of the Atlantic and the bustling fishing harbor below. Observing the fishermen skillfully navigate their canoes amidst the rolling waves, we were struck by the continuity of life here. These waters, fished for generations, held knowledge passed down through time, invaluable to the community’s livelihood.

Our exploration led us deeper into the pulse of the local music scene. The rhythm of drumbeats resonated through the air, merging with the laughter and chatter of the residents. Here, music was more than entertainment; it was a language that communicated the community’s hopes, struggles, and joys.

The people of JamesTown, with their warm smiles and open hearts, were the true soul of the neighborhood. They candidly shared stories of their daily lives, enlightening us with their resilience and commitment to preserving their cultural heritage while embracing modernity.

As the sun set over Accra, painting the sky in orange and pink hues, we reflected on our experiences. This historic district, with its rich mix of stories, deepened our understanding of Ghana and the resilience and vibrancy of the human spirit.

JamesTown was more than a location on a map; it was a living, breathing narrative of history, culture, and perseverance. A place where past and present melded, creating a dynamic and inspiring story that continued to unfold with each passing day.

Strolling through JamesTown — CoolTravel
JamesTown — Accra, Ghana — CoolTravel
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Maarten Schafer




Maarten Schafer

Travel the world. .. Understand cultures... Be inspired... Make friends... Be a citizen of the world.