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Unearthing our family stories

Ɖe tsitsime aha nona.
The older palm trees produce more wine.

In September 2013, after the death of her uncle, Promise Adamah-Togobo travelled from London to Ghana to be with family. Whilst she was there, her aunt told her about some documents that had earlier been saved from a fire. She gave them to Promise explaining that they were important and needed to remain with the family. Promise knew that her father Makavo would be interested in the papers and so she packed them into a suitcase and brought them to England.

When she arrived back in London, she called her son Yao ‘Tuggs.t.a.r’ Togobo to look through the documents with her. These papers contain the story of her grandfather Togbui Adamah II, a Ghanaian Eʋe king who ruled the Some people from 1915 until 1963. The documents not only give an insight into 70 generations of their family history but also Ghana’s pre-colonial history, British occupation and the various methods used to resist colonialism.

Reflecting on the papers sparked further research into the ways history is preserved, not just through paper archives, but also through cloth, music and dance, family trees, legends and oral histories.

This exhibition was made possible by money raised by National Lottery players through a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Educational Trust. This meant these remarkable documents were presented to audiences in London and became a travelling exhibition. We’d like to thank our funders for making this possible.

Discover the papers for yourself. They are now catalogued and available at the Black Cultural Archives. Search ADAMAH here to get started