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Re-thinking Development in Africa

An Oral History Approach from Botoku, Rural Ghana

Komla Tsey

Publication Year: 2011

In this thought provoking book, Komla Tsey argues that if governments, NGOs, development donor agencies and researchers are serious about development in Africa, they need to get down to ground level, both metaphorically and literally. They must search deep into Africaís own rich oral traditions by creating space and opportunity for ordinary Africans, whose voices have so far been conspicuously absent in the development discourse, to tell and share their own stories of development. Story-sharing as research methodology acts as a mirror, reflecting the participantsí self-evaluation of where they have come from, where they are now, and how to proceed into the future. They are strategies that can empower and enable individuals and communities of people to be agents of their own change which, in Tsey's view, is what development is all about.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title page

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Copyright page

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About the Author

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Intended Audience

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Chapter 1. Introduction

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pp. 1-8

This book uses oral history to examine the concept of development, and the way the citizens of one particular rural Ghanaian community, Botoku, sought to . . .

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Chapter 2. Better Understanding Botoku and My Connection to It

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pp. 9-20

Set in a valley and surrounded by a range of hills, Botoku is bordered by the Volta Lake in the west, the River Dayi in the east and neighboring villages of . . .

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Chapter 3. My Approach to the Research

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pp. 21-27

There are two main things I wish to cover in this chapter, and will illustrate these by recounting some of the main challenges and opportunities I encountered in trying . . .

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Chapter 4. From Migration to Settlement

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pp. 29-46

According to oral tradition, the people of present day Botoku, like those of all other Ewes, appear to have evolved, or at least once lived, somewhere in the Nile Valley, . . .

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Chapter 5. From Road Building in the 1930s to Middle School in the 50’s

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pp. 47-62

This chapter describes the origin, planning, and the process of implementing two of the early community infrastructure projects; some of my main interests in . . .

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Chapter 6. Water Hand Pumps, Health Clinic, Electrification and Fiasa (chief’s ‘palace’) from 1970s to 2000s

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pp. 63-77

In this chapter, I build on the story of the road and middle school projects discussed in the previous chapter, by examining four other discrete community . . .

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Chapter 7. Culture as a Two-Edged Sword

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pp. 79-98

For Botoku people, development was not just about physical infrastructure projects as in roads, schools, markets and clinics. Development was also about the . . .

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Chapter 8. Making a Living through Economic Participation

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pp. 99-120

An important and obvious dimension of development is the ability to make a living through meaningful participation in economic activity. As noted throughout . . .

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Chapter 9. An Ancestral Home or Place to Connect

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pp. 121-132

For the Botoku people, the quest for a better future through development was also about having an ancestral home or a place to connect or relate with. As already . . .

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Chapter 10. An Integrated Model of Development

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pp. 133-149

The purpose of this chapter, the last substantive, is to bring together the various findings of the oral history research as a whole, as presented in the different . . .

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Chapter 11. Conclusion

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pp. 151-158

In this concluding chapter, I return to the questions posed at the beginning of this book: what at all is wrong with Africa and why is it that nothing good comes . . .

Chapter References

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pp. 159-161


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pp. 163-167

Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956726523
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956726509

Page Count: 178
Publication Year: 2011