About the project

Yes, we interact with gods, ghosts, ancestors and other supernatural forces. We are producing a series of stories about how they influence the fortunes of Jamestown Ga Mashie, a slum in the center of Ghana’s capital Accra.
No, this is not fiction. We are journalists. We report. We document. We investigate. Yet we don't always know what is real and what is fake. We honestly don't know how it is possible that we have conversed with a voice emanating from a clay pot, or from a hole in the ground, or from a priest who appears possessed.

But whether other worldly forces are real or not, does not change the fact that they exert control over Jamestown. It does not change the fact that the worldly authorities -- be they national or municipal leaders, NGOs or local kings and chiefs -- are constantly at each other's throats, unable to coordinate even basic social services.

And yet somehow Jamestown functions. Yes there is misery but people here feel freer to enjoy their lives the way they want to. Jamestown is a place of possibilities, where inhabitants say they will never leave. What governs Jamestown seems intangible, emanating from other worlds or other times.
Jamestown has a history, with two slave forts that processed the migration of millions of Africans to the Americas. Later it became a port city for colonial Britain. Today, Jamestown is the spiritual home of the Ga ethnicity, replete with shrines, big and small, for deities, local and foreign, They network with memorials. churches, mosques, spiritual shops, pubs and night clubs, boxing clubs, herbal shops and coffin makers.

Funerals are a big deal here and there are more of them that in other places, in part because they are not singular affairs but more like birthdays held each year for eternity.

But Jamestown is one of the most overcrowded parts of Accra and one of the filthiest places on the planet.

Pilot

One way into our series of audio stories:
We meet the god Odum who says he can clean up the filth and pollution in Jamestown if we give him 2 million cedis. We bargain him down to 1 million cedis. Then after we give him the money he tells us that the mess is not his responsibility. Still, what we give him may not have completely wasted.

Audio Appetizers

Assorted sounds from the audio stories we’re working on

Deutsche Vorshau

für eine Serie von Audio-Geschichten:
Germany

Recently Broadcast

Thanks to funding from:
Germany
Im Zentrum von Ghanas Hauptstadt Accra liegt das Hafenviertel Jamestown. Obwohl völlig heruntergekommen, interessieren sich Ghanas Investoren für das Gebiet. Und so kämpfen die Hafenbewohner nicht nur gegen Dreck und Krankheiten, sondern vor allem gegen ihre Vertreibung. // Von David Hecht / WDR 2019 /