Interview with a god

We meet a god called 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 but after we give him the money he tells us the mess is not his responsibility. Were we cheated? Was the money completely wasted?

Invisible Governance

Yes, we interact with gods, spirits and ancestors, along with local chiefs, government officials and international donors. We're trying to influence the fortunes of Jamestown Ga Mashie a slum in the center of Ghana’s capital Accra.
No, this is not fiction. We're 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 priestess who talks to us in a language that she herself does not understand.

Whether other worldly forces are real or not, they do control the Jamestown community and ensure that worldly authorities -- be they national or municipal leaders, NGOs or local kings and chiefs -- are constantly at each other's throats, unable to coordinate and provide even basic social services.

Yet somehow Jamestown functions. It is one of the most overcrowded parts of Accra and one of the filthiest places on the planet. Yes there is misery but people here feel free to live their lives as they want. Jamestown is a place of possibilities. The one thing inhabitants all agree on is that they will never leave.
Jamestown is an intersection for other worlds and other times. The former British port and administrative capital boasts two slave forts that process forced migration to the Americas. Then Jamestown become the spiritual home of the Ga, an ethnicity that claim to have migrated all the way from Israel.

Hidden amongst its crowded streets are memorials and shrines for deities, local and foreign. Churches of denominations known and unknown, are imbricated with mosques, spiritual shops, pubs, night clubs, boxing gyms, herbal shops and coffin makers. Funerals are a big deal here. There are so many, in part because they are not singular affairs but held each year, much like birthdays, except they are celebrated for eternity.

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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 /