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Modern Skills

Introduced in the Twentieth Century

by Phil Bartle, PhD

As Ghana modernises and industrializes, new skills are being developed. Here are illustrations of a few developed through the twentieth century.

Electricity from Akosombo

The dam at Akosombo, during the sixties, the flooding of Lake Volta, produced electricity. Much was used for smelting bauxite, and then a grid was built to serve the country. The electricity allowed the development of much electrically driven modern machinery.


Operating a Drill Press and Grinder at a Trade School

While the Swiss Missionaries introduced some practical skills, mainly carpentry, masonry and black smithing to boys in the nineteenth century, independence in 1957 saw the expansion of trade skill institutions.

A Private School for Seamstresses

When Mrs Ramseyer, the Swiss Missionary, introduced sewing classes for girls in 1888, two things caught on, sewing by women and sewing classes for women. With a long history of marketing, women found out how to make an independent income by sewing or teaching how to sew. The trainees, as in this photo, often learn on brown paper, instead of cloth, because it is cheaper.


Men Got Training in Driving Tractors – Women Got Rides

Although farming has historically been the work of women, the introduction of mechanization changed things; driving tractors was taught first and mainly to men. Tractors plowed too deeply in the shallow rain forest soils, helping (along with commercial fertilizers) to destroy the soils.

Tailors – Electric Sewing Machines

Historically, men were assigned to weaving kente, so working with cloth as tailors was seen as an easy transition.

Modern Electronic Communications

Nowadays, of Course, it's Computers; In the Seventies It Was Electric Typewriters

Private Repair Businesses


Gas Welding and Television Repair

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 Slogans and Proverbs: Following the path of least resistance makes all rivers
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© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
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Last update: 2012.12.11

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