D-30.14.024
"Pastors and catechists in Abetifi."
Ramseyer, Friedrich August Louis (Mr)
date early : 1888-01-01.0., date late : 1896-12-31.0.


D-30.16.058
"Rev. and Mrs. Ramseyer at the foot of a silk-cotton tree."
Ramseyer, Friedrich August Louis (Mr)
date early : 1888-01-01.0., date late : 1895-12-31.0.


D-30.14.034
"Students of the Abetifi seminary with the missionaries Stern and Rhode."
date early : 1902-01-01.0., date late : 1902-12-31.0.

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New Social Groups

Missionary presence brought Christianity, education, the acquisition of new marketable skills and employment opportunities. Mission presence meant the construction of building, the employment of teachers and catechists, and clerks to assist in mission trading enterprises. New social groups, such as teachers, catechists, and clerks carefully modeled their lifestyles - dress, mannerisms, and other aspects of social life - after the European missionaries they sough to emulate. But this was not blind copying, as new influences were also infused with African sensibility and meaning. Thus, teachers and catechists would wear European suits and pose for photographs in a manner evocative of European missionary photographs. But African aesthetics of beauty and cleanliness meant the male faces were clean-shaven, though their European mentors often-sported luxuriant beards. So D-30.14.24 shows clean-shaven pastors and catechists in Abetifi, resplendent in their suits with two African children behind them. Teachers and catechists became the quintessential akrakyefoo (Twi: "gentlemen") in southern Ghana. The photo has natural landscape as the background. The formal pose is very similar to D-30.16.58, showing Mr. and Mrs. Ramseyer formally dressed with two female Africans, probably domestic help. Here also, nature forms the backdrop and the Ramseyers are standing under a silk cotton tree. Intriguingly, the silk cotton tree was and is still believed to be the abode of witches. Ramseyer grew a thick beard, very un-African as Africans viewed facial and armpit hair as unhygienic. D-30.14.034 presents students of the Abetifi seminary with missionaries Stern and Rhode. This large group of Africans, all dressed in suits, emphasized the important links between clothing, western education, Christian identity, and the new social roles they had assumed. Mission presence also brought new associations. In E-30.29.016, we see the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) orchestra in Bamum. This must have been during the early missionary period in Bamum as these Christians have no western instruments and are not wearing distinctively western clothing. The young men are holding small wooden instruments with strings, probably a type of Bamum lute or guitar. In contrast the YMCA brass band (E-30.29.017), most likely from a latter date, used European horn instruments and had a European conductor. Young Christian women were also organized into the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) in Fumban (E-30.29.019). Brass bands were also established in secondary schools Secondary school leavers constituted the most educated Africans in Africa colonies before the late 1940s, when the first universities were established under colonial auspices. University education was available to only those who traveled to the West. In D-30.03.043 and
D-30.03.047 we see brass bands in Christiansborg, Accra. The first presents the brass band of a secondary school, and the trousers and jackets worn by the boys reflect the strict dress code at these missionary institutions. The three tutors in the picture (including two Europeans) are also dressed in suits, thus formal wear was not just limited to the students. African interest in brass bands dates to the military presence at European forts and castles built along the coast of the Gold Coast in the pre-colonial period. Missionaries encouraged this trend with the establishment of brass bands in mission schools. In D-30.03.047, a school brass band, preceded by two flags, is seen marching. Missionaries or Europeans were not the only sources of new influences and new social groups. Muslim Hausa presence was another important avenue of new social influences. Muslim presence was old in Ghana, but was strengthened with the establishment of the Hausa Constabulary and the increased role of Hausa traders in the kola and cattle trade. In D-30.01.054, we see Hausa students under a thatched roof in Accra, reading and learning from wooden tablets. Missionaries sought to learn about Islam and to understand its appeal in the African setting (D-30.01.057).

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