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The Banana and Peanut Archive of Ghana


This paper discusses an emerging problem in Ghana and its implications for Ghana’s archives and historical writing. It explains why some important documents intended for state and institutional archives eventually find their way back into public circulation – some have even been used to wrap roasted food! The paper provides methodological insights to historians and researchers and perhaps warnings too that they should consider alternative sources to archives in their quest for information on Ghana; for after all some researchers on Ghana have come across some amazing documents and historical evidence among the food vendors on Ghana’s streets.


Cet article traite d’un problème émergent au Ghana et de ses implications quant aux archives et l’écriture de l’Histoire du Ghana. Il explique pourquoi certains documents importants destinés aux archives étatiques et institutionnelles finissent par se retrouver en libre circulation – certains ont même été utilisés pour envelopper des grillades! Cet article fournit une vision méthodologique aux historiens et aux chercheurs et peut-être aussi des avertissements qu’ils devraient envisager sur les sources alternatives aux archives dans leur quête d’information sur le Ghana; après tout, certains chercheurs sur le Ghana ont rencontré des documents étonnants et des sources historiques chez les vendeurs de nourriture dans les rues du Ghana.

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Borgman Christine L., Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2015).
Essuman Kofi Manso, “The Local Packaging of Foods in Ghana,” Food and Nutrition Bulletin 12–1 (1990) (
Guccio Calogero, Martorana Marco, Mazza Isidoro and Rizzo Ilde, “Back to the Future. The Effect of Digital Technology on the Performance of Public Historical Archives,” Association of Cultural Economics International (ACEI) Working Paper Series (2016).
Henige David P., “The National Archives of Ghana: A Synopsis of Holdings,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 6–3 (1973), 475486.
Mensah Patience, Yeboa-Manu Dorothy, Owusu-Darko Kwaku and Ablordey Anthony, “Street Foods in Accra, Ghana: How Safe are They?,” Research Bulletin of the World Health Organization 80–7 (2000), 546554.
Ntewusu Samuel Aniegye, “Serendipity: Conducting Research on Social History in Ghana’s Archives,” History in Africa 41 (2014), 417423.
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History in Africa
  • ISSN: 0361-5413
  • EISSN: 1558-2744
  • URL: /core/journals/history-in-africa
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