Ever wondered what the name of your neighbourhood stood for or its significance to its first dwellers??
Accra, the capital of Ghana is home to approximately 2.2 million Ghanaians and foreign residents who live, work and visit in its 12 local government districts.
However, for most of these residents who migrated from several parts of the country, the names of their neighbourhood, history and its significance might be lost on them. Often, than not, mispronouncing the names to the annoyance of the local Ga speakers whose ancestors first settled in these places and named it.
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A typical example is the name ‘Accra’ which is a corrupted European version of the Akuapem word “Nkran” which means Ants referring to the people and the soldier ants. The Ga-Adangme people refer to the city as Gã whiles most people refer to it as Accra.
“Accra” usually refers to the Accra Metropolitan Area, which serves as the capital of Ghana, while the district which is within the jurisdiction of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly is distinguished from the rest of the capital as the “City of Accra”. Below is a list of popular areas or neigbourhoods in Accra and their meaning.
Back in the day, the Gas would go to buy foodstuffs from the Hausa traders who were settled in that area. The word “Adabraka” is an Hausa word meaning “womli” in Ga. The Ga customers would often ask for bonus on their purchases and that’s how Adabraka became the name of the place.
The name Achimota has its origins in Slavery. The means “you don’t mention a person’s name” – A chii mɔ ta` in Ga.
When the people of Mataheko first settled there, they often visited their relatives in Accra – since it wasn’t far. Eventually the constant visits made them tired and they would often say “Mata heko” meaning I’ll sit somewhere.
Those who settled in Alajo would regularly set fire and would sing and dance around it all night long. The song they sang was “Mele ni yaa ee, damoshi ma shɛbo” in wait for their King. So Alajo is “ala ni ajo” sing and dance.
Some Gas moved and settled permanently at Adabraka. This created a problem for the Hausa traders. Since the Gas had power over the land, King Tackie Tawiah gave the Hausas Nima which means “Nii Man” or Nii’s land. Till this day, the Hausas call it their home.
“Nu ŋma” meaning freshwater. The presence of freshwater was a sign to the first Ga settlers that the area known as Nungua would be their new home.
Tema simply means “tɔ man” or land of “Gourd”. The Gas who settled in that area were well-known for making the gourd which is the calabash fruit shaped like a big bottle.
Teshie meaning ” under the stone”. In 2012, the people of Teshie celebrated 300 years since they migrated from La to their present location.
The word ‘Legon‘ is derived from NI-LEY GON (NI-LEY means KNOWLEDGE and GON means HILL) therefore ‘Hill of Knowledge’. It is home to Ghana’s first University, the University of Ghana and other institutions.
Kaneshie was derived from “Kane Shie Shie”, meaning “under the lamp” referring to its beginnings as a night market.