Modern Ghana: Front/Back Accra
It was right around this time last year that I was headed to Ghana. Outside of eating jollof rice, I didn’t write much about my experience because it’s taken me some time to process it.
I felt deeply conflicted during this trip. I went through a rollercoaster of emotions as I tried to decipher the very overt classism that existed. My heart churned every time I heard someone reference the “house boy” that would tend to whatever was needed. I also couldn’t get how a country that was rich with natural resources could have such bad WIFI. I could see that there was money being made in Ghana but it seemed like none of it was spent on infrastructure and instead reserved for personal opulence. As someone that’s always searched for the utopia that I’ve created in my mind, this saddened me. It wasn’t in Africa either.
Anyway, as much as these things brought me down, there were many highs. I fell in love with glimpses of the future…the modern Accra that was being spearheaded by returning Ghanaians. It is a vibe. (If you haven’t been able to tell already, there isn’t much that means more to me than a good vibe) These spaces were some of the best I’ve experienced anywhere in the world. I went to so many cafes and bars that I wish I could have just picked up and plopped down in Atlanta (or anywhere closer than the 14-hour trek it would currently take for me to get back to them).
My favorite of the bunch was Front/Back, a members-only space located in Osu. To call it unassuming would be an understatement. If it wasn’t for the fashionable folks navigating through a container warehouse district, I would have been certain we were in the wrong spot. I’ve known that containers could make for a great space, but they’re doing something even bolder than I could have imagined.
As my friends and I munched on yam fries, drank bottles of rosé, whiled (and whined) to dancehall and Afrobeat, I felt at home. And not because this was Africa and that’s how black people are supposed to feel when they get there (this myth was shattered as I mentioned above), but because this space captured everything that I loved —great food, good music, and thoughtful aesthetics. It was a reminder that while an entire city might not be perfect, I can find “home” anywhere and that’s probably what my wandering mind needs.
The pictures I have are shitty and I couldn’t find any better ones on the Internet, but it doesn’t matter because you couldn’t get the feeling from a photograph anyway. You wouldn’t understand the discovery of each room, the curiosity that drives you as you turn bend..all there was to discover in the dimness. While it might be hard for me to reconcile the remnants of the past, it’s clear that the future is bright.