Tabom People will welcome the President of Brazil with a durbar
The Afro-Brazilian community in Ghana, known as Tabom People, will have the honour to organize a durbar to welcome the President of Brazil, H.E. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who will be in Ghana from the 12th to the 13th April. It will be the first time that a Brazilian President will pay a visit to Ghana. Mr. Lula da Silva’s efforts show a clear policy in relation to Africa. In his first 3 years in office, he visited more African countries than all the other former Brazilian Presidents together. In this sense, Mr. Lula da Silva is strengthening the so called South-South relations between countries, apart from establishing stronger links between Africa and Brazil, the second biggest black nation in the world after Nigeria. And a part of these links between the two sides of the Atlantic is the Tabom People. It was a group of about 70 people that arrived in 1836 in Accra, after being freed as slaves in Brazil. Like many others in Nigeria, Benin and Togo, they decided to come back to Africa. Here they were most welcome by the Gas in the Otublohum Division in James Town. They received land and started to farm. They brought with them skills such as irrigation techniques, architecture, carpentry, blacksmithing, gold smithing and tailoring. In the area of the Angetebu Street (Adabraka), they dug wells and found non brackish water, thereby improving the sanitary conditions of all the people in Accra. The leader of the Tabom group at the time of their arrival was a Nii Azumah Nelson. Since that time the Nelson family has been very important to the History of the Tabom People. The eldest son of Azumah Nelson, Nii Alasha, was his successor and a very close friend to the Ga Mantse Nii Tackie Tawiah.
At the present moment the Tabom Mantse is Nii Azumah V, descendant of the Nelsons. The Tabons are also known as the founders of the First Scissors House in 1854, the first tailoring shop in the country, which had amongst other activities, the task to provide the Ghanaian Army with uniforms by the tailor George Aruna Nelson, master of Dan Morton, another Tabom and one of the most famous tailors nowadays in Accra. The First Scissors House still exists, and is very close to the Central Post Office.
Some of the Tabons still live nowadays in James Town, where the first house built and used by them on arrival in Ghana is located. It is called “Brazil House” and can be found in a short street with the name “Brazil Lane”. There are some plans of UNESCO and the Government of Brazil to restore this house, within the ‘Old Accra Integrated Urban Development and Conservation Framework’, a project of the Government of Ghana, transforming it in a cultural site for the Tabom to display their own History.
The beginning of the official relation between Brazil and the Tabom People was immediately after the set up of the Embassy of Brazil in Ghana in 1961. The first Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Raimundo Souza Dantas was very well received by them. Since then the relations have become more intensive, and continue to grow.
So it is natural, that the first Brazilian President coming to Ghana wants also to interact with the Tabom community, his “Brazilian brothers” in Ghana.
Apart from the durbar of the Tabom People, Mr. Lula da Silva has other very important issues to deal with. He will hold several discussions with the Government of Ghana on e. g. bilateral agreements and the reform of the UN, and will launch the Ghana-Brazil Chamber of Commerce. Brazil is cooperating with Ghana in sectors like salt and cassava production. In a cooperation together with JICA (Japan) a group of 11 specialists was sent last month to Brazil to learn about the latest technology in cassava processing. Besides that, in the educational sector the Embassy has brought a Brazilian lecturer to teach Portuguese, Brazilian literature, History and Civilisation and is granting every year about 10 scholarships for Ghanaians to study in the best Brazilian universities.
Marco Aurelio Schaumloeffel
Brazilian Lecturer in Ghana
P.S.: the correct way to write the name of the Afro-Brazilian People is TABOM (with “m”) even though the right pronunciation is “tabon”.
Attached is a picture. Subtitle for it: “Nii Azumah III with from left to right on the front row Naa Abiana II, Queen Mother of the Tabom, H.E. Raimundo de Souza Dantas the Ambassador of Brazil to Ghana from 1961 to 1963, Mrs De Souza Dantas, the Ambassador’s wife, and their child between them. Nii Azumah III on the extreme right and other members of the Tabom Community in the background (1961).”