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Welcome to the LOATAD Oral Archive

Madame Martha Mensah, age 100, from Ampenyi in the Central Region of Ghana, being interviewed by Fauziyatu Moro in Ampenyi, 2 May, 2021

In November 2020, LOATAD was honoured to receive a grant from the Goethe-Institut Ghana to deliver our Women Speaking Women (WSW) project, the sister project of Women Reading Women. 

Whereas the latter focusses on collecting oral recordings of published works by African women writers, Women Speaking Women is concerned with formalising African women’s 𝘢𝘯𝘸𝘳π˜ͺ𝘡𝘡𝘦𝘯 stories by recording them and making them available in the library, and as part of the archive, placing them on a par with written literature and recognising traditional forms of African storytelling as worthy of preservation.

The Library Talks Grant will fund us to travel along the coastal regions of Ghana, speaking with, and listening to women of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, particularly older women, and gathering and preserving their stories.

After months of research and preparation, last week, we began the fieldwork for Phase 1 of the project. 

Our team, made up of WSW Project Manager, Fauziyatu Moro and LOATAD Programmes Manager, Seth Avusuglo, began their journey in the Western Region, conducting interviews with nine women in the Nzema-speaking towns of Benyi, New Bakanta, Essiama, and Axim. 

Fauziyatu Moro, LOATAD Women’s Oral Archive Project Manager, at the Torgbui Sape Agbo Stool Shrine in the Volta Region of Ghana, June 2021.

From there, they moved to the Central Region, to the village of Ampenyi, where they spoke with seven women about their lives and work, including two generations in one conversation. The women spoke mainly in their native Fante, and also in Twi and English.

Phase 1 is now complete. The team gathered 16 stories in total and will begin the process of sorting and cataloguing – audio, video, and images. Phase 2 will begin later this month.

Look out for Fauziya and Seth’s Instagram Takeover in which they take us with them on their coastal journey and join us for an Instagram Live on the next phase of their research.

We are grateful to the Goethe-Institut Ghana for their support to realise this important archival project and thank them for this grant.

This article was originally posted on the LOATAD Instagram page in May 2021.


Published by LOATAD

Collecting and showcasing the work of African and Diaspora writers from the 19th century to the present day.

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