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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The blacksmiths of Tamale: the dynamics of space and time in a Ghanaian industry
Author:MacGaffey, WyattISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:iron forging
metalworking industry
External links:https://doi.org/10.3366/E0001972009000679
Abstract:Blacksmithing was probably practised in what is now northern Ghana as early as 500 BC, but in the last twenty years the number of blacksmiths and the range of their activity have greatly increased in Tamale, the principal city of northern Ghana. The evolution of the national economy and the particular situation of Tamale in the geography of Ghana explain this development and the contribution that the city's smiths make to the economy, national as well as local. Blacksmiths traditionally made hoes and other farm tools and weapons such as javelins. Today, half of all blacksmiths in Tamale are motor mechanics. The other work of blacksmiths, on which this article focuses, is the recycling of metals, derived from dead vehicles and other machinery. The article first deals with the development of Tamale between 1907 and 2007, focusing on its increasing size and its function as an administrative and commercial centre. Then it discusses the techniques used by blacksmiths, the cycle of scrap, scrap metal and usable parts, and the marketing of products. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [ASC Leiden abstract]