GSC NOTES AND QUERIES:
THE SUNYANI BRANCH OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES:
By Gareth Austin
London School of Economics
In January 1996 I made a brief visit to the Brong-Ahafo Regional Office of the National Archives of Ghana, in Sunyani. As far as I know, no description of 'NAGS' has ever been published. Therefore, despite my lack of expertise, the following outline may be of interest to potential users of this relatively small but valuable and well-organized archive.
To find the office when you enter Sunyani, ask for the prison. The archive occupies a bungalow inside the prison compound. I found the archive very convenient to work in. It seems that all the holdings are catalogued, in logically ordered series. The staff were very helpful, and delivered orders within a few minutes. Photocopying had to be done in town (the price at the time of my visit was 100 cedis a page), but the staff were willing and able to organise that.
The first series, RG 1, comprises Regional Administration Office papers. RG 2, 3 and 4 are the District Administration Office records for Sunyani, Wenchi and Goaso respectively, while RG 9 consists of papers from Techiman Traditional Authority. These administrative series comprise files spanning the usual very broad range of subjects found in regional and district files in other branches of the NAG, including chieftaincy, lands, forestry, agriculture, roads, and other economic, political and social matters. Many of them are also covered in the remaining series, which are organised by department or agency. For example, RG 11 and RG 12 comprise the papers of the District Labour Offices, Sunyani (spanning 1948-72, according to the register) and the Regional Labour Office, also in Sunyani (covering 1957-70).
The vast majority of files in the archive are post-colonial, most of them covering part or all of the period from 1958-59 to the later 1970s. Some early 1980s files are listed. Some of the sub-series (such as RG 1/19 Security Matters) are described in the registers as 'closed', while access to some of the others is 'Subject to 30 Year Rule'. But the majority of post-colonial files deposited in this archive deal with politically less sensitive matters and appear to be accessible.
There are also a number of files that were opened - and sometimes closed - in the colonial period, a few of which go back to the 1920s and 1930s. Those I looked at included some excellent material not to be found elsewhere. If your research takes you into the colonial era, do not neglect this archive!
Enquiries should be directed to the Archivist (Mr. Aning), P. O. Box 109, Sunyani.