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General News of Sunday, 20 September 2020


1960 image of Accra's iconic UTC building tells a tale of change and stagnation

A 1960 image of the Union Trade Company (UTC) building that has been trending on social media tells a paradoxical tale of both change and stagnation.

The iconic building is located in the sprawling Central Business District of Accra and its construction is believed to date back to the 1920s.

Since its construction, there has not been any significant reconstruction work to keep it safe and in tune with the current times.

The 1960 image of the colonial era building reveals Accra once had very clean streets. The image also shows that streets of the national capital – even at the Central Business District – had no crowds of people milling back and forth.

Finally, the rare image also shows that the streets of Accra were not plagued by vehicular traffic that made movement frustrating.

However, the same location of the building has now been overrun by thousands of hawkers who sell everything from vegetables to electronic appliances.

Although markets and department stores are currently sited close to the UTC building, thick human and vehicular traffic will prevent even the best-placed camera from capturing the beautiful architecture of the building like this 1960 image has done.

In 2012, portions of the UTC building, which was a former department store and office block, broke off.

There were no casualties recorded, but eyewitnesses say a loud bang followed the bizarre tumbling of a part of the almost 100-year-old building.

Maybe it is time to pull it down the iconic edifice, and with-it good memories of what used to be -- or what we now aspire to be.

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