National Geographic : 1951 Aug
274 Gold Coast's Elected Representatives Hear the Acting Goyernor Speak Accra's English-speaking Legislative Council, familiarly called Legco, demonstrates the natives' strides in democracy. Here, at the 1949 opening session, the British acting governor faces African clerks, legislators, tribal chiefs (left), bewigged justices, military aides (in white), other dignitaries, and visiting wives. natives as the sartorial equivalent of Brooks Brothers or Hattie Carnegie. Always in short supply since the war, the cloth is quickly gobbled up at the European trading stores by barefoot speculators. Despite all this activity, Kumasi was com paratively quiet at night. Whatever the cause, this rare silence helped simplify our recording of local music. When musicians gathered after dark inside the high walls of our compound, our audience was limited to a few inquisitive heads jutting over the brickwork, like coconuts with round, white eyes. This was to be the last private session with our musical juju. In French West Africa we and our recording musicians were to play to audiences of as many as five thousand. Some days after leaving Kumasi, we were checked out of the Gold Coast at Sunyani, 80 miles up the line, by the district commis sioner, who offered us a mild warning. "T'ief men," it seemed, were in the vicinity, and we would do well to be wary in the desolate area as far as Bondoukou, our gateway to the Ivory Coast. At the same time, he cautioned, it would be against British law to use fire arms, even in self-defense, before first being attacked with an equivalent weapon. Followed by "T'ief Men" Before long I realized that we were being followed. A small black sedan cruised at a constant distance to our rear all morning and into the afternoon, slowing and stopping when we did. At one stop I could make out a pair of Africans in native robes. Here, apparently, were the DC's "t'ief men"-tribal highway men in a modern getaway car. I said so to my wife. "Looks as if we'll have to break British law," she said. I doubted it. Stopping the jeep abruptly, I stepped out and walked to ward our pursuers, feeling foolish about the whole thing. They were closer now; I could see what looked like a shotgun barrel, but could have been a broomstick, behind their windshield.