The unveiling of Nkrumah’s secret ‘dungeon’ in Tamale | Ibrahim Mahama & Dr. Bernard on Podcast

The building was bought by renowned Ghanaian artist, Ibrahim Mahama and will now serve as one of the few, but biggest art spaces in Northern Ghana.

The founder of the Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art, saw it necessary to save the legacy of the structure and preserve the stories told behind it.

For decades, this structure has been abandoned and its purpose is not well known to the public. Built with all standards, the Nkrumah government had built this structure purposely as a warehouse for foodstuff and other storage purposes, according to some sources. Unfortunately, successive governments have chosen to abandon it, which has made many people forget about its existence, except for it being in government records.

Despite the many decades of situated at the site of clayey soil, mud and water beneath it, the structure has withstand the threats of the water. This saddens me by the look of today’s contractors and funded of contracts in the country who just do mere works to blind the eyes of the public.

To those who were born in the 1970s, 1980s and the 90s, in Tamale, the story of Nkrumah ‘volini’ was part of the stories told to children.

Located at Nyohini, three-hundred (300) metres away from the Abedi Pele roundabout, Nkrumah ‘volini’ has been believed by the locality to have some form of spirituality surrounding it.

In the early 1990s and early 2000 up through to even 2008, this place was a key destination where residents of Tamale especially people in Nyohini, Zogbeli, Lamashegu, Sabongida, Aboabo, etc. used to scout for water.

These were hard times when water shortage was common in the Metropolis especially, during the dry seasons. And indeed, people got what they sought there in times of water crisis.

As significant as the place was in terms of providing water for households for domestic and other purposes, there was equally a myth about this ‘sacred’ place. It was noted that at least, each year one or two people used to drown in the place in the process of fetching water. This brought some fears among people as they thought of it as a spiritual phenomenon.

As a very old structure, Nkrumah ‘volini’ is a habitat to some owls, pythons, vampire bats, and other few creatures. The pythons are said to be spiritually inclined to the place, since the locality in which it is situated (Nyohini) consider their land god to be a python.

People often said those days that, Dr, Kwame Nkrumah had built the place as a safe house – and that, it was connected to all regions of Ghana. According to the myths told, Nkrumah had envision times of wars and by way of protecting Ghanaians, he built it as a secret passage through the underground to the ocean.

Many said in time of wars, Nkrumah would have taken everyone into the dungeon and through the underground, they could get to the coastal belts of Ghana for safety. As children, we were also made to believe that therein lie some items of the first president of Ghana. These include his sandals, spoon, bucket, etc.

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