Institute of African Studies Receives Donation from Borloz Family, Switzerland

The Institute of African Studies has received artifacts comprising several letters, memoirs and pictures of Mr. Albert Lucien Borloz, a Swiss merchant and engineer who traded in Ghana about a hundred years ago, from his daughters, Ms. Yvonne Borloz and Ms. Arlette Senn-Borloz.

Presenting the artifacts, Ms. Yvonne Borloz and Ms. Arlette Senn-Borloz recounted that the collection contained Mr. Borloz’s personal belongings during his stay in the Gold Coast from 1918 to 1920. They reported that the artifacts were found in the family home after the death of their father.

According to the Borloz sisters, they had visited a number of museums worldwide and seen similar objects. They therefore thought it wise to present the artifacts to Ghanaians. They disclosed that the objects had nourished their knowledge about the Ghanaian culture and believed that bringing them back was going to serve diverse purposes. The Borloz sisters expressed gratitude to the Institute of African Studies, the Swiss Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration for their immense support towards transporting the artifacts back to Ghana. 

The Research Coordinator for the Media and Visual Arts Section, Institute of African Studies, Dr. Irene Appeaning-Addo, gave a brief history of Mr. Albert Lucien Borloz. According to her, Mr. Borloz was born in Switzerland in 1899. He left Switzerland in January 1918 for the Gold Coast via Marseilles, Dakar and Freetown. Mr. Borloz first worked with a French trading company but due to ill-health, he had to return to Switzerland for treatment in 1919. He returned to work at the Tarkwa Gold Mines for about 9 months before setting up his own business. He later secured a contract to construct about 5 miles of the railway between Kumasi and Accra. He was however compelled to return to Switzerland permanently due to ill-health after working for 8 months and later died at the age of 94.

A representative from the Swiss Embassy, Miss Lucienne Vandan, expressed appreciation to the Institute of African studies and was delighted that the Embassy facilitated the transportation of the objects from Switzerland to Ghana. She pledged the Embassy’s continuous support for research activities and hoped the artifacts will be beneficial to students of the African Studies Department and Ghanaians at large.

Receiving the artifacts on behalf of the Institute, the Director, Prof. Dzodzi Tsikata expressed immense appreciation to the donors for the kind gesture. She was happy to note that the donation will add to the Institute’s existing stock and pledged that the artifacts will be well secured and made available to all.

The occasion also witnessed the donation of a collection of a broad range of Nigerian music to the J.H Kwabena Nketia Archives by Professor Austin Emielu, a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Music, University of Ghana. The collection consists of recordings from his field work on Nigerian Music and other live recordings.

Present at the ceremony were Dr. Joel Sonne, Former Chief Director, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture; Rev. Joseph Ankomah Cromwell, Lecturer, Ramseyer Training Centre, Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Abetifi; members of faculty, staff and students.

A group photograph of officials after the presentation