The last British Governor of Gold Coast, now Ghana, Sir Charles Noble Arden-Clarke, opened the Accra Community Center on 15th March 1951, handing it over to Kojo Botsio, the newly appointed Minister of Education and Social Welfare, ‘in trust for the people of Accra’.  The project had initially been discussed and planned just after the Second World War following the recommendations of the Colonial Social Welfare Advisory Committee, and their 1944 report on Community Centers. The Committee announced, ‘the Government proposes to establish ten Social Centers to provide social amenities for Government employees in the districts.’

The newly created Colonial Development and Welfare fund was to help pay for the venture, with a focus on ‘education and health than with recreation.’The community centers would become spaces for adult education and skill building, as well as places to discuss ideas on how to improve housing, sanitation, and childcare. They would also be used for dances and musical recitals providing more respectable venues for the popular Highlife music scene than the more raucous nightclubs and bars elsewhere.

It was the mercantile firms rather than the government, however, that fully subscribed to the community center concept, and several donated funds to build new facilities. The businesses sought to enhance their public relations from these buildings, and they were used as a means of ‘giving back’ and demonstrations of the companies’ commitment to the workers. They also allowed the firms to direct and oversee the leisure activities of their employees. Whilst the underpinning intentions may have been to ‘improve’ and elevate education and cultural standing, there was a clear paternalistic aspect in seeking to direct the workforce to wholesome, approved, leisure activities.