Sunday, 19 May 2013

Timeline - Mangoase

1895 - The Memorial Cenotaph at Adawso shows that by 1895, most Mampong farmers had crossed Adawso and settled in places beyond such as Mangoase, Pakro, Dedewa and surrounding lands.

1900 (assumed) - John Patrick Afari is born.

1913 (May) - Railway reaches Mangoase from Accra - Main Accra to Kumasi railway line.  Railway from Accra through Mangoase to Kumasi constructed by an Irish Firm W. H. Murphy from Dublin.

1917 (assumed) - John Patrick Afari leaves Achimota Technical College in Accra.

1920 - J. P. Afari flies his small scale prototype helicopter at Old Mangoase.  It was a success though it did get stuck in a tree.  Link to the entry on this subject is here

1938 (March) - Farmers march in Mangoase to the site of the cocoa crop burning, known as the the cocoa crisis! The cocoa crisis was due to prices being lowered by the big purchasers and issues with Swollen Shoot. (1937-1938).

1940 - (assumed) John Patrick Afari dies.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Photos of Mangoase - General

Brendan Quinn, Mangoase
Dilapidated Store Houses in Mangoase on the Railway line.

Brendan Quinn
Looking down the main road in Mangoase

Brendan Quinn
Compagne Francaise de l'Afrique Occidentale

Brendan Quinn
Old Colonial Buildings in Mangoase on the way down to the Main Mosque.

Brendan Quinn
Main Mosque in Mangoase

Brendan Quinn
Mangoase Post Office

Brendan Quinn
Railway lines leading to Mangoase

Brendan Quinn
Mangoase Train Station Sign

Brendan Quinn
Mangoase Train platform in April 2013

Brendan Quinn
Mangoase Train platform in April 2013

Brendan Quinn
Mangoase Train platform in April 2013

Brendan Quinn
Tracks leading away from mangoase Station

Brendan Quinn
School in Old Mangoase opened by Kwame Nkrumah

J. P. Afari - Blacksmith and Engineer

1900 (assumed) - Birth of John Patrick Afari
1917 (assumed) - Completed his studies at Achimota Technical College, Accra.
1920 (assumed) - Flight of small scale prototype helicopter.
1940 (assumed) - John Patrick Afari dies - cause unknown.

A quick internet search will show that people were beginning to look at helicopter construction and flight at the very beginning of the 1900's.  J. P. Afari, based on the information i have been given by his familly was working on a helicopter at the very begining of helicopter development, and indeed, if he had lived and been able to build the full scale helicopter then who knows, he may have been instrumental in the history of their development.  He lived in Old Mangoase and his Son and familly continue to live in the familly home.

The Man
Brendan Quinn
J. P. Afari - Mangoase Blacksmith &
Mechanical Engineer
John Patrick Affari (J. P. Afari) born around the year 1900 in Mangoase.  After attending Accra Technical School in Achimota, Accra, he completed his studies in 1917 and returned to Mangoase and began a blacksmith business with E. M. Aseidu, who we assume to have been his brother.

He undertook many projects of which a flying helicopter was one.  He began building a prototype in 1920, which flew but became stuck in a tree burst into flames and was damaged beyond repair.  It was his familly who provided this information and it has been confirmed by a number of people who have heard the story, though i have not been able to find anyone who was at the actual event.  The first flight of the prototype was undertaken in Mangoase up at his workshop which is now known as 'Old Mangoase'.  It was a success, which spurred J. P. Afari into the production of a full scale helicopter.  However, in 1940 he died before he could commence the large scale production.  I have not been informed why or how he died only that he was about 40 years old when he did die.

According to his family, the people I interviewed on 1st April 2013, he is considered by the people of Mangoase to be a great man. There are many young people today who have heard the story that has been passed down by teachers and other members of the town.

In addition to the Helicopter he also invented a unit to incubate chickens eggs, so that the eggs could be incubated without the need of the chicken.  The contraption used a kerosene lamp and copper pipe to keep the eggs warm.  This I was told is the first thing that he invented, and indeed, it seems that J. P. Afari was very creative with his work.  Looking at the incubator it is clear that he also worked to a high quality.

Shop Sign outside the
Mangoase Workshop
E. M. Aseidu is the brother of J. P. Afari, or at least so I was told, however, relations and blood relations can be somewhat tenuous and the understanding of such things can be unclear when interviewing people, so, who knows, what we can say for sure is that they worked together.

It is also not clear where E. M. Aseidu comes into the picture and indeed if the man was instrumental in these inventions or simply an assistant.  The fact that they seem to be partners indicates that they were both equal and maybe both contributed to the invention of the incubator and the development of the helicopter.  It may even be that E. M. Aseidu was the leading force behind these inventions, but that is only speculation and goes against what I have been told by the family of J. P. Afari.

Again, the incubator was probably well underway in development by the time J. P came to develop his own.  Some credit Granville Woods with its invention who was an African-American.  You can find more about Granville here on Wikipedia.

Left: Adjei, Son of J. P. Afari, far right: Son of Adjei,
grandson of J. P. and middle, the Great
Grandson of J.P., son of Adjei's Son
It seems J. P. Afari died at around the age of 40.  I could not find out why or what he died from.

Below are a number of photos taken in the workshop where the incubators and the helicopter were developed.  Also there are audio links to the interview that I undertook with the family.  Please feel free to listen, though do remember, they are unedited.

If you want any information about this article then please do not hesitate to contact me on

I will provide updates and and when I discover more about this man or any other aspects of the history of Mangoase.

Audio file - Part 1 - here
Audio file - Part 2 - here
Audio file - Part 3 - here
Audio file - part 4 - here

Inside the workshop at Mangoase

Workshop at Mangoase

Incubator that was developed around 1917-1920


A short blog that will be updated as I learn more about the history of Mangoase, a small town in the Eastern Region of Ghana.

This blog will receive many additions and changes over the next year as I learn more about the town and the people, add, remove and change information as sources and evidence become stronger.

If you wish to contact me concerning this blog, please do so using the following email address mail