March 11, 2016



Is there any future for the Ghanaian porter (Kayayei)?
Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, Ghanadot

Accra, April 15, Ghanadot - There was a loud scream. But all of a sudden, the whole vicinity became silent. Tears of pains filled the eyes of many as they watched, but could not do anything about the situation.


This morbid situation or similar can describe the fate of many thousands of porters, popularly called "kayayei" in Ghana.


Blood oozed profusely like water from her nostrills, mouth and other parts of her body as she sat at a street corner in the city center of Accra. She panted for breath and cried for help but all to no avail.  She died soon after.

Traditionally, many of these porters migrated from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions of Ghana, where poverty is prevalent.  They come to urban centres in the southern part of the country for work.

In recent times, the porter business
is no longer restricted to people from the North.  Others from villages and small towns in Southern are also involved in the business. Usually, the young, mostly female, are the ones that are drawn to this business.


The porter trade is predominant in the two major cities of Ghana; namely, the national capital Accra and Kumasi, the Garden City of West Africa.

A number of porters narrated their ordeal to Ghanadot at the Tema Lorry Station, a populous station in Accra disclosed that they made scanty amount of money ranging from GH¢5.00 to GH¢20 per day.

According to them, sometimes they could scavenge the whole area without getting any load to carry, meaning that there would be no food, no water to bath and no money for other basic commodities of life that day.

This is the basic lifestyle of the Kayayie, always helpless and at the mercy of cheap labor.  The question, therefore is who would care for the Ghanaian porter?

These Kayayie are Ghanaians.  They need to be cared for.  A critical look at their situation would show the extent at which these people are suffering to make ends meet.


For instance in the morning, those who care to bath might have to queue for long hours even after paying for the convenience. This act is not restricted to public baths alone. 

Perhaps, if you are used to modern toilet facilities in your home, visiting these public toilets would be a difficult thing to do because of its unhygienic state or condition. Those Kayayei who have no money to pay for these facilities or  the patience to queue for the services do their business at unauthorised places.

Besides, some of these Kayayie, who cannot afford tooth brush and paste, resort to the use of chewing sticks, which act is not a bad thing in itself.  The danger is some may prefer to not chew the stcik at all, thereby creating a condition of decay in their mouths.  That and the body odor which is prevalent within this community of young women, whilst others use nothing at all. The lack of attention to their body hygiene makes them stink badly.

Sometimes, when the weather becomes hot and people  seek shelter, one could still see some in troops working assiduously in the scorching sun with their babies strapped on their backs and suffering as if they have done something wrong to warrant such inhumane treatment. They babies cry all day long, yet they are not comforted.

Furthermore, most of them have become figures of ridicule by the public. Drivers, passengers, pedestrians and those who engage their services often times bellow insults at them for no reason or at the slightest provocation.
  They end up at the end of the day fgeeling very abused and cheated.

If one of them falls sick or is knocked down by a vehicle perhaps that would be the end of her life such as the woman we saw sitting at the edge of the street with blood oozing from her nostrils.


There would be noo money to pay for hospital bills should she even survive. They are not registered under the country's National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

In the night, most of these people have nowhere to lay their heads. Some sleep in front of shops, verandas, on top of tables, open places and lorry stations. They are always at the mercy of unfavourable environment.  Some
are even raped
and the very young asmongst them defiled by older men and lunatics.


This much is true as said by Martin King, Jr.

 "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to single garment of destiny. What affects one directly, affects all indirectly...Strangely enough, I can never be what I ought to be. You can never be what ought to be until I am what I ought to be,"
he said.

The Kayayie's plight is a hidden tragedy in our society, but mostly uncared for because of our concentration on other social and health issues such the fight against AIDS and Malaria.


With the exception of few Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other stakeholders, the majority of us have not considered how best we can help solve this problem of kayayei in the Ghanaian society.

There is no doubt that most of the children that these Kayayei are producing, and the young ones who are already in the porter business, are human and because may be endowed with great potentials which if properly nurtured, would be of great service to the nation, Africa, and the world at large.





Send This Page To A Friend:

Prez Mills meets senior editors for talks

Accra, March, Ghanadot - During the campaign of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the just ended 2008 elections, Professor Evans Atta Mills, now the president outlined some pertinent problems his government would tackle should the people of Ghana voted him into power.

  Commonwealth Secretary General meets President Mills

Accra, April 14, GNA-Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma, meeting President John Evans Atta Mills in Accra has lauded Ghana's democratic credentials, saying the success at her recent polls espoused the democratic values of the Commonwealth....
NPP closes proposals for the amendment of the party’s constitution

Accra, April 15, Ghanadot - The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has closed the submission of proposals for the amendment of the party’s constitution... More

New political region for the North, serves all interest, VP says

Bole (N/R), April 13, Ghanadot/GNA – Vice President John Dramani Mahama has said the creation of a new region out of the Northern Region should be in the interest of all northerners and not seen as the agenda of any group of people..

  ABC, Australia
The EastAfrican, Kenya
African News Dimensions
Chicago Sun Times
The Economist
Reuters World
CNN.com - World News
All Africa Newswire
Google News
The Guardian, UK
Africa Daily
IRIN Africa
The UN News
Daily Telegraph, UK
Daily Nation, East Africa
BBC Africa News, UK
Legal Brief Africa
The Washington Post
Mail & Guardian, S. Africa
The Washington Times
Voice of America
New York Times
Vanguard, Nigeria
Christian Science Monitor
Yahoo/Agence France Presse
Ghanaian Paper
Market Place
Official Sites
Pan-African Page
Social Scene
    Currency Converter
Educational Opportunities
Job Opening

ThisWeekGhana.com is
Remember to spell the D-O-T
before the dot com

Send This Page To A Friend:

The Profile Africa Media Group