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Porter boys take over some markets

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Although the 1992 Constitution abhors discrimination, female head porters are not allowed to ply their trade at the Kaneshie Market which is one of the busiest market in Accra.

The market which was built in the 1970s only allow young energetic males to carry goods for shoppers.

Last Friday, the Junior Graphic went to the market to find out why only young boys are allowed to carry goods for shoppers.

According to some of the market women, the reason why they allow the boys to carry goods is because they are much more respectful and hardworking. “They always look clean and willing to assist we the elderly women at all times,therefore, we like to work with them more than the girls who are often disrespectful”.

Daavi Ama, a gari seller at the Kaneshie Market disclosed that it came to the notice of the Market Queens that some of the boys who came to the market to carry goods were school going children who need money to buy textbooks and other important items therefore, the reason for granting them the priority.

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Interestingly, she said some of the boys also sell polythene bags in addition to the kaya trade therefore making them very active at the market always.

Apart from the Kaneshie Market, the Mallam Market which recently got burnt also have only males porters. Immediately one gets to the market, they are usually seen lined up with their wheelbarrows waiting patiently for shoppers to engage their service.

Asked why only males carry goods, some of the market women disclosed that the boys do not allow the girls to join them there to work “the few girls who attempted to invade the market were intimidated and sent away by the boys so we are now use to them alone”.

Quite a number of  young boys have also  joined their female counterparts popularly called ‘kayayei’ in some  markets in  Accra to carry goods  for shoppers to earn a living.

Some of the markets where such children ply their trade include the Madina Market, Nima Market, Baatsona Market and Mallam Atta Market.

Those at the Mallam Market use wheelbarrows to cart goods for shoppers while those found at the other markets carry the goods on their heads in large trays and pans.

In an interview with some of the boys, they told the Junior Graphic that they go to school during the weekdays and only come to the market to carry goods during the weekend.

Alfred Amponsah, a 14-year-old boy who carries goods  at the Baatsona Market said his mother is a single parent with six children therefore, four of them who are all boys come to the market every Saturday morning to carrying goods till evening before retiring for the day. “ On good days we make as much as ¢60 which we give to our mother to cook and also save some for us,” he disclosed.

Akilu Djamaba, 16,  plies his trade at the Mallam Market. According to him, he and some of his friends work there on Saturdays  and then go to the Nima Market on Wednesdays to carry goods.

Most of the boys interviewed seem to have high  ambitions as they explained that their decision to carry goods for shoppers is to enable them make enough money so they can save and continue their education or learn a trade to make them responsible people in future.

Story by Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah