Motorfoɔ (pron: motofwoh). In Twi, this means motorbike riders. The word however conjures images of men specifically riding motorbikes. It’s not deemed a “woman’s thing.” This idea is partly a consequence of what is predominant – drive around Accra and 99% of all motorbike riders you will see are men. At the same time, the fact that the majority of motorbike riders in Ghana are men is simply because that is what is expected. Riding motorbikes is a little reckless and it's more socially acceptable for men to be reckless.
I knew to expect countless motorfoɔ in Tamale (a predominantly Muslim and stereotypically conservative part of Ghana). But did I expect a myriad of women riding them in kabas* and hijabs, with young children strapped to their backs? Not at all. And therein laid the beauty of everyday transportation in Tamale - redefining stereotypes in it's own little way.
*kaba – traditional Ghanaian garb
Katariga: Jollity and Gentlewomen
Of the Colour of the Sky, Of the Colour of the Sea
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Head Carrying, the Homowo Way
Homowo. It’s the final lap of the festival; the noise ban is removed, there is a clamorous march in celebration, and every district puts a spin on it. In Palladium, young twins are glorified; dressed in dazzling pieces and carried on adults’ shoulders or palanquins.
Each set of twins has a representative, supposedly under a spiritual trance, carrying food and leaves to be dropped off at a point for the gods. These representatives take the commonly seen (via hawkers, and market women for instance) task of head carrying and make it theatrical. Contrary to the poise and elegance that is commonly seen in head carrying, the festival displays erraticism and disorder in an indelible way.