Motor Dames

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 regarded to be 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