By Abigail Yeboah
Hawking is highly patronized because it provides affordable service for low-income families who have the responsibility of providing for their families. In Accra, despite the dangers and risk associated with street hawking, the number of young people who do this are increasing by the day. The unemployment situation in Accra seems to be escalating, due to migration of people from the rural and other urban areas to the city in search of jobs. High levels of unemployment and the widening income inequalities have resulted in many people going into hawking and Head Pottering, popularly known as ‘’kayayee’’, as livelihood. In Accra, hawkers are seen everywhere especially on the streets. They sell a wide range of goods such as fish, fruits, vegetable, water, clothes, books, nose masks, newspapers, plantain chips, tiger nuts, and other consumables. Some also engage in door-to-door servicing, and in some commercial areas, they usually stand or lay their goods on the grounds, from morning to evening and at midnight.
Accra, Tudu Market.
The prices of these goods, are however usually lower than those in shops and therefore attract high patronage. One hawker, Appiah Kubi who sells newspaper at the Osu traffic Light in Accra, said the job is very risky. He shared his ordeal saying that, ‘’one of my colleagues was killed there by a car. He was selling water’’, Appiah lamented.
Teshie Maami Traffic Light.
Another Hawker, Abena Konadu who also sells plantain chips at the Teshie Traffic Light also said this is one of the most dangerous jobs to engage in. ‘’You have to convince people, you have to run, you have to be smart and this is what we do every day of their lives. You see it to be easy but, it is not easy as it looked’’, Abena explained.
One woman, Aunty Grace who sells nose masks also said the work is very tedious, but she does not make a whole lot of profit. ‘’I wake up around 4am every day to go to town and come back home at 7pm’’, with about ₵50 as daily sales, that is about ($ 8). She narrated that, one day, she nearly got killed by a vehicle.
37 traffic Light
Some also said they often sleep outside in front of people’s stores and shops with their children in the midst of violence. Not much attention has been paid to their narratives and what compels them to choose the street as their place of abode to undertake this difficult form of self-employment.
Although hawkers work hard, they do not earn much. A street hawkers’ life is not easy and comfortable but rather full of hardship. Their working condition are sometimes not even hygienic. They have to keep standing in dust and dirt under the scorching sun. Government must do something about the issue.
East Legon flower pot.