The Burden of the Kayayei: Cultural and Socio-economic Difficulties Facing Female Porters in Agbogbloshie


The Burden of the Kayayei: Cultural and Socio-economic Difficulties Facing Female Porters in Agbogbloshie
Katherine Ahlvin
Faculty Sponsor
Isidore Lobnibe
<p>This paper explores the experiences of female porters known as Kayayei in Agbogboloshie, Ghana. The Kayayei (singl. kayayoo) is a Ga term that describes these young women who carry goods and wares for a fee. A majority of them have migrated from the northern and rural parts of Ghana to earn a sure income in the southern cities. First, the topic is introduced with a case study based on a personal interview with a kayayoo. Next, the characteristics of the slum, Agbogbloshie, are explored. The cultural and socio-economic difficulties facing these women are discussed. This essay posits that the cultural and socio-economic challenges that a kayayoo faces seem to be largely based on cultural traditions and socio-economic factors that constitute the burden of the kayayei. The paper concludes with some suggestions of how the kayayei can break the bonds of the informal sector.</p>
Acknowledgements: I would like to thank the faculty of the anthropology department at Western Oregon University for their support. Dr. Lobnibe, my mentor and adviser, has encouraged my development as a student of anthropology and has reinforced my fondness for the subject. Through his engaging passion of cultural anthropology, I was inspired to study abroad in Accra, Ghana in 2011. I would also like to recognize the staff of the Aya Centre in East Legon, Ghana, who allowed for an easy acclimation to the Ghanaian lifestyle. Additional thanks are warranted to the staff of SISS, who provided me with the social network necessary to develop a rapport with the kayayei of Agbogbloshie.
Western Oregon University Library has determined, as of 06/01/2023, this item is in copyright, which is held by the author. Users may use the item in accordance with copyright limitations and exceptions, including fair use. For other uses, please ask permission from the author.
Date Published
Isidore Lobnibe
Alternative Title
The Burden of the Kayayei