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Accra Night Life Is Hell For Kayeyei   
 
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01-Sep-2014  
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Accra is the capital city of Ghana in West Africa. Almost 2 million people live in Accra, making it Ghana’s most populated city. It has been Ghana’s capital since 1877 when the British ruled this part of West Africa. Before that, Accra was a collection of Ga villages established in the 17th Century.

Accra is a sprawling city, with a mixture of modern buildings, shanty towns, occasional castle and lively markets. The central commercial hub is around the Makola market. Just south of the market is the Atlantic Ocean (Gulf of Guinea).

Accra’s shanty towns are mostly to the west of the city. East of the city and north towards the Kotoka International Airport, is where one will find most of the hotels, embassies and smarter residential areas.

Certainly if you are new in Accra or yet to visit the city like any other major cities in the world such as Paris, London, New York, Cairo and Johannesburg, by this little information about Accra you will be itching to have your whole life spent in Accra.

But do not rush in making that decision since there are more to what happens in Accra during day time than what takes place in the night. Indeed, night life in Accra is a mixture of hell and happy moments for people.

Neoplan Station (Kwame Nkrumah Circle)

When night falls and all major activities come to a halt, brisk businesses begin on pavements of Accra. The items sold range from consumable to non-consumable goods. Brassieres, foot wears, jewels, and “kye-bom” with bread are but a few wares that compete with pedestrians on the pavements and spillover onto the streets of Mayor Okoe Vanderpuije’s Millennium City.

Clinking of bells, soothing voices calling on passersby to buy, sign languages and many more constitute traders’ advertisement. As curious as we (Today news team) were, we walked on the shoulders of streets of the capital to find things for ourselves. In our part of the world, the sun does not set on traders.

Though the usual brisk business coupled with hustle and bustle that go on at the Neoplan Station was missing, the transport business was in full flight as travelers were seen busily boarding vehicles to their various destinations across the country.

Head porters, hawkers and station masters were also seen working assiduously to make some money. Interestingly, everybody was working as if officially, working in the night has been approved by the Labour Commission where all civil servants are expected to go to work in the night. Our vehicle was surrounded immediately by some people, especially head porters, when we got to the Neoplan Station at about 11:42 PM. They thought we had come there to pick vehicle to possibly our hometowns.

Back at Nsuta in the Ashanti region (my village,) one had to knock on Maame Donkor’s door when it is 6:00 P.M., for condiments. And if it was your habit of knocking on traders’ doors after sunset, you could easily be mistaken for a witch. But that seemed to sharply contradict the marketing trend in big cities like Accra. Their markets know no night, I murmured to myself. It was 11:53 P.M., and we [the news team] were walking down the lane leading from the VIP Bus Terminal at Kwame Nkrumah Circle towards the Ghana Commercial Bank tower. Men, women and children were seen busily buying and selling. We were so trapped in the crowd that we had to walk sideways like a man who has lost his bearing to alcohol.

A young woman in her late twenties had the neck buried in the clothing she sold. Her right leg was mounted on a small post and one hand dipped into the pocket in an attempt to ‘balance’ a customer. Next to her was another fairly old woman selling a pile of second-hand clothes.

Kwame Aboagye, a ladies’ bag seller, had his blue polythene rubber spread on the pavement where his stuffed bags sat like bull frogs in a swamp. “Oh the night market here is good. I make good sales each night,” Kwame Asare told Today news team. But aside from this flourishing venture at night, the question as to whether it was good selling on pavements was what must be the concern of authorities of the city. Aboagye’s friend, Kwabena, complained about the attitude of the “Abayees” (Accra Metropolitan Assembly city guards) who, he said, did not allow them to sell on the pavements. For him, the ‘Abayees’ only slept with an eye closed.
“They come here sometimes around 11:30 P.M., after us,” he screamed into our voice recorder and made a passionate appeal.

“Please, tell them we beg them to leave us. Simple!

The night market on the pavements has also become safe havens for pick-pockets. They mingle with the crowd and take advantage of the human traffic to terrorise unsuspecting passersby.

Night in Accra also provided an eyesore scene like heaps of filth which were found, especially on the streets and on vintage points. For instance, at the heart of Kwame Nkrumah Circle, there were filths all over which might have come as a result of closure of a day’s activity. In the wake of the recent cholera outbreak in the city, it is imperative that city authorities pay attention to that side of sanitation.

At Obra Spot (Kwame Nkrumah Circle) -1:37 AM

Here the activity in the night was different as the place had become the hub of the oldest profession—prostitution. Surprisingly, girls between the ages of 14 and 18 were found engaging in prostitution. They charged GH¢15.00 for “short time” and GH¢30.00 upwards for a night. According to a fifteen-year-old girl, who gave her name as Emmanuella, prices differ from location to location. She said her colleagues who plied their trade at Osu-Re and its environs charged more, and even in foreign currencies, because of the patronage of their services by foreigners.

She however intimated that she preferred rendering her service on ‘short time’ basis since according to her, apart from the danger involved in spending a night with a stranger, the ‘short time’ business paid a lot. Though she admitted the “work’’ entailed a lot of risks, there was nothing she could do since she had to fend for herself and her family back home.

“I wish I could stop this job but I have no helper to assist me either to continue with my education or learn a trade,” young Emmanuella said. She also registered her displeasure about the business which she said has been taken over by foreigners, especially Nigerians, saying “it had affected our daily sales.”

Taxi drivers were also found on the alert to provide services for them, thus conveying service providers—prostitutes and clients, to their places of convenience. Those who patronised the services of these prostitutes ranged from young to old, poor to rich, including top politicians and celebrities.

Makola Market (Central Accra) -2:47 AM

From the enclave of Obra Spot, the news team drove to Makola. The scene there was very appalling, disgusting, inhuman and above all heart-breaking. Apart from the quietness on the streets and heap of filth in front of shops and stores, people were found sleeping helplessly in front of shops and on pavements. The saddest part of this situation was that kids below the ages of 3 and 4 were also found with their parents on the pavements, sleeping at the mercy of the cruel weather.

Osu, Oxford Street -3:42 AM

The usual funky suburb of Osu, a suburb known for its night-life, restaurants and as a gathering ground for young foreigners and Ghanaians alike was at its best. All the big restaurants and drinking spots in Osu were in the full swing. The fun in Osu did not stop when the sun went down. Some even argued that that was when it started. Bars, clubs, lounges and live music venues—people were found putting up their dancing steps, romancing on the streets and drinking to stupor.

The police were also not left out in the night jamboree as they were seen taking some dancing steps with prostitutes. The story of Emmanuella, the 15-year-old prostitute, we met at the Obra Spot, was confirmed when I jokingly tried to bargain with a prostitute believed to be a Nigerian. For ‘short night,’ she told me she will take GH¢100.00 while for a whole night she asked me to pay GH¢400.00. One unique thing that struck our attention was the fact that the prostitutes and other service operators like restaurants, bars, night clubs etc., were mindful of health hazards, especially about the deadly Ebola virus.

For instance, at Wakiki Night Club at Kwame Nkrumah Circle, at the entrance of the club, it was boldly posted on the wall; “No hugging, no kissing and no hand shaking,” as a means of avoiding contracting the Ebola virus. Osu was our last port of call so at about4:59 A.M., when normal life in Accra had started building up the “night workers” paved way for the “day workers.”
 
 
Source: Today
 
 

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