Dead White Folk's stuff in Accra


The local name of Accra's second hand market is "Kantamanto", which means "Promise Keeper", often used as an attribute for Creator God. I like Kantamanto.

It's a crazy place. But that's not the only reason why I like the place. I like Kantamanto because that is where you find "broni we wu" which simply translates as "The white person has died".


The white person has died? Yes. And I know it sounds crazy but let me give you the roots of that expression.  After independence, Ghana was a rich country. People were almost self-sufficient.


Then some people, discontent with how Nkrumah "Show Boy" was running things, decided to overthrow him. What followed was many years of "wahala",  brutal military regimes, "kalabuley" and lots of politically incorrect political nonsense.

It got so bad, that at some point, we had to start importing other people's pre-used clothing, cars, furniture and even underwear or as one parliamentarian said one national television recently, g-string.

Since most Ghanaians couldn't afford to give away a decent dress that looked good on them at that time, they naturally assumed that the nice clothes they were finding in the second hand market, must belong to dead white folk because nobody in their right mind will get rid of such nice clothes.
So yes, Kantamanto is the major place where dead white folk's stuff ends up. Welcome to Accra.
(All photos taken with an iPhone and are © Nana Kofi Acquah, 2013)

5 comments:

Gert Jan Hermus 23 February 2013 at 19:24  

Very interesting and beautiful blog post!

Greetings from The Netherlands,
DzjieDzjee

Ewiase 23 February 2013 at 20:18  

i thought it was Tema station, never knew Kantamanto tops all.

Nana Kofi Acquah 24 February 2013 at 07:18  

Hoi Gert, bedankt ;0

Ewiase, Tema Station is big but Kantamanto is King :0

Susan P 2 March 2013 at 07:24  

There is a market like this in Nairobi, called Gikumba -- it is really like a small city all its own, with whole districts devoted to particular types of clothing. I love your photos, they really capture the vibe!

Photography Freelancing Site 14 March 2013 at 13:12  

Very realistic photos, I am feeling very sad.

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