Makola Market entrance
Makola Market is a renowned market place and shopping district in the centre of the city of Accra, the capital of Ghana. A wide array of products is sold in the markets and its surrounding streets, from car parts to land snails. Dominated by women traders, the market sells fresh produce, manufactured and imported foods, clothes, shoes, tools, medicines, and pots and pans. Jewellery made from locally handcrafted beads can also be found for sale in the market.
Makola Market was constructed in Accra in 1924 and stood at the heart of the urban Ghanaian life. The market was the main wholesale and retail marketplace in Accra, the epicenter of trade in the country and one of the nation's most important social and cultural institutions.
On 18 August 1979, 55 years after its creation, Makola Market was destroyed. The Rawlings government that agreed on the demolition of the centre of trade in Ghana thought that devastating Makola would improve the economy. Indeed, there were accusations that various products considered banned in Ghana were being sold in the Makola Market. In this way, the market women were accused of Ghana's economic problems.
Makola Market is currently under the observation of Transaid which is developing a project Transport and Trade for Market Women which is designed to improve the livelihoods and security of female market traders through the development of Women’s Transports Co-operatives in Accra.
Makola Market was featured in the Travel Channel show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain in the Ghana episode. During the episode, Bourdain walked through the market, where he sampled local wares and enjoyed a condensed milk-toffee drink made with local herbs.
Presently most individuals use "Tro tros", passenger mini-buses or taxis, to fetch their goods to market. The co-operatives aim to reduce transport costs, bringing economic benefit, and providing a fast, reliable and secure means of transporting their goods for the female traders at Makola.
The area is currently a car park accurately called "Rawlings Square". Makola Market, also known as 31 December Market, is located next to the Kwame Nkrumah memorial park over the High Street, and bounded by Kinbu, Thorpe Road (which becomes Kojo Thompson Avenue to the North), and Pagan Road. For tourists, the closeness of these tourist sites is a plus.
When visiting Makola Market, keep in mind that photography at the market might not be allowed. Please ask for permission, esp. when taking pictures of people.
Please be aware that there is also crime in Ghana. Do not wander into the smaller streets unless you are good at mapping (either stick to the edges or the main streets). Do not take pictures of people working in the market without asking for their permission first, as they generally do not like that. Have a trusted guide on your side. If you are a white person, you are likely to pay more...
As this is a market, bargain if you like to buy more expensive items! Kente cloth is a good start, as this is a typical Ghanaian-made souvenir. If you need anything you haven't been able to find, you can most probably find it at Makola Market: shoes, towels, sunglasses, beaded jewellery, bags, hats, a water basin, a chair, smoked fish, veggies - anything. Be conscious of your surroundings, hang on to what you are carrying, and have fun.
At the recent "Ghana at 60" anniversary celebration, African print retailers in Makola Market threatened to boycott the sale of the official cloth used during the celebration due to its huge cost. The cloth was being sold at a price of 240 cedis for 12 yards. The anniversary logo on the cloth featured three people in an embrace, which signified the unity in diversity of Ghanaians.
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, stated that some traders had resorted to using formalin, a cancer-causing agent, to preserve salted tilapia, commonly known as "koobi". The sellers dismissed the claim, saying that they were shocked to hear it. They stated that since the story broke, their sales had been affected since many people refused to purchase it.
- "Welcome to Makola Market!" Accra Daily, 4 December 2007.
- Important social and cultural institution
- "RAWLINGS DESTROYS MAKOLA". www.modernghana.com. modernghana.com. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- C., Robertson, Claire (1983). "The Death of Makola and Other Tragedies". Canadian Journal of African Studies. 17 (3).
- "Who we are - Transaid". Transaid. Retrieved 2017-08-17.
- Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, retrieved 2017-08-17
- "nkran.net". www.nkran.net. Retrieved 2017-08-17.
- "Makola Market (Accra, Ghana): Top Tips Before You Go with 48 photos - TripAdvisor". www.tripadvisor.com. Retrieved 2017-08-17.
- "African print retailers to boycott anniversary cloth". 2017-03-03. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
- Boateng, Charles Andoh & Dennis Agyei. "Ghana news: 'Koobi' Sellers deny use of Formalin to preserve fish - Graphic Online". Graphic Online. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
Media related to Makola Market at Wikimedia Commons