Lasten tragen, Moderne befördern. Wanderarbeit, Jugend, Erwachsenwerden und ihre geschlechtsspezifischen Differenzierungen in Ghana


Dr. Christian Ungruhe

Research Area:


Every year hundreds of youths from all over northern Ghana leave their hometowns to go to Accra or Kumasi, Ghana’s biggest cities, to work there for a couple of months or years before going back home. They look for labour in order to pay their school fees, dowries, to buy clothes, mobile phones or to support their families. Most of the youngsters move independently from their parents and do not have relatives in the cities. Load carrying at markets and bus stations is attractive since hometown fellows have been working as kayayei (female head porters) and truckpushers (boys and young men transporting load on wooden pushcarts) for years and may introduce the newcomers to the work and provide shelter and ethnic identity in the alien south. On the one hand, enjoying youth (buying modern goods and appearing urban among peers) is a strong motive for going. On the other hand, appearing mature and caring for the family’s needs would increase the return migrant’s status and lead into the respected sphere of adulthood. Thus, the youths face a constant dilemma and how to act is a matter of consideration and shifting identities in practice. The research project focuses on young migrants in the load carrying business and it is aiming at exploring this balancing act and differentiating between male and female experiences.