September 2010


Was this lorry owner in Half Assini (1973) publicly acknowedging his own responsibilities, or was he counseling others what would happen if they did not live up to theirs? Ghanaian women rarely tolerate husbands who are not capable of supporting their families, as this lorry testifies.


It is said that home is where the heart is. In 1973 when I took this photo, I thought of Canada as my home. Times change, and now, almost 40 years later, it is Ghana that I think of as “Home, Sweet Home.”

GOD IS KING (and so is “Uncle Ben”)

In recent years in Ghana, we have seen an increasing amount of freight and goods being transported by semi-trailer trucks. Not so many years ago, that work was done by conventional single axle trucks (lorries). Drivers and their mates prided themselves in their great ingenuity and dedicated perseverance to ensure that no load was too big or too difficult to haul. During one of my stays near New Edubiase during the 80’s, a dugout canoe was brought out of the forest, to be taken to its destination on the coast where it would be used for fishing. Considering that the canoe was more than twice the length of any truck on the road at the time, I wondered how it would make the journey. However one day, “God is King” showed up, and with the help of many willing hands, it was moved on board and set off on its journey south. On another occasion, “Uncle Ben” passed through town, laden with a similar cargo, proving that where there is a will (and willing hands), there will be a way.


In 2008, this photo was taken in Accra where this lorry has been plying the roads for many years. The owner surely considers his lorry to be living proof of his belief that “God never sleeps.”


The arches of the Adome Bridge which provide the link between the Volta Region and the Eastern Region are in the background. The bridge is located a short distance south of the Aksombo Dam on the Volta River, and at the time of this photo in 1973, was still in very good repair. In recent years it has shown its age and load restrictions now apply. When reading in the daily newspapers of the various capers of the current crop of politicians, it might appear that “Honesty” is also not as healthy as we would like it to be!!


This lorry box, sitting forlornly on the side of a street in Half Assini in 1971, looks like it still had many good years of service left in it, and was hoping to connect with a lorry chassis in the same situation.


In 1957, Ghana led the way for other African countries to reclaim their independence from the colonial powers.  This lorry, delivering a load of passengers to the market at Half Assini sometime between 1971 – 73, may be making a reference to that or it may be simply stating something that all Africans have always known – there is a power in Africa that comes from its people and that now can be found around the world.


Even today many villages in West Africa are not served by passable roads, making it difficult to get farm produce to market. In the early 70’s, transport to the village of Newtown, west of Half Assini and located on a narrow spit of land that extends into the Tano River lagoon was only possible on the beach at low tide. Lorry drivers had to have a fisherman’s knowledge of tides in order to safely make their trips in and out of that area.


Lorry owners choose their slogans and sayings for good reasons, although those reasons may not always be clear to everyone. This allows us our to create stories and scenarios in our own imaginations. This old Bedford was so heavily loaded and leaning to one side that any animals that it may have encountered in the forest would have been well advised to stay clear. This load was likely destined in 1972 to be off-loaded at Jewi Wharf onto canoes and transported across the Tano lagoon to neigbouring Cote d’Ivoire. And if you wanted to let your imagination wander just a bit, you might find yourself wondering what kind of goods were being transported, and whether or not they might have been smuggled…


I “snapped” this lorry one day in 1972 when passing through the coastal town of Elmina. I expect that this slogan could be a favorite of tourists visiting from temporate climes as well as politicians who may find themselves in the hot seat for any number of reasons!

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