Wednesday, 7. November 2007


Police checkpoint on the open road

The other day I drove to Accra with Madam’s car. When approaching the police checkpoint after Asuboi I got a bit nervous. I had forgotten to take along my driver’s licence. But Madam, dozing on the front passenger seat, just said: Relax. Yet we were flagged down. A policeman who waved with his radar gun triumphantly shouted through Madam’s open window: Sorry, Madam, we catch you ooh, 'Oburoni' [the white man] likes speeding, eh? And Madam replied with indignation: But that’s not possible! I told him to slow down, and we know well that you always stand at this spot.

Well, in the meantime another policeman, quite curious, had come to my window. Insecure as I felt I asked him whether I had really gone too fast. He said no and decided to ask me about my driver’s license. What to do!? I acted a bit confused and leaned over to Madam who had just been asked by her policeman to get down from the vehicle. But she also ignored him. All the sudden my policeman switched to another topic: So, what do you have for me for my lunch break? [more]
kwame - 2007-11-07 23:56

In other words, he wants cash. I tried to be funny and replied: Hmm, all we have in our boot is some 'brodie' [plantains]. He thought this was hilarious. A third colleague was called and should see that white guy who spoke some words of Twi.

Luckly, Madam had caught the key word and, without hesitation, pulled out a 10.000 Cedi note (50p) from her handbag – for my policeman’s lunch. Her policeman, however, then reacted quite revolted: Madam, why do you give HIM the somethin? Was it not ME who asked you to stop the car? While saying this, his radar gun hang from his left hand like a toy. I was sure the thing did not work properly. And of course he also got a Cedi note from Madam. For his lunch or whatever. All were cracking jokes, waited for more Twi from my mouth, came to shake my hand and finally wished us a safe journey.

Experiencing the Accra-Kumasi Road (AKR):

An ethnographic project on roads, commercial driving and everyday travel in Ghana [more]

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