Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Living on the Motorway

Reverse the fourth dimension to 1998. A masterly motif of a caravan of industries is spinning at great speed on the same spot: Tema, Industrial town, first cousin of Accra. Drastically dissimilar to any other Ghanaian commonwealth for its considerately-named streets; numbered homes; well-laid, clean and snazzy streets; small, engaging buildings; first-rate factories and swift-coming traffic.

The twenty-something-kilometre motorway, unfurled long ago, seemed a lonely, eternal cross. It was surrounded by vast, virtuous flatlands teeming with spry swamps, wholesome woods and motley hues of tall savannah grass.

In 2008, the virgin is gone out of the land between Accra and Tema. The formerly detached first cousins are now hideously holding hands on either side of motorway. A monstrous megapolis has stealthily sprawled its sinewy tentacles from Accra to Tema. The woods are ruefully replaced by sorry sprinklings of shrubs on tiny tracts of un-reclaimed swampland.

Unsightly blotches of massive houses, tiny houses and whole recumbent estates have sprouted on the diced land. Totally ugly buildings they are, not for the architects’ philistine flair (for the schematics are quite scenic) but what is a trophy tattoo of a black widow spider doing on the face of a beauty queen? Her looks are now limp, as is the dainty art.


  1. accra is kissing tema and soon it will infect it with its diseases. i agree with you spot on

  2. And the Highways authority, totally oblivious of the passage of time, is refusing to construct exits and entrances, and maintaining that that is not the original idea behind the grande l'auto route.

  3. Kojo, are you insinuating that Accra is the more diseased cousin? Tema, these days, is not far behind the ills of Accra, no?

  4. Kiz, you're right. The person(s) who 'criminally' allowed the settlements along the motorway to develop, cannot be heard to say people should not join the motorway from improvised routes all along it. And yet, people should not join the motorway at such routes.

  5. A topic so close to my heart has been dealt with perfectly. I agree with Kojo, Tema is well on its way to be infested with all that its diseased cousin seeks to bring. And Kissi, if they refuse to extend the motorway and create more exits and entrances, at least they ought to increase maintenance to make up for the damage caused by increased traffic. None if this has been handled yet.

  6. splashes26 May, 2008

    Well written. My only fear is that, we may have to spend an hour or more from one toll gate to the other.If these entrances and exits come to stay.

  7. Then, without intent or sensitivity, you are asking that the expensive developments alongside, should be razed to the ground, no?

  8. Splashes28 May, 2008

    Thats not what I mean.I'm looking at the other side of the coin. We cannot hold burning coals in our palm and still feel confortable.

    We loose to gain.


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