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The tradesmen of Kumasi


On 6 March 1957, Ghana, formerly known as the Gold Coast, gained independence from Britain.

To mark the 60th anniversary of the end of colonial rule, London-based photographer Ricky Darko headed back to his birthplace of Kumasi, in the south of the country, to document what type of job opportunities were available to men of his generation.

Kwame looks through the window of the silver car he uses to chauffeur a wealthy family.

On a typical day, he will take the family to visit friends, as well as driving to the market to collect groceries and supplies for their daily life.


Sitting on the bonnet of his taxi, Nana Kwasi told Darko that he would hire this car for 40 Ghanaian cedi (£7.50) every day.

He then journeys around Kumasi to try to earn enough money to support his family.

Squatting next to some of the steel gates and doors he constructs for clients is Akwasi.

His workshop is on the side of a residential road, and he welds products for Ghanaians from the local area.

Francis works as a food vendor, mainly selling chewing gum along the city's busy roads.

"He was full of life and laughed at me all day as I struggled to communicate in the language of Twi [a dialect of the Akan language, mainly spoken across southern Ghana].

"He found it very amusing that I would mix up my words," says Darko.

These two brothers sit outside their shop, where they sell household supplies.

Yaw, on the left, and Poku, on the right, work 16 hours a day running their stall.

Emmanuel works as a day and night security guard for a property in Kumasi.

He walks the grounds from sunrise to midnight Monday to Friday and then travels three hours in order to be with his family at the weekends.

Michael sells mobile phone credit from a small wooden cabinet and water sachets from a cooler box.

All photographs copyright Ricky Darko.

'First published on BBC News