History tells us many things; it reveals the origin of things, places and people and the stories that form their becoming.
In the history of Ghana’s trade and commerce, one name stands out as one of the most popular, with almost every consumable and non-consumable object found in the given geographical area.
The Makola Market sits in the heart of Accra’s Central Business District and plays a very important role in Ghana’s socio-economic culture.
But how did the name Makola come about?
This question may have been answered in a recount of history by the state-owned newspaper, Daily Graphic, in a publication on its Facebook page.
According to the publication, the origin of the name is directly linked to a relationship between khebab sellers and local Ga women who depended on the sellers for leftover charcoal to kindle their early morning fire.
The history told is that cows brought to what is known as Cow Lane back in the days were sometimes slaughtered and sold to buyers. However, the meat was mostly grilled by khebab sellers who worked late into the night and still had the embers of their charcoal fire hot in the mornings.
“Around that time, Ga women have taken to coal pots more than hearths. Thus, they often sent or personally went to pick pieces of the charcoal fire in ladles (ato) or whatever, to kindle the fire in their kitchens,” it is recounted.
Located in a Ga community, the locals who went to Cow Lane to fetch lit charcoal for domestic use announced their mission in their local dialect to avoid coming off as customers seeking to buy khebab.
A simple phrase “makɔ la”, which translates into “I will pick fire”, was how the locals announced their mission.
From as far as Adedenkpo, Aayalolo, Mudor and Ashaabiena, the locals who went to Cow Lane every morning to fetch fire announced their mission with the phrase which has now become the name of a vast and always bustling commercial area covering a big stretch of land in Ghana’s national capital.
The modern-day Makola Market dates back to 1924 and has been the epicentre of trade activities, including wholesale and retail.