Ada Radio Station and the Salt Mines
We left Accra yesterday morning and made our way to Ada. During our time in Accra, we learned that after print media, radio was one of the earliest ICT’s (Information and Communication Technology) used here in Ghana. We were fortunate enough to visit the Ada Community Radio Station.
It’s important that I emphasize that this is a Community radio station. All of the news is relevant to the people who live in Ada. They broadcast in the local language, and stay away from gossip and superstitions that mainstream radio stations broadcast. They even have youth that work at the station. Saturdays are dedicated to them, they write and read their own news stories. After receiving a traditional welcome, we were given a tour of the station, and brought back outside to learn more about the importance of its existence.
We learned about the salt mines in Ada, and how it used to be a community commodity. Everyone from the community was allowed to come and get salt when they needed it. Many would take the salt to Accra to get money for school, or other needs. But it was understood that it belonged to everyone. After being tricked into selling all of the salt mines to a man who “discovered” the salt, the community was furious. Military and police force was used to keep them out. There was a day when the police shot into the community and a bullet hit and killed a pregnant woman. There’s a statue there now, in her honor. When the radio station came about, it was a source for people to get information about what was going on with the salt mines, and still is.
The government got involved, and tried to help the community regain power of the salt mines. Currently, the man who bought the land still owns some of the land, but a little further away from the community. The community separates plots of land by digging deep ditches with walls of mud that separate them. We took a tour of the salt mines and met some of the people that work there.
It was amazing to hear the story and to see how the community works together to gather the salt and later package it to sell. This was an experience I will never forget.