Money, women and juju: Street boy opens up on daily 'hustle'

As Benabi Discovery set out to tackle streetism in Ghana, they came across a young boy who was fighting with a colleague in traffic at Opebea – Accra.

His opponent who happens to be a street mate seem to have had a misunderstanding with him. They were surrounded by other street hawkers to control the situation.
Ali Mohammed popularly known by the street name “Ali Baddest” has been on the streets of Accra since 2014. He is originally from Kasoa, located in the Central Region of Ghana. Ali’s parents are from Nigeria; they immigrated to Ghana.
According to Ali, he was staying with his aunt, but he decided to leave the house when he felt he was old enough to cater for himself and refused to be a burden.
He wanted to work for himself, and he had always been greedy for money. Life took him on different turns as he survived the streets.
According to the Global Homelessness Statistics, Ghana has an urban population of 14 million, 5.5 million of which live in slums (Africa Research Institute, 2016). Households are often overcrowded; on average, between 10 and 20 people are sharing a room (Habitat, 2016). In 2018, 66,000 people displaced due to natural disasters and violence (Internal Displacement, 2019).
The 18-year-old street boy was compelled to face his challenges and hustle the streets. In the interview, Ali made mention of all the lavish things he had bought for himself. Ali left home when he was six to seven years of age. During those periods, his parents went back to Nigeria and left him behind.
As Ali proclaimed, he grew up to be told his parents were involved in a fatal accident on their way to Nigeria. He is only aware of his Aunt and her husband as his family.
Interviewer: Does your auntie check up on you?
Ali: Yes, she calls and checks up on me all the time.
Interviewer: Why haven’t you gone home yet?
Ali: Honestly, I go home every two weeks, just that I want to make enough money on the streets before going back.
Interviewer: how do you make money on the streets?
Ali: I use a device to wipe people’s vehicle windscreens in traffic, sometimes I get tips, and that’s how I survive.
Ali who was caught up in a fight and was confronted by Benabi Discovery team threw a light on his past. He said, some time ago, I made almost 1000gh, I spent some of the cash buying iTunes for a white lady, we met at Holiday Inn and she said she loved me. She came all the way from Germany just to see me. Before she left, she handed over 50,000gh, and I misused it. I spent the money on girls and wasted it on drugs.
Recently when I send her messages, she refuses to respond. I made her come to Ghana. I charmed her with Voodoo and she came straight from Germany. Ali mentioned; the Voodoo is no longer working. I stopped scamming because my peers were snitches; they were envious of me having a white woman. I used some of the money for a motorbike; unfortunately, I do not have access to the motorcycle because of fake license. It’s been stationed at the police station. I refuse to sell my clothing, and I try to survive the streets and eat everything that comes my way.
Watch full interview here

©Benabi Discovery

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