Songor, Our Life – Atsiakpo, Our Death


Join us for a performance of Songor, Our Life! Atsiakpo, Our Death!, being staged by the Ada Songor Salt Women’s Association (ASSWA) and members of the larger Ada community. Members of ASSWA are also known as Yihi Katseme (“Brave Women”) for their staunch advocacy for the Songor Lagoon. 

This performance highlights the current deprivation faced by women and other community members in the Songor, as Atsiakpo has taken hold of what used to be a communal salt resource for all. Atsiakpo is much like Galamsey, in that it is a lawless use of the resource, where people carve out private pans and forsake the communal access customs of the past that allowed everyone to live from the resource.

Women and children have been particularly affected by this contemporary ill. In the past, with communal access, women played a central role in maintaining their households and educating their children by winning salt independently. Now, with Atsiakpo, women are forced to work as wage laborers on other people’s pans. The rise of teenage pregnancy and the breaking apart of households in the Songor has also been attributed to women being forced to succumb to sexual advances merely to get access to these low-paid jobs.

Truly, Atsiakpo is killing families and communities. It is also killing the quality of salt. The reputation of Ada salt of old, known all the way to Timbuktu and even touted as Ghana’s “white gold”, is being lost due to the poor quality of the salt produced in the atsiakpo pans. Wastewater from these Atsiakpo pans also creates severe environmental damage. Just like Galamsey, these Atsiakpo pans are creating an environmental disaster.