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Regional News of Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Blacksmiths in Wa appeal for support to enhance their operations

Most people learn the trade through their family business play videoMost people learn the trade through their family business

Correspondence from Upper West Region

In the world of work, it is common for anyone to engage in whatever job, trade or vocation the person wants.

But same cannot be said of blacksmithing in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region.

As a family trade that has been passed down from generation to generation, it is very rare to find people outside the blacksmithing family working as smiths here.

Located at Zongo in the heart of the Wa Municipality is the main blacksmithing hub with almost all male members of the family's main occupation being the blacksmithing business.

The smithies of the blacksmiths can be found dotted under sheds behind the backyard of the family house that serves as the hub of blacksmithing which feeds farmers in the region as well as the general public with farming implements and other tools relevant in construction and the day-to-day activities.

The increase in population size of the family meant the establishment of such replica blacksmithing shops at other new establishments in a similar fashion where some of the family members had relocated in other neighborhoods of the Municipality.

The clangouring of metals coming from the continuous hammering of metals against the anvil is what greets anyone approaching the area from hundreds of meters away.

The talent, knowledge and dexterity with which these blacksmiths turn a hot red iron into the fabrication of various items with ease with the aid of simple equipment such as heavy hammers, chisels and an anvil, is an interesting spectacle to behold.

Many of the products they churn out include different types of hoes, coal pots, chisels, harrows, donkey trucks, block molding machines, hunting traps, crowbars, wheelbarrows, pickaxes, among others.

Upper West Regional correspondent for Ghanaweb, Ilyaas Al-Hasan, paid a visit to the blacksmithing hub known in the local parlance as 'Saaaba Jaga' to wit, the house of blacksmithing, to highlight this unique family trade that the family has lived on for decades to our affable readers.

Mr. Yahaya Nuhu, narrating the background of the trade said it is a trade they inherited from their parents that had also been handed over to them by their parents too and so the reason it became the family's source of livelihood till date.

While acknowledging the job as his source of livelihood amid challenges that come with the work, Mr. Yahaya seized the opportunity to make a proposal to the government to patronize their products for its institutions and agencies where their services are required so as to provide a sustainable ready market for them.

Mr. Muhammad Saani Yussif, who also spoke to GhanaWeb bemoaned the lack of a recognized association for blacksmiths in the region to help champion the interests of members which he claimed was providing room for the unscrupulous ones among them to take advantage of their colleagues in the pricing of their items.

Mr. Muhammad Saani advocated the need for the introduction of a scheme where they would be paid a monthly allowance to train students and the youth that would be recruited for them by the government to use the opportunity for their practical work.

While calling for support, he also lamented their inability to obtain ultramodern machinery as one of their challenges hindering their progress to enable them to make more sophisticated items.

Asked why outsiders rarely venture into the blacksmithing job, Mr. Abdul-Waasiu Ismail linked that to the cumbersome nature of the work which requires a lot of energy to execute, stressing that he believed the industry would have been flooded by many if not for that.

He also expressed the need for an association for members in order to regulate prices in order to ensure there is fairness in the market.

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