Living a life connected to the water takes many different forms in Ghana, from cities on the Gulf of Guinea to stilt villages on inland lakes and rivers.
These images from Ghanaian-born photographer George Qua-Enoo capture scenes of coastal life from around the country, including the areas where he grew up. George is a photographer based in Ontario, Canada who has been traveling with various NGOs to document their projects in his homeland.
“Although I left Ghana for South Africa when I was 16 years old, I’ve been back many times, since most of my relatives are there,” George says. “I have a strong connection to the country and feel at home when I am there. I think this enables me to capture authentic and dignified portraits of the people.”
With soft colors and a quiet tranquility, this series poignantly shows moments spent on the shores of Ghanaian waters large and small. Be sure to read the captions below for more of George’s reflections and personal details from his childhood home.
Tugging a canoe after fixing a leak. There are actually three other people in the water pushing the canoe to a nearby lagoon. This image was taken in my father’s hometown of Komenda, where most young boys start fishing at an early age to continue the family trade.
Subsistence farmers crossing the River Pra at the end of their work day. The firewood will be used for cooking. This was taken in my mother’s village where I spent part of my childhood. When I was young, the river was pristine and clear. It has since turned muddy due to surface gold mining on its banks by the locals.
The entire village of Nzulezo is built on a lake in the western region of Ghana. The ancestors of the town are fabled to have migrated with the help of a snail from the Malian city of Timbuktu, the trade center of Africa between the 11th and 15th centuries.
The distillery in Nzulezo. Most of the males in the village distill alcohol from saps from the raffia tree as their main occupation. The local language of Nzema translates Nzulezo as “surface of the water”.
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See more work by George Qua-Enoo on his website. To be considered for our photo essay series email firstname.lastname@example.org.