Now Trending in Ghana: Hayet Rida on growing up ‘Obolo’ fat

Hayet Rida

“Every afternoon between the hours of 3 and 5pm I would sit in the depths of Accra traffic, under the hot African sun to get from Cantonments to the Spintex Road. On a good day, Daniel would take the Tetteh Quashie main road, but when that was too crowded, he would take the Polo Club back-road.  To everyone else, he was taking the shortest way home. To me it signaled the beginning of an emotional rollercoaster.

Trying to sit up right in my uncomfortable, unfashionable green and white stripped school uniform, I would hold my breath as the street hawkers approach. Hoping that someone would summon them interested in purchasing their oranges, phone credit or bright yellow plantain chips. But as they approached, I would try to blend in with the others in the car, engage in conversation, pretend I was asleep. Anything.

3,2, 1 and then I heard it. “Eiiii Obolo”.


From the Ghanaian language Twi which means a person who is fat. It is usually said to make the person feel sad.

(Urban Dictionary)

Welcome to the curse of growing up FAT in Ghana.

This is how Hayet Rida starts her GoWoman Diary on growing up as an overweight girl in Ghana’s capital Accra. She was bullied and harassed by friends and strangers but today  as an adult living in the US diaspora Ms Rida has learned to love her body and discovered the truth about being beautiful.


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GoWoman is the reawakening of the 21st Century African Woman - a bi-annual magazine sharing the complete stories of the African Woman who finds a way or makes one. We do this for self-love, for womankind and for the continent.

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