You may have seen a social media notice of an impending increase in funeral wailing fees by ‘professional criers’. Well, it is true.
Potential patrons must be prepared to pay double the 2,000 Ghana cedis minimum and 4,000 Ghana cedis maximum advertised for their service.
I caught up with one of the professional criers for a conversation in Kumasi.
Full of smile, Ami Dokli obliged an interview, taking time off a workshop to speak with me.
“We do it normal. When you call us and book for a funeral, we come to your place, we watch the ground, we assess it and then price you,” she opened up on her funeral contract business.
She says though they work in groups, they are yet to officially form an association.
“We don’t have an association but I learnt recently that there are so many groups coming up.”
Her group is made up of six widows who are all based in Kumasi, the Ashanti Region capital.
Justifying the hike in their rate, Ms. Dokli tells me high demand for their services, amid an increase in fuel prices and general economic hardship, have pushed them to adjust their fees.
She reveals five dirge-singing criers who used to charge 5,000 Ghana cedis a day will now provide the service for between 7,000 Ghana cedis and 8,000 Ghana cedis.
“A lot has changed too because the demand is high so we have to change our prices; we have to increase our prices,” she revealed.
The upward adjustment follows discussions between her and other professional funeral criers. They took into consideration hikes in prices of petroleum products and transport fares, she revealed.
Ms Dokli says clients could pay even more, depending on the status of the deceased and bereaved relatives as well as the form the wailing will take.
“You know that some funerals you can’t charge them high. Some you can charge them so it depends on the funeral.”
Deceased persons with lots of family members abroad provide ground for criers to make more money.