Home / GENERAL NEWS / ‘Ayilo’: Ghana’s white gold that has quietly boosted the economy for decades

‘Ayilo’: Ghana’s white gold that has quietly boosted the economy for decades

In the first place, this is not gold that comes from the ore that is mined from many kilometers beneath the earth’s surface per se, but this product is as cherished as the jewelry you wear on your wrist or neck.

Known differently to different tribes in Ghana by name: Agatawoe in Ewe; Ayilo for the Gamɛi; shirew by the Akans; and kaolin in English, this product is also known as food that is loved by mostly pregnant women.

It is believed that it is because of its unique smell that pregnant women are so drawn to it.

Formed from a type of clay, ayilo is used for many other things including it being a reliable material for electro-porcelain fabrication, as well as a major material used for making wall and floor tiles.

In Ghana, Anfoega is one of the locations where this product is mostly produced from, through a process of moulding the freshly mined clay soil into lumps, oven-baked and distributed to markets.

The industry in Anfoega in the Volta Region, for instance, is such a big one, almost everyone in the town has benefited from the economic gains that come with it.

According to a Facebook post shared by Kofi Semamu Atsu Adzei, he said that this ‘white gold’ has created many rich people and prominent business people from the community.

“This is white Gold, yes you heard me right. This can be found in Anfoega and it’s called Agatawoe, the Gamɛi call it ayilo, it is shirew by the Akans and kaolin in English.

“Almost everyone in Anfoega has benefited from the economic gains of this white gold. Anyone into the white gold business is a rich person. Ask anyone from the holy village of Anfoega about it and you will marvel,” he wrote.

Uses of Ayilo:

Apart from the already stated uses of kaolin, the product is also used by many to manage nausea, while others claim it helps in the prevention of things like diarrhoea, discomfort and other pregnancy-related conditions, a report by graphic.com.gh said.

Further details online show that some experts explain that kaolin has absorbent qualities that make it a good addition to helping with diarrhoea.

Also, the use of kaolin is said to help improve conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and leaky gut.

Ayilo is also used for as a beauty enhancement and is said to be used for many traditional and medicinal purposes.

“It is also a key ingredient in some cleansers, shampoos, toothpastes and beauty products, as it is claimed to gently cleanse and pull impurities from the pores
without causing redness,” a report stated.

Effects of Ayilo:

But there have also been reported after effects of using this product, some of which researchers say is that when pregnant women, for instance, consume too much of it without taking more nutritious foods, it can expose them to anemia.

Besides, because of its source and composition, it is believed that ayilo could carry some amounts of worm eggs, and as such, should it be consumed, the eggs could hatch in the body, leading to the worms feeding on the red blood cells and posing great health risks to an individual.

With chemical elements such as Aluminium, Arsenic, Boron and Nickel, the product poses even more harmful threats to anyone who consumes it.

Find some photos of kaolin, or ayilo, below:

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