Before I watched the below documentary which was aired on BBC 2 on Monday-14th July, 2014 in the UK, I read several pre-showing articles on MailOnline, The Telegraph and others, claiming Ghanaian traders were able to make up to £25,000 a day from second hand clothing from UK charity shops.
I didn’t want to miss the showing because I wanted to find out how people were making such huge amount, and probably become a second hand clothing-Obroni Wawo dealer too.
But my curiosity landed me in a deep pit of sadness, watching once again how our preference for everything foreign including clothes was fetching us a world shame was not easy—more importantly, how our local textiles industry has almost been killed by the second hand clothing industry.
It is estimated that, Ghana imports 30,000 tonnes of second hand clothes each year, much of which arrives in Accra. We’ve not only by choice turned our homes into dumping grounds but by choice killed our own textile industry.
Just like many other developed countries, the UK spends £60bn a year on new clothes and much of these clothes which are discarded ends up in high street charity shops—on subsequent route to Accra, Ghana.
The documentary did more than justice to the issue, taking it from the city into the villages and back into the city, with a touch on the happiness the world of second clothing brings to some of the poorest people in the world-Ghanaians, as well as the obvious negative effects second hand clothing has on our textile industry, history and culture.
Speaking to the BBC presenter, Steve Dutton, the overseer at the Akasombo Textiles factory which employs about 2000 people mentioned that “in 2009, we were producing two million metres of cloth a month, and over that period, it’s gone down by 75 per cent” He added that, “It’s quite an urgent situation and we’re on the brink of saying, we can’t go on.”.
Ironically, it came to light that the textile factory is somewhat alive because of DEATHS—the factory’s textiles are largely patronized by Ghanaians for funeral purposes and nothing more…