Ghana Life: Lifeless Man’s Garments

In widespread with many growing nations, Ghana has each its conventional types of costume, now reserved largely for funerals and festivals, and Western costume that has been adopted for on a regular basis put on at work and at dwelling. Though within the early many years of independence there have been many skilful tailors and seamstresses who earned their residing by offering garments for women and men, girls and boys, within the final fifteen years of the 20th century the primary supply of Western-style clothes turned the Western nations themselves. The imported garments weren’t new, nonetheless, however used clothes recognized in Ghana as oboroni wawu,’the white particular person has died’ or ‘lifeless man’s garments.’

Within the age of kalebule beneath the dictatorship of Colonel/Normal Ignatious Kutu Acheampong (January 1972 to July 1978) after which Normal Fred Akuffo (July 1978 to June 1979), international trade was very scarce and importation was carefully managed. On this financial atmosphere native small-scale industries flourished and developed quickly as native wants needed to be met by native effort. This was the heyday of the casual sector during which developments within the native textile industries supported growth of the tailoring and dressmaking trades. With a quick pause throughout the democratic interlude beneath President Hilla Limann (September 1979 to December 1981), the tight controls on importation resumed after the second coming of Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings on 31 December 1981.

Regardless of Rawlings’ preliminary vow by no means to show to the Worldwide Financial Fund (IMF), by 1983 the IMF was dictating financial coverage and by 1985 low cost international items have been flooding into Ghana, financed by lengthy and medium-term loans. There was undoubtedly some importation of used clothes earlier than this time, however it was from the mid-1980s that the large-scale importation of oboroni wawu turned a significant challenge within the media and speaking level in on a regular basis dialog, in addition to a socio-economic concern of the federal government.

Attitudes in the direction of the importation of used clothes have been blended. Many individuals felt it was a shame to put on different folks’s solid offs and to burden their youngsters with the duty to repay loans that might prolong far past the helpful lifetime of the clothes. The federal government regretted the demise of the native textile and clothes industries and the lack of employment that resulted. Conferences have been held to find out if import restrictions ought to be imposed however this coverage was rejected as a result of it will have raised the price of residing, provoked social unrest and damaged the free commerce settlement with the IMF. Authorities ministers agreed that everyone trusted oboroni wawu, themselves included.

On this period of free commerce, importation was within the fingers of merchants who introduced into Ghana the most cost effective items obtainable regardless of high quality. A lot of the newly manufactured items got here from China however the used clothes got here from Nice Britain and different European nations. It arrived on the port of Tema, 30 km east of the capital, Accra, in giant cloth-bound bales of about two metres in diameter. The products have been cleared by the importers and transported to markets within the main cities and regional capitals.

To be current on the opening of the bales was to witness a social phenomenon of appreciable curiosity. The ladies merchants who retailed the products to most of the people largely specialised in a single line of clothes: males’s shirts, tee shirts, trousers, women’ clothes, underwear, and many others. Every was anxious to acquire the very best specimens obtainable: least worn, newest trend, very best quality. So when the bales of randomly blended items have been opened there was a rugby scrum of exercise that threatened to erupt into open warfare. Violence appeared to be restricted solely by a common realisation that a badly torn shirt might be bought by nobody, however this conference didn’t stop some sturdier objects being subjected to a spirited tug-of-war.

After the scramble for the products got here the haggling over worth however right here the bale proprietor exercised virtually dictatorial energy. Costs have been essentially arbitrary however expertise introduced a level of standardisation to generally traded objects. The system was acquainted to all members and operated steadily over the subsequent decade. There have been too many vested pursuits in any respect ranges for any basic change.

Solely growing prosperity can deliver an finish to oboroni wawu. Within the twenty first century, with Ghana rising to decrease center earnings standing, folks could possibly afford extra of the merchandise of an rising trend commerce supported by native textile industries, processing Ghanaian cotton and embracing the comparatively new craft abilities of tie-dye and batik. Hopefully, a ample variety of the tailors and seamstresses of the 1970s have survived to go on their abilities to a technology that should produce the wealth to repay the loans of the 1980s.

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