WILL WHITES EVER WEAR SECOND-HAND CLOTHING FROM AFRICA?
By Serwaa Ampaafo
Africa has become the dumping site for used clothings, Toys, old news papers, kitchenware, electronic gadgets, old and used vehicles and spare parts etc from the West.
With Focus on second-hand clothing industry: It is a billion dollar industry for both the country of origin and the recipient countries. In fact, over a third of clothing donated to charity in the West eventually makes its way to Africa and these charity organizations receive substantial revenue from the sale of these clothes. .
In many parts of Africa second-hand clothing is the primary means of buying clothes since income levels are low. Second hand clothing aside the fact that it is a sign of disrespect toward the African race, is unhygienic and worse of all, stifles the growth of local African economies.
As Brooks rightly observes, “Your t-shirt may be quite cheap for someone to buy, but it would be better if that person could buy a locally manufactured t-shirt, so the money stays within the economy and that helps generate jobs.”
Sadly, charities are playing a role in this growth stifling of the African fragile clothing industry. Many well-meaning NGOs and charities are complicit, in keeping many African nations poor. While the second-hand clothing industry as a private enterprise is not, by definition an illegitimate business , when charities sustain this industry they are not really helping people as imagined and may only be helping themselves maintain their organization’s budget.
In the end, long-term charity-related activity is not the solution to African economic development. We need to ask better questions about how African nations can develop sustainable economies so that these charities aren’t needed, textile industries can flourish, and customers can afford to buy new clothes instead of being dependent on the second-hand clothing industry. That is, what is needed so that consumers in parts of Africa chose to buy second-hand clothing for the same reasons people do in countries like the United States—that is if they even do it