Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Interesting film

I happened across a film called " T Shirt Travels " which you can view free on snagfilms.com.
Although about Zambia, it really represents most of Africa and is compelling on many different levels.

It starts with the question. "What happens to second hand clothes that are donated to organizations like the Salvation Army ? " For one thing a significant number of them travel through many hands and end up being sold on the streets of Africa. And as the film unfolds, many other questions come to mind.

The largest export business in the US, according to the film , is second hand clothes. They have many local names in Africa. In Ghana the term translates into dead white mans clothes. Africans can't imagine giving them away unless the owner is dead and doesn't need them anymore. In Accra there's a long line of second hand mens suits for sale. I am told that they are bought to bury people in. I guess what comes around, goes around.

Although this sounds like it might be a humorous film, it is really very sad. There are no more textile mills in Zambia. And this film raises the question of colonial mentality and the perception thst donating their clothes, to the westerner, is a good thing, but to many Africans it's just another example of throwing them the discards.