In an ideal world, what would you like to see happen to the textile industry in Ghana? Many of the villagers here in Gyen Gyen are subsistence farmers living on the equivalent of less than a pound a day. And this is all the stuff that we give away. So why do people in Ghana love obroni wawu so much? Which I obviously have! Mourners from all walks of life had come to his funeral.

Oh, so this is your security system? It’s one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. So the label and the name makes it first class. You wouldn’t know you were coming to a funeral. Mourners from all walks of life had come to his funeral. This is like the boutique end of the market, you know. It’s like being at the January sales, it’s incredible!

We are trying to get the whole process cheaper for us, so that we can go out there and compete. They work hard and they should be able to afford new clothing.

When we came here we heard people selling stuff for one cedi, two cedis, but your stuff is selling for four cedis, what’s the difference between your stuff and their stuff? Oh, no, I’ve got move! How do I do it?

Oh, you’ve got a deal. To find out what happens next, I needed to head north. I always thought that obroi clothes were sold in the charity shops. In the market at Kumasi, I’d met women from this area buying bales of clothes to take back to their villages.


Watch BBC documentary: Ghana’s used clothes industry –

Going to need skills to get across here. These are all handbags. Asiedu selects the best clothes to sell in his designer boutique. I don’t think so. CEO Nora Bannerman has worked in the industry for 30 years and she’s experienced its problems first-hand.

Mourners from all walks of life had come to his funeral. Like having 50 Ghanaian in pocket, you go to the market and buy a lot of shirts, but when you go to the shop you buy only one or two shirts, whereby I prefer to go to the market and buy the used ones.

This World s11e05 Episode Script

I’m off to one of Ghana’s last remaining factories that produces traditional cloth. So if you eat too much pounded yam then you wear USA? So why do you choose to awwu your stuff from the UK in particular? We used to get some from Manchester, sometime we go to Leeds, sometimes we go to Coventry.

But as Ronnie’s coffin was taken for burial, the mood changed. So if waau weren’t selling second-hand clothes, there would be no other way for you to earn money? And what’s even weirder than that is those charities are probably giving money to Africa to ovroni these people, so it’s just a bizarre merry-go-round. This to me is business in the rawest sense. K Amoah leaves office. Even though we give away our second-hand clothes for free, some of the world’s poorest people pay good money for them.


Steve Dutton is from Manchester and he’s worked in textiles all his life. As we’ve been walking along, all these people, they know you, they stop and talk to you, are they all your customers? You might have forgotten about them, but your old cast-offs have a secret life. Ade visits one of the last remaining cloth factories and finds it on its knees. This is really, really interesting.

Glossary – Obroni Wawu | Jonathan Walford’s Blog

Dina, would you sell this on credit, so she can take it now and then she pays for it next week? Most of it, if not all of it, is second hand, you know? And then back to Europe. Previous Episode Next Episode.

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