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Mtumba:a Witness Special.

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Kevo, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. Kevo

    Kevo JF-Expert Member

    Jul 29, 2008
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    Most people just get dressed in the morning without much thought to the clothes we put on other than whether they fit and look good.

    If we stop liking them then we throw them out, give them to charity shops or simply put them into recycling bins where, we hope, our discarded clothes will be of use to someone less fortunate than ourselves.

    Raffaele Brunetti traced one humble T-shirt's epic journey, to find out what does happen.

    From a young German football player, to a used clothes bin, to a warehouse in Italy, across the Mediterranean, along dusty African roads, through colourful markets, until it finally, ended up on the back of its new, loving owner in Tanzania, called Lucky.

    Mitumba - which is how the trade of second-hand clothes is known in Africa - is a revealing modern day story of how globalisation connects us all in millions of unseen ways, and how one person's disposable goods are someone else's new possessions.

    Director Rafaelle Brunetti joined Witness host Rageh Omaar to discuss making the film.

    Rageh: Before I had seen your film I presumed when someone was giving away clothes a charity would pick up the clothes and give them out to people in Africa and Asia. But that does not happen at all from what i saw in your film?

    Raffaele: We also thought the same thing but in the film we interviewed a lot of people who were donating clothes and asked them where they thought they were going. They said they were being given for free to people in need.

    But then we discovered the clothes are being sold and that in many cases itÂ’s not even the charitable organisation that collects the clothes but some commercial groups that are operating under the charities' names to collect the clothes and then a commercial chain begins.

    This also generates work for a lot of local people in Africa. So the fact the clothes are not donated is a good thing as it generates an economy for people to buy and sell.

    Did you talk to international aid organisations and charities about how the second-hand clothes system works?

    Of course we contacted many organisations, the big ones such as the Red Cross and Oxfam. At first we did not get a big response to our questions and did not understand exactly why.

    We do not think there is anything wrong with selling the clothes because of course the activity of these charitable organisations does not only consist of giving clothes to Africa. They deal with many different things and it could be they are finding ways to fund their operations - such as second-hand clothes.

    We suspected that the agencies did not want to make it clear they were selling the clothes and they may think that people are more willing to donate clothes if they think they are being given away for free. So this is probably one of the reasons we did not get a good response.

    The irony is that your film shows is there is a benefit from selling the clothes as it encourages economic self-help.

    We believe agencies should make it clear what the aim of collecting the clothes is and where they are going.

    A strange thing is that when we interviewed people in Africa, nobody believes that people in Europe or the US donate clothes but that they are selling them or that they belong to "dead white men". However, in the West, everyone thinks the clothes are donated.

    Do you think there are people opposed to Mitumba in Africa?

    There is opposition to Mitumba and when I was there I read some articles and interviewed some journalists and people from the government who said it was sort of shame that a country was forced to say that its people rely on second-hand clothes.

    Second-hand clothes are
    in big demand in Africa
    Another reason is there are now also economic agreements with countries such as China for the import of new clothes which are becoming cheaper and cheaper even if the quality is very low.

    So now Mitumba, or second-hand clothes, are forced to compete with new clothes from China.

    How much of this trade do you think is operating on the edges of the formal economy and the law - especially in Europe?

    This is a very controversial subject and I was asked this question many times while making the film.

    At the end of the film I say that I will continue to put my clothes in the boxes and we think this is good and the alternatives would be destroying or throwing away the clothes which would have an environmental impact and encourage the chain of fast consumerism.

    Also, having been in Africa and see how many people deal in the clothes and how many people wear them, we decided that even if it is a controversial thing that needs better information on it, it is still worth doing - even if it will probably not last long.
  2. Kevo

    Kevo JF-Expert Member

    Jul 29, 2008
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    This was an Al Jeezera Witness Special kuhusina na Mitumba ambayo watu wenye utu huko Western World give away their clothes for charitable purposes ila huku inakuwa for commercial purposes.
  3. LazyDog

    LazyDog JF-Expert Member

    Jul 29, 2008
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    How is it like to work for these charitable organizations like Red Cross?
    I am thinking of volunteering to an organization that is helping those who can't help themselves. The work environment must be good though.

  4. NaimaOmari

    NaimaOmari JF-Expert Member

    Jul 29, 2008
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    I think the best way ni kwa those organization kuhakikisha kwamba these clothes reach the targeted group .. their intention is good lakini kama kuna waroho na walafi in the middle definately this will be channelled kwengine to benefit their own needs and not the poor

    Supervision including transportation from the original source to the end user should be conducted by these organizations
  5. Kevo

    Kevo JF-Expert Member

    Jul 29, 2008
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    What are your qualifications Sir/Madam?If you are in Arusha it can be easy.
    But let me tell you my friend volunteering organizations are not doing their work in friendly environments but rather harsh ones coz the people in need live in harsher conditions.
  6. ChocolateColor

    ChocolateColor Member

    Jul 30, 2008
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    Hizi NGO nyingi mno nchini zinawatu matapeli.Serikali ilipopiga marufuku mitumba ilikuwa haijui kama hii ni misaada kwa jamii walengwa?Aljeezera imefanya jambo zuri kufatilia hili jambo maana wazungu wengi they give out bila kujua kama inafikia walengwa ila still tumeona faida zake nyingi kama wwauzaji wengi kupata kipato cha kuendeleza familia zao na kadhalika.
    Every bad thing has its positive side.
  7. Kevo

    Kevo JF-Expert Member

    Aug 12, 2008
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    Hii mitumba hata kama ni misaada na kuna watu wanaibia walengwa iachwe tuu maana inaongeza pato la nchi na ajira maana hawa wauza mitumba probably wange kuwa majambazi au makahaba!