FEATURE: Ghana should promote smock Industry from the North
The smock industry unlike the kente industry has been sidelined for long.
Governments have come and gone but there seems to be no deliberate policy to project the industry.
The industry has witnessed some low patronage over the years and weavers can no longer be expected to hold their frustration. Since its introduction in Ghana, the industry has struggled to survive and continues to play second to the well-branded kente.
Though it has been the way of expressing our kind gestures to diplomats and other esteemed foreign nationals who visit the country, very little touches the industry to salvage its poor state.
Ghana’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah declared smock as a “battle dress.” Since then, the smock has made gains into becoming not only a “battle dress” but also prestigious attire worn by men and women of prestige, as well as children.
In recent times, top officials and politicians have resorted to the smock in making political statements. Ex President Jerry Rawlings was noted for wearing the smock on official duties, locally and abroad, and usually during his campaign trails. Other top politicians have also been seen on political rallies and platforms wearing smock – members of parliament are famous for this practice.
In the country today we also see smock everywhere. In schools, hospitals, churches and many other domains, there is the smock.
In 2011, The United Nation’s Joint Programme on Human Security (UNJHS) nurtured an innovative idea of promoting, marketing and rebranding the Northern smock for the local and the international markets so as to increase income for weavers and create jobs for the youth.
Mr. Kwame Asante is the National Programme Coordinator for the UNJH. He opines that: the UNJHS was leading the formulation of ideas that would come out with a blue print on a craft centre to be established for all smock weavers from Daboya, Tamale and Yendi.
He said it was very imperative for the Northern region to set up the craft centre to showcase the Northern smock saying that the Bonwire craft centre and the Bolga craft centres should serve as sources of motivation for the region.
Promoting the northern smock could lead to the creation of thousands jobs for the idle northern youth if given the needed attention. However, our branding must transcend along these lines of attracting the requisite expertise that can assist Ghana to industrialise along the lines of its culture, that is to say popularising its culture through innovation and industrialisation.
The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority should also carve a niche policy to address the challenges confronting the smock industry.
Writer: Abu Mubarik
01. Ghana and the smock Industry
02. Ghana and the smock Industry