*I wrote this about 5 years ago for a website and felt this was still relevant to things going on today. Supporting our own is still a dilemma*.
How many times in your life have you heard a fellow Ghanaian say this, “I don’t go to Ghanaian owned stores. I don’t let Ghanaian’s do my taxes, they can’t be trusted. I don’t go to Ghanaian churches they are so fake.”?
If you could be honest with yourself, how many times have you said those exact words yourself? Many of us say we love our country the land of our birth or our parent’s birth, yet we don’t really support each other.
I will tell a story to explain what I mean about our lack of support for each other.
The women in my family love to shop. If there is a sale going on they call each other up to share the information and possibly find a date to drive to the sale together.
So, not long ago I was dragged along on one of these epic shopping trips with my mother and my aunt to check out a fabric store.
Walking into the fabric store, I saw two women in a corner talking as they looked through a pile that had a big sign that said 5 yards for $20. I overheard these women talking about how they would never go to the African stores to buy their lace ever again.
This store I had entered with my mother and aunt was owned by Indians. In the front they sold colourful sarees and gold bracelets and in the back they sold lace and wax print cloths that African women love to purchase for different occasions.
We were at the store because my mother had heard about the store having a lace sale of 4 for $100. As my family looked over which four laces they would choose, the store started to fill with more African women who were eager to find a good deal on lace.
I just stood there quietly and looked around and kept wondering to myself if any of these ladies would flood a local African store if they had a sale like this.
In the car I asked my mother a simple question “Why don’t we support our own?” She responded by saying that sometimes our own cheat us. My mother went on to explain that if she and my aunt had gone to an African owned store to get this type of lace it would cost them $100 or more for one piece.
This experience has impacted the way I look at our community and our lack of support for each other. Im not saying that we never support each other, but let’s be honest, the majority of people support each other only when it involves weddings, baby naming, and funerals.
When I asked others why they didn’t support Ghanaians that often I heard answers about lack of respect, being cheated out of money in the past and not wanting to deal with inferior goods.
The mentality of not supporting our own is not only seen here abroad but also can be found back home on the continent. Many people don’t buy local items, everyone wants to buy international/foreign items. Did you know Ghana produces their own rice yet many Ghanaians would rather purchase their rice from places like America and Asia?
I read awhile ago about a Ghanaian cement manufacturer that had to close down operations because Ghanaians preferred to buy international cement instead. That is not were the lack of support ends. One of the best selling fast food restaurants in Ghana is not owned by Ghanaians, and concerts that get the most publicity and sell out are the ones that are headlined by international artists and have few Ghanaian artists partake in them.
My question is, where did this mentality of it being ok to not support each other come from? What will happen in the future if we don’t support our own? Will our businesses have to constantly close down because of our desire for foreign items?
Do you think the lack of support in our community is serious? What do you think are some solutions to the lack of support amongst our people?