Friday, 16 October 2009

Traditional Friday

I knew about casual or mufti Fridays - dressing down at the end of the working week, leaving your suit, shirt and tie in the wardrobe and coming to work in jeans, T-Shirt and sneakers. But here in Ghana I came across another very interesting idea: Traditional Friday.

This morning about half of the participants from our current affairs reporting seminar showed up in beautiful traditional dresses and shirts, made of colourful local prints and fabrics.

About two years ago the last government came up with this novel idea. Diana, one of the participating journalists tells me it's a way of promoting traditional clothes and boosting the local garment industry - including everyone from producers of local fabrics, to retailers and seamstresses.

Thanks to the British colonialists suits and shirts have long time ago taken over dress codes at the office, but Traditional Friday is a great idea, says Georgina, who wears a beautiful bright green and yellow dress. "It identifies you with the institution you work for. Mine here says GBC and has our logo on the print. So everyone knows that I work for the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation."

Kwarteng, one of our male participants, is wearing a Fugu - that's a traditional hand made shirt from Tamale, a town in the north of Ghana. Every Friday he wears traditional clothes. "It's not a law, but a moral thing", he says and "it protects what we have as Ghaneans". He thinks that too many clothes are being imported from Europe, Asia and other parts of the world and not enough is produced locally, so it's tremendously important to support the local industries.

Apart from boosting the economy, keeping the traditions alive, there's still another benefit, adds Georgina: "For all those who get their days of the week mixed up, on Fridays you're sure to know which day of the week it is."

P.S. This is a shot we took on our second Friday when we handed over the certificates to our participating journalists. If you look closely you can see that Christine and I also wore Friday wear...

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