Growing up, I was always fascinated by products from the U.S. and U.K. I didn't really have a strong desire for African goods because I conditioned myself to believe that local products were mediocre.
Dziffa Akua is a friend of my sister's and she recommended me to her as an intern. My first experience working directly with her was on the #ProudlyGhanaian campaign. We brought our ideas together and I worked on recruiting models and organizing the shoot.
To be honest, the photoshoot seemed annoying at first because we had to be at Impact Hub Accra very early on a Saturday and I couldn’t understand what was going on. We visited many places in Accra, starting with Osu at 5am, Independence Square, Kantamanto, Avenor, Villagio, and finally ending at North Legon around 11pm.
When we got to Kantamanto, I wasn't really seeing what was going on so I decided to capture behind-the-scenes and with the camera, I could see the beauty of the shoot through the eyes of the people around me.
We were in an abandoned train that stank of years old urine with homeless people sleeping behind us. Ironically, the team was not bothered and was more focused on capturing the beauty of Africa in spite of all the shortfalls around us.
After a few minutes, the people sleeping woke up and were looking at us. They were dazzled by the variety of African goods we were showcasing and admired our enthusiasm. I stood back and observed our collective efforts at promoting Africa and was thrilled to be a part of the team.
I’ve been working directly with Dziffa Akua for a few months now, I fully understand her drive and have grown closer to her. You can imagine the feeling I get when I explain what Dziffa.com does to someone and they grasp its importance in Africa. The responses are always along the lines of "Oh that's a good thing...we should all do our best to promote Africa."
Why import toothpaste when we have the capacity to manufacture one? We’ve been conditioned to believe the toothpaste from the white man's country can whiten our teeth better than our own so it's a process of relearning and appreciating our own.
When you get attached to Dziffa's motive you will be so inspired and excited about Africa that you would want to dance "Adowa" to Shatta Wale's songs #joking.
But seriously, isn't it a great joy to see your own country's artisans showcasing their talents in various ways? Isn't it a great relieve to know that you have helped great artisans expand their reach beyond local markets? Isn't it a great pleasure to be a part of a company that is contributing to the national development in your country and continent?
Joining Dziffa has helped me develop a strong appreciation for African goods. Even with our ailing economic status, we still find the money to import millions of goods we can make locally while our businesses die off.
We are always complaining that "There's no money in Ghana."
Seriously, how do we expect money to be here when we make no effort to develop and support local businesses? I'm not saying we should boycott imported goods but once in a while, we should make an effort to buy and support our own local goods. Local goods give us value for our money while supporting the growth of our entrepreneurs, designers, and craftsmen.
Dziffa is not a superficial show of patriotism but a young company with a focus on addressing developmental issues policy makers still struggle with. I hope Dziffa inspires you to see the potential in Africa and value of promoting local brands globally.
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- Tags: Africa, Arts and Crafts, Bamboo Bicycles, Buy Africa, Development, Globalizing Africa, Import Dependence, Journey, Local Businesses, Made-in-Africa, Nuna Couture, Poqua Poqu, Proudly African