You are here: HomeEntertainment2021 03 18Article 1208116

Fashion of Thursday, 18 March 2021

Source: Gifty Cobbinah

The fugu trend, a wake up call

Our elders say that even though the cock belongs to one household, its crow wakes up the entire village, such is the story of fugu in Ghana.

In Moshie language where it originated, “Fugu” means cloth. The Dagombas call it “Bingba”, the Frafras call it “Dansika”, and popularly called “Batakari” by the southerners.

Recently it has become very popular in Ghana among politicians and the middle class due to the rich history it carries.

It has become a very lucrative business and many people have taken that up as their source of livelihood.

With the advent of social media marketing, many young men and women have also taken to social media to help in the marketing and sales of smock, of which I’m a beneficiary with the brand name @the_smockhubgh. This is however a step in the right direction since it has created employment opportunities for the youth.

Traditionally Fugu was worn by northern chiefs and warriors on special occasions like festivals and other important ceremonies.

It is a prestigious cultural attire which displays the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of the people.

Fugu is an important aspect of this culture and it plays a strong role in protecting the history, values and the identities of the northern cultures. Fugu or smock as a cultural attire has fascinating colorful stripes arranged in a rhythmic order. The beauty of Smock is seen when men do the “damba” dance, with the edge of the dress going round in circles.

This aesthetic quality and other unique features have helped carry smock shoulder high from the northern borders to other parts of Ghana and the world at large.

Presently, Fugu has become like MTN you see it “everywhere you go”. At weddings, funerals, political rallies and other social gatherings. Thanks to people like Mrs Samira Bawumia and other politicians who served as beautiful models for this unique fabric.

The international community have equally embraced this beautiful attire since many associate it with The Great Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, when he wore it on the eve of Ghana’s independence.

It is no wonder therefore that the Pan African community have adopted the Fugu, and people like Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba wear smock as a symbol of unity and solidarity to the Pan African agenda.

In recent times,the prices of the materials keep rising which in turn has affected the cost of the fugu tremendously.

Speaking to some producers of smock in Bolga, their complaints seems to go in the same direction. Adongo a popular smock maker said “now the material is costly, every day they increase the price and even sometimes when you have money you won’t get certain colors and choice of materials that you want to buy”

One of the women weavers called Rose also complained about how sometimes there is a shortage of particular colors of threads on the market and one would have to wait till it is restocked. She says this delays her business and sometimes makes her loose customers.

Akurugu another weaver also said that sometimes he believes some of the traders deliberately hoard the threads so they monopolize the sales and increase it later when they feel like it.

And this affects the business which in turns affect the demand and supply chain!

The price of a short sleeved smock which used to cost between 50 to 80 cedis in the north within a short time now goes for 200 to 350 cedis depending on the location and the grandiosity of the shop here in Accra.

And such is the case with all the fugu ranging from cloth to long sleeves.

Speaking to Patience, the secretary of the Bolgatanga Weavers Association she lamented about the increasing price of the thread. She said they buy the thread from Accra at expensive prices so this in turn affects the prices of the fugu.

Currently, there is a rising complaints among the indigenous people and Ghanaians as a whole about the escalating price of fugu.

And this I think is rather unfair to the indigenous community upon whose shoulders this great attire rests coupled with the economic conditions they find themselves in.

Our mode of dressing as a people is what identifies us and differentiates us from other cultures and is a mark of our cultural, spiritual and intellectual heritage.

Over the years a lot of Ghanaians have complained about how expensive our made in Ghana products are, especially textiles.

The rising cost of these “made in Ghana” wears is one factor that makes a lot of Ghanaians shy away from buying locally produced clothing.

Studying the production, aesthetics, form, function, and context of smocks from Northern Ghana, smock has a major role to play in the preservation, presentation and promotion of Northern culture.

In a broader perspective, the Fugu also remains paramount in deepening Ghana’s ethnic textile heritage.

According to the tourism minister, Ghana made a whooping amount of 1.9 billion dollars from the year of return and I believe the local textiles industry contributed significantly to this.

Fugu business brings tourism and foreign exchange into the country, and it is a call on the smock industry, the government and individuals to step in and stabilize the price of materials and help rescue the Northern culture and the Ghanaian culture as a whole.

The government must also reduce the tax on the importation of these threads so the prices of these smocks will be stabilized.

The marketers of the fugu must also desist from the overpricing of the fugu and exploitation of customers.

I also believe the fugu industry must come together and regulate the prices of the smocks to ensure continuity.

The original owners of the Fugu must also have a special price for the Fugu as a means of showing support since we have all become beneficiaries.

As we celebrate Ghana month, like the proverbial broom let’s all come together and be great custodians of our culture so we can also pass it on to the next generation.

Thank You!

Join our Newsletter