Comedian Thenjiwe Moseley gets serious: Stop letting Europeans dump their old clothes in SA

27 February 2020 - 08:00 By Kyle Zeeman
Thenjiwe Moseley wanted to get something off her chest.
Thenjiwe Moseley wanted to get something off her chest.
Image: Via Thenjiwe Moseley's Instagram

Imbewu actress and comedian Thenjiwe Moseley has lambasted American and European companies that send second-hand clothing to Africa.

Second-hand clothing is a multimillion-dollar industry across Africa, with the US Agency for International Development reporting in 2018 that the industry employs more than 355,000 people in East Africa, supporting the livelihoods of 1.4 million people.

Still, it can result in some hella embarrassing situations, like one shared by Thenjiwe on her Instagram this week of a woman wearing a T-shirt reading: “Sex instructor: First lesson free ... ".

"(This is) another reason why we should stop allowing Americans and Europeans to dump their second hand clothes in Africa. Now look what our mothers are wearing,” she wrote.

She also mourned the closure of local textile producers.

“When we had our own textile industry and clothes factory things were a lot better,” she added.

According to an Al Jazeera report in 2018, the influx of second-hand clothing led to the collapse of a number of local textile industries across the continent in the 1980s and 90s. 

In a bid to reverse this, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, among others, agreed in March 2016 to increase tariffs on imported used clothes, in the hope of phasing them out within two to three years.

CNBC Africa said the decision sparked a trade war between the US and Rwanda that same year, with the US Trade Representative warning Rwanda it would lose some benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) in doing so.