Enter West Africa With Abi Ishola

Abi Ishola, multimedia reporter and producer for CUNY TV’s Independent Sources traveled solo to Nigeria and Ghana, two of West Africa’s emerging economies, to explore some of the hurdles the area faces as it continues to advance.  In a 5-part series titled Enter West Africa, Ishola reports on Ghana’s collapsing textile industry; Nigeria’s ballooning population of orphans and vulnerable children; the importance of beads in Ghanaian society; and she profiles a Nigerian businessman who is struggling to get Nigerian girls to play with dolls made in their likeness.

Enter West Africa premiered on CUNY TV (Channel 75 New York) in March 2012 on Independent Sources, a half hour program covering ethnic communities in New York.  Each story aired as such:

“Pirated Patterns”
Ghana’s once booming textile industry is on the verge of total collapse.  Abi ishola reports on how the 4 remaining factories that manufacture the country’s iconic colorful wax prints are facing unfair competition with cheap pirated cloths being smuggled into Ghana from China.


“White Man’s Deads”
 Cheap Chinese imports aren’t the only threat to Ghana’s textile industry. Used clothes shipped to the country from Europe and America have become so popular over the years, the trade has led to the collapse of a large chunk of Ghana’s textile sector.  Ghanaians call the second hand clothing Obroni Wewu which means white man’s deads.  Abi Ishola visited the largest used clothing market in Accra, Ghana’s capital city, to find out if the country’s second hand clothing trade has been worth the burden.



“Colorful Beaded History”
Throughout history beads have been to Ghanaians what diamonds are to westerners.  They represent wealth and status.  Abi reports on Ghana’s history with beads and how the market for them has shifted from elders to young contemporary Ghanaians.



“Joy’s Children”
There are over 7 million orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria.  In 2007 the country’s president announced a $1.6 billion plan to rectify the problem, but the issue has gone virtually ignored.  Abi Ishola reports on how two Nigerian siblings in their early 20s have sacrificed their lives to take care of 38 orphans and foster children.

“Brown Skinned Dolls”
Abi profiles Taofick Okoya, a young Nigerian businessman who created a unique line of dolls modeled after Nigerian women.  But getting little Nigerian girls to warm up to black dolls wearing traditional Nigerian garb has been an uphill battle.

About Independent Sources:
Independent Sources airs every Wednesday at 8:30 PM on CUNY TV, Channel 75 in New York.  IS engages journalists from New York’s ethnic and mainstream media in an insightful discussion of stories covered by ethnic newspapers, TV, radio stations, and websites. Each show features an in-depth profile of a news organization or a reporter, along with a news roundup.

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