Go to AfricaBib home

Go to AfricaBib home AfricaBib Go to database home

bibliographic database
Previous page New search

The free AfricaBib App for Android is available here

Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Second-Hand Clothing Encounters in Zambia: Global Discourses, Western Commodities and Local Histories
Author:Hansen, Karen T.
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Zambia
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Urbanization and Migration
Economics and Trade
Abstract:The second-hand clothing trade from the West to Africa has grown rapidly in recent years in tandem with the liberalization of economies with previously tightly regulated import regimes. This article focuses on the agency of the consumer, suggesting that a cultural economy is at work in local appropriations of the West's unwanted clothing. Turning to Zambia, the author approaches the popularity of 'salaula' (which means, in Bemba, approximately, to select from a pile in the manner of rummaging) with a view to teasing out some of the contradictions of that country's ongoing marginalization. The article first sketches recent trends in the global second-hand clothing trade that place the countries of sub-Saharan Africa as the world's largest importing region. Then follows a discussion of Zambians' preoccupation with clothing, both new and second-hand, historically and at the present time. It demonstrates that the meanings consumers in Zambia attribute to second-hand clothing are neither uniform nor static but shift across class and genders lines, and between urban and rural areas. Above all, they depend on the cultural politics of their time. In dealing with clothing, people in Zambia are making sense of postcolonial society and their own place within it and in the world at large. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. (A slightly altered version appears in: Modernity on a shoestring: dimensions of globalization, consumption and development in Africa and beyond, ed. by Richard Fardon, Wim van Binsbergen and Rijk van Dijk, Leiden [etc.], 1999, p. 207-225.)