(3 mins read)

The Ghana must go is an iconic bag used across west Africa. the history behind their name derived from the migration of alot of illegal migrants of mainly Ghanaian decent in 1983. The president of Nigeria at the time, abruptly  issued an executive order mandating illegal immigrants to leave the country. This is as Nigeria’s booming economy was beginning to decline and many people, including the president blamed the Ghanaians who migrated for this. The Ghana must go bags were a common bag used to transfer their luggage.

Nigerian photographer, Obinna Obioma has found a creative way to use these iconic bags in his photography to reflect on migration. Teaming up with Chioma Obiegbu, a Nigerian visual artist and designer also based in New York and fashion stylist Wuraola Oladapo, they create pieces which Obioma describes as a fusion of both western and African designs.

Obinna Obioma designs alot of West African fashion styles are formed with the Ghana must go bags such as the Gele which is a Nigerian headpiece. Born in Nigeria, he was first introduced to photography by his enthusiast father who took pictures at family outings and birthdays. But it was from his mother that he received his first camera after returning home from schooling in the UK and he credits his style of conceptual, portraiture and narrative photography to those formative years abroad. “I have found myself using photography to explore the human condition. Particularly issues pertaining to identity, culture and African heritage,” he said.

This iconic bags are also known for other reasons. In Nigeria, they are used by corrupt politicians to carry cash, especially during elections. 

Many believe the term ‘Ghana must go’ for the bags should be changed due to the negative history it carries behind it. Obinna agrees, saying “I believe Ghana Must Go can be categorized as a derogatory slur which of course transcends Ghanaian nationals.” he continues by stating that a change “will beg to ask the question, should the name be changed, or the bags discontinued?” 

Click here to view and support more of his work

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    Adeola is a world traveller and influencer focusing her area of travel on the continent of Africa, being her passion at her core. The aspiring writer wants to use her story to educate those about what different African countries are really like through the gaze of a first-generation British Nigerian. Her solo travels through the continent aim to inspire others giving not only her stories but useful facts about each country.

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