In 1983 in Nigeria, an executive order was given to immigrants without proper immigration documents to leave the country or they would be arrested according to the law. Immigrants from Ghana were deported to their country. And as they left, they were all seen in a particular type of sack -red and blue checkered-hence the name “Ghana-must-go” became famous. It is very important to note that, when Nigerians call that bag “Ghana-must-go”, it is not meant to spite Ghanaians but just to describe the type of bag used to carry their luggage when they left Nigeria.
These bags are so cheap and local that you can only find them at roadside shops and not in malls or high end stores.
However, eagle-eyed international designers are now drawing inspiration from the pattern and colour of the bag and are incorporating them into fashion.
Italian designers such as Celine, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton have glamorized the famous Ghana-must go-print. The trend is not only sweeping the international fashion scene but has also infiltrated Nigeria. Singer, Mr Eazi, wore a Ghana-must-go-inspired outfit to promote his Lagos to Accra mixtape recently. Despite the criticism he drew from Nigerians on social media for wearing that edgy outfit, he responded that he was proud that his style had inspired a trend with many of his compatriots now wearing Ghana-must-go sack materials.
“I called my stylist and said, ‘I want to dress in Ghana-must-go!’ And I said I wanted it tailored in the most prestigious traditional Nigerian fit. A lot of people got mad! They said they’d fight me in the street. But I’ve also seen people wearing it on Instagram. It’s getting the youth to wear the Ghana-must-go”, he said.
Other celebrities pictured wearing Ghana-must-go-inspired bags include actress Mercy Aigbe.