Plundering of African culture for fashion is deplorable

Our readers have their say on Aretha Franklin, currency conversion and Asos

Kanga fabrics, The Kujuwa Initiative, ASOS Foundation
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With reference to Sarah Maisey's article A Neat Idea (August 31), the assumption that Europe simply recycled Africa's culture exposes two misunderstandings: one, that African culture can be consumed and trashed and two, that a culture only has value once Europeans have given their approval of it.

Then there is the issue of the “casual plundering of ideas and cross-pollination” via the slave trade. I find it hard to believe that Adidas’ partnering with Pharrell Williams, Armani with Stella Jean and Asos with Soko, can be nothing more than feelgood marketing and not reparation. How many millions are these projects employing and what are they doing for the descendants of Africans in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia who suffered from the hands of slavery? What have Picasso, Matisse or any other artists left of their legacy for them?

Just because a global corporation builds a low-level factory in an African forest, employing less than a hundred people and handing out sanitary napkins made of fabric scraps (which may not be very healthy to begin with) will not make up for 700 years of kidnappings, murders, cultural robberies, stolen heritage and disrupted legacies and social death via invasion and colonisation.

As a descendent of slaves in America, I found this article to be in bad taste. I would invite people to read Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo, who says that projects like these only make governing in Africa more impossible because it causes African politicians and governments to be dependent on the whims of outside funders, ignoring their responsibility towards their citizens by giving this responsibility to movie stars, musicians and the hands of an NGO or an aid agency. Just think South Sudan if you want to know how that works out.

Maryam Ismail, Abu Dhabi

Legendary Aretha Franklin will be missed by many

I read with interest your story Bishop at Aretha Franklin's funeral apologises to Ariana Grande (September 15) about the incident that took place during the funeral of the 76-year-old legendary singer.

The demise of a singer liked by millions of fans across the globe is a great loss to the music world. May her soul rest in peace.

K Ragavan, Bengaluru

How not to lose money in foreign cash transactions

Regarding your story Spending abroad: should you pay in dirhams or the local currency? (September 2), online transaction such as flight bookings are at times charged in other currencies, depending on which flight you book but bank charges are too high an amount for the transaction that is being done.

Sammira Mohiadeen, Dubai

The solution is a multicurrency debit account or a credit card that gives 3 per cent cashback on international spend.

That usually recompenses most foreign exchange charges.

Name withheld by request