Independent Lens 1999 | TV Show Watchlist

Season 5, Episode 18 T-Shirt Travels

First Aired: March 23, 2004

“T-Shirt Travels,” documentarian Shantha Bloemen's “story of secondhand clothes and Third World debt,” examines why many Africans wear clothes donated by Americans and Europeans. The reason, as Bloemen points out as she follows a young Zambian as he sells used clothes in his hometown market, is that they're the only clothes most Zambians can buy: the “industry” these hand-me-downs has created has decimated the local textile industry. And that's just part of the reason why the country has become “buried” (as economist Jeffrey Sachs puts it) in debt. Sighs former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda: “We've never sunk so low in terms of poverty level.”

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  • Premiered: August 9, 1999
  • Rating: TV-PG
  • Premise: Independent filmmakers are spotlighted in this anthology, which concentrates on documentaries, but occasionally features artist profiles and offbeat fictional films. (more)

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