14 February 2017

Ghana: Valentine's Cards Lose Appeal in Ghana

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Valentine card sellers are gradually going out of business as more and more Ghanaians adopt smart phones and social media as their means of sending messages of affection.

Back in the days, friends and families would send greeting cards to loved ones wishing them success in their endeavors be it marriages, birthdays, exams or Valentine's Day. But today, WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media platforms have killed this tradition which was once used as a measure of the bond between lovers.

Commuters moved up and down around the business center of Tamale early Valentine's Day. The dry-season sun is scorching but people are cheerful in their red garments in celebration of the day. Unlike previous years, storefronts are missing traditional greetings cards. Once upon a time, Valentine's Day cards were a booming business in Ghana.

Love lost

Hilda Atinbiok has been selling greeting cards in Tamale since 2000. She said that the introduction of social media has affected her business.

"Now they do it on their own so they don't come to buy our cards," she said.

Atinbiok is not the only one who has lost business. Edem Krah operates KASVAL Ventures in Tamale, one of the popular places loved ones go for assorted items. He too has given up selling cards.

"Once upon a time this shop was one of the best shops when it came to Valentine's and other assorted cards," he said. "But now you just bring a dozen of cards and they don't move."

For the younger generation of lovers like Obaafie Patricia, a trainee teacher in Tamale, weddings, birthday anniversaries, academic successes and Christmas wishes are no longer celebrated with a card.

"If you do not give her a card, it doesn't mean that the love is fading but that they don't value cards anymore," he said.

Just another day

For Ruby Dugbenya, love is not dying out but perhaps Valentine's Day is.

"Who cares about cards and Valentine's Day anyway?" he asked.

In Tamale, the greeting card business appears to be entering the final stage in its business life cycle. Businessman Ibrahim Shamsudeen Taimako said that people involved in such businesses have only two options: to get out or to diversify.

"Once technology is involved, you have no option but to embrace the new," he said.

It appears that business cards are now more important than greeting cards on the road to success in Tamale.

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