Kente Ghanaian textile is from Ghana, a country located in West Africa. Kente is a cloth worn by royalty. It is hand woven just like the Aso-oke (Nigerian textile) in wooden looms and is of very high worth. It comes in a variety of patterns, colours and designs, each of which have different meanings.
According to Ghanaian mythology, Kente textile was first made when two friends watched how a spider wove its web. They created the Kente cloth by mimicking the actions of the spiders. It is said that this story, whether true or not, shows the harmony between Ghanaians and Mother Nature.
Looking back in the olden times, the Kente cloth is reserved for the Kings and is associated with royalty and sacredness. Even in recent times, it is worn only during important times. Though the cloth has widespread acceptance and usage it is still held in high esteem among the Akan tribe and the Ghanaians in general.
The Kente cloth is one of the most famous and wanted fabric in the whole of Africa. For the Ghanaians, this represents the history, philosophy, oral literature, religious beliefs, political thought and aesthetic principles of life.
Bellafricana is a marketplace where people around the world go to sell and buy unique Afrocentric and handmade goods. We are huge lovers of Afrocentric (made from Africa) and handmade products and services hence the reason we have created a platform to connect artisans, creatives, buyers, sellers and manufacturers.
The first time I was opportuned to meet Mr Bayo Ademiluyi (founder of Ty-tys) was at the Chevron (Afro-centric) bazaar. It was so random as one of the Bellafricana team had just posted an article about Ty-tys which caught my attention. Mr Ademiluyi is very jovial, down to earth and talented of course. I couldn’t help but interview him to hear the story of how Ty-tys came about.
Aso-oke has in recent times become more versatile in its use and is no longer limited to its traditional uses. The cloth is fast evolving into the fabric of choice for cutting edge fashion and trendy accessories in different countries and world regions.(more…)
Kuba cloth is a hand-woven cloth made from the fib of Raphia Vinifera palm leaves. Kuba people of the Congo first hand cut, and then weave the strips of leaf to make pieces of fabric, often called raffia cloth.
There are several different sub groups of the Kuba people. Each group has different and unique ways to make the fabric. Some make it thicker, longer, shorter, or with different patches. Each patch is symbolic and many times a piece has many different meanings.
Mud cloth is a traditional woven cloth from Bamana people of Mali with rich hues ranging from rich black, brown, mustard, red or green (although other colors are sometimes found), with sections of the cloth composing of individual motifs such as fish bones, little stars or hunters.
Mudcloth in Africa dates as far back as the 12th century AD. The symbols and shape arrangement on the mudcloth reveals a variety of different secrets. A person’s social status, occupation and character can all be represented in a piece of mudcloth. Each piece of mudcloth has its own unique story to tell.
In fact, in the most recent Star Wars Film, “The Clone Wars”, Anakin was wearing a Mud cloth vest while he was dressed as a refugee traveling with Padme when they were returning to Naboo. (more…)
Kitenge is an East African cotton fabric printed in various colours and distinctive patterns. It has its origin from Kiswahili kitengele. Kitenge is sometimes worn as sarong by women, or as a baby sling. Some of the African countries where kitenge is worn are Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Sudan. It is an informal and inexpensive fabric with a distinctive border and political slogans.
In Swahili the plural form is ‘vitenge’ while in Tonga it is ‘zitenge’. It forms an important part of the East African culture. Kitenge fabric has a long history and gives the Eastern African region an identity. Beyonce, Gwen Stefani, Kim Kardashian and Solange are some of the celebrities that have been spotted on the red carpet wearing Kitenge designs.
In Kenya the Kitenge festival is a popular event held periodically and is meant to highlight the varied uses of Kitenge fabric. This vibrant cotton fabric is wax printed, using rotary printing machines. Most often it’s a multicolored, dark wax print on a lighter background. The printing on the cloth is done by a traditional batik technique. (more…)