African culture is no doubt one of the richest and most colourful cultures globally. And today, we'll be putting a spotlight on their fabrics and their importance to their history.
Kente is known to be a brightly coloured material that is widely produced in Africa. This type of cloth is identified with the Akan People from the Asante Kingdom. However, while these beautiful garments are vibrant and colourful, it's important to know the significance of the fabric and why it's one of the most cherished materials in African culture.
With much modern design incorporating traditional aspects of fashion, it's important to know the history and significance of the kente cloth since today, modern designs incorporate this historical material.
What is the History of Africa's Kente Cloth?
In essence, kente cloth is made from thin strips woven into narrow looms. These strips are interlaced to create a fabric that is meant to be worn around your waist and shoulders, just like a toga.
Before, this was made from white cotton with indigo patterning, but the kente slowly evolved when silk was introduced to the area in the 17th century and fabric samples were then pulled apart, creating even more sophisticated and complicated patterns that were available to Akan royalty.
Kente cloth is a hand-woven fabric that is noted for its traditional dyes and designs. The cloth is noted for its variety of colours, with each colour having a particular significance that is linked to the Akan people. Today, the fabric is noted for its traditional African designs and is gaining popularity in many African countries.
Mythology and Meaning of Kente Cloth
Because African culture is rich with stories and mythologies, there's a lot of beliefs surrounding the making of kente cloth. In production, kente cloth is often associated with spider-related superstitions, so you shouldn't start or complete any work on a Friday.
On top of that, colours also play a huge role in kente cloths. For example, blue symbolizes love, green for growth and energy, red for anger and violence, grey for shame, black for death or old age, and white for victory and goodness.
Kente and the African Descent
Africans in the diaspora, especially those of the Akan descent, often wear kente material. This is mainly because the fabric is a symbol of their history and identity. Ghanaian kente is one of the most popular kente cloths, and it is revered for its colours and intricate patterns that symbolizes history, politics, and religion.
For example, in the United States, African-Americans will incorporate kente cloth in their clothing, accessories, and objects in their homes. By doing this, they can boost recognition and awareness for their culture. However, some replicates affect Ghana's income and affect the economy of their culture.
The Bottom Line: Knowing the History and Significance of Kente Cloth Will Give You a Better Grasp of Africa's History
Kente cloth has long been the fabric of choice for many African nations, and the continuity has been handed down for many generations. Today, this fabric is being used as a symbol of African heritage and history, and it is incorporated into many aspects of popular culture.
How Can We Help You?
If you're looking for high-quality African clothing online, check out Nkiti African Clothing.
We are a team of tailors, designers and manufacturers that work with African clothing on a daily basis. We can help you find the best fabrics and styles for your African clothing. Check out our selection today!