Chic African Culture Africa Factbook

History behind three African cloth fabrics

African fabrics Kente cloth, Mud cloth, and Ndebele cloth pattern history and facts

Deep information about Kente, Mud-cloth, Ndebele cloth patterns.

Famous African Cloth

Three of the most famous African-cloth designs are Kente-cloth, Mud-cloth, and Ndebele cloth pattern.

African culture, particularly in the areas of dance, music and the fine arts has influenced cultures around the world for two millennia. African people are creative having a long history of unique cultural elegance valued around the world over.  The making and trading of African cloth have been vital elements in African culture.

Through African cloth, we can understand not only African history but also its engagement with other parts of the world. African cloth can be used to address global issues and to express individual traditions of Africa.

African cloth is unspoken language often providing a way of suggesting thoughts and feelings which may not or cannot be expressed in other ways.  These African cloths regularly move as symbols between the kingdoms of the earthly and the dead.

History behind three beautiful African cloth fabrics

Kente Cloth

Kente cloth

Kente cloth pronounced Ken-Tay is one of the most famous African textile designs. Kente is a colorful traditional cloth that is worn mostly on important occasions and celebrations.

The Ashanti people of Ghana and the Ewe people of Ghana and Togo make the African cloth, kente. Kente cloth is the most recognizable of all African textiles. Kente cloth originated with the Ashanti people of Ghana dating back 375 years in the village of Bonwire.

Bonwire is a kente clothing weaving village in Ejisu-Juaben Municipal district, a district of Ashanti. To this day, Bonwire is still the most famous center for kente cloth weaving.

Traditional Kente Cloth was black and white however the colors of black, red, yellow and green symbolize black represents Africa, red represents the blood of ancestors and yellow represents a wealth of gold.


Mud Cloth African Cloth

The African country of Mali is famous for Mud cloth or bogolanfini. Mud cloth is a distinctive fabric made by the Bamana peoples of Mali, West Africa.

The geometric designs that are created are often stylized forms of animals or other objects from the natural world.

The zigzag motif on this cloth is known as 'the legs of a cricket'.

Ndebele Cloth Pattern

Ndebele African Cloth Pattern

Ndebele pattern has a strong symbolic value and is closely linked to the home and to the relationship of the person.

This art form has developed in the second half of the nineteenth century, using bright of the brightest colors.

Earth tones were used in the past. The South African Ndebele origins are unknown, however; their history can be traced back to chief Mafana in the 1600s.

The Ndebele first officially recorded chief, chief Mafana was succeeded by chief Mhlanga.

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