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Kunle Afolayan’s 'Anikulapo' inspired us to explore ancient Yoruba attires

If you’ve watched the movie 'Anikulapo' by Kunle Afolayan one thing you can testify about is how aptly it portrays Yoruba culture.

Kunle Remi and Kunle Afolayan on the set of Anikulapo [Instagram/KunleRemi]

From the story, the richness of the language, the dressing and the tribal marks all pontificate to the fact that the story is told by a person totally immersed in the Yoruba culture.

The lead character, Saro played by Kunle Remi was a cloth maker himself, and his journey made us call to mind the various attires worn by the Yoruba people.

Aso ofi means clothes woven on a loom, and it is one of the things Yoruba people are famous for.

The adire, a form of tie and dye, is also very popular among the Yoruba.

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Yorubas from time immemorial have cared so much about how they look, making different clothing patterns, colours and styles for different occasions.

The Etu is the dark blue Aso-Oke, Alaari is a rich red Aso-Oke and Saa-an-yan is a brown and usual light brown Aso-Oke. These outfits can be designed with velvet, patterns made with ink or threads and frills.

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Yoruba men wear undergarments like a short called a Sapara, Buba or Esiki collectively called “Ewu awotele” or “underclothing.” A Sapara is a short agbada, Esiki is a sleeveless-looking agbada and Buba is similar to these.

For the outer garments, they have Agbada, Gbariye and, Dandogo, which are called “Ewu awoleke”.

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The Agbada has long sleeves that need to be gathered up, and it is usually paired with long trousers. The Gbariye and Dandogo are short-sleeved shirt-like outfits.

Men also have different types of trousers or Sokoto as it is called in Yoruba. Some of them are Kembe which is a very loose trouser, Gbanu usually worn with the Gbariye and Dandogo, Soooro, Sokoto elemu and many others. Hats are also very important. Yoruba men wear different hats because a man’s dress is not complete without a hat.

Some of these hats include but are not limited to the gobi which is the most common, Former governor of Lagos State Babatunde Fashola was famous for wearing a gobi.

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Abeti Aja which looks like the flappy ears of a dog.

Alagbaa similar to the Hausa cap but commonly worn by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo.

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When it comes to women’s fashion, the Iro and Buba is the most common. Though, it can either be short or long-sleeved shirts and a wrapper. Sometimes, the wrapper is short or long.

Women also wear Iborun or Ipele which are clothes that women wrap around their shoulders or tie on their waist.

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Women have two types of underwear, the Tobi and Sinmi. The Sinmi is a sleeveless inner gown worn underneath the outfit and Tobi is worn outside like an apron to keep money and other things.

The Gele is an indispensable part of her outfit, and the more elaborate, the better.

Beads are used elaborately on the waist, wrists, neck, hair and ankles. The Yoruba cultural attire is one of beauty, extravagance and affluence.

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