One major thing common to all clothes in Africa is that they usually have bright colors, fine embroidery, and colorful neckpieces. These attires are functional, stylish, and always in season, representing pride, history, and symbolism in every region they are worn.
5 popular cultural attires in Africa and their significance
Africa is diverse and large, and as such cultural attires worn traditionally in various countries will differ.
Here are five out of the many cultural attires across Africa;
This is a colorful print of clothing worn by the people on the Eastern coast of Africa. In Kenya, an interesting piece of clothing culturally binds everyone together, regardless of gender or status quo.
In Tanzania, they are given to the grieving family as a form of support to the mourning family. It is usually worn as a headwrap or a skirt.
The Kente clothing is peculiar to Ghana in West Africa. Kente is a handwoven, bright colored, and patterned fabric. Historically, it was worn by people of wealthy statuses for special occasions; these included chiefs, kings, queens, etc.
They would usually wear the kente like a draped robe over their shoulder and around their body, often called "toga-like". The royals of the Ashanti tribe still wear the kente in the toga style up till today.
Today, the African print is worn and enjoyed by everyone, and they are sewn into beautiful styles.
Aso oke is another cultural clothing handwoven with dexterity and professionalism. It is peculiar to the Yoruba people in west Africa, Nigeria. It was created in the 15th century before widespread across the country and abroad.
The handwoven cloth is traditionally sewn into headgear called "gele," a shoulder sash called "iborun," a cap called "fila," and sometimes a blouse and wrapper called "buba" and iro," respectively. These attires are worn for special occasions like funerals, weddings, etc.
Today, Aso oke has gone beyond its traditional usage, and its fashion has transcended time. Now, it Aso oke serves as a material to make shoes, bags, earrings, and book covers.
Kanzu is a traditional attire worn by men in Uganda and Kenya. In Uganda, men wear them at weddings during the introduction. It is made with linen or silk and is usually worn with a blazer, coat, or suit jacket.
In Kenya, the groom is expected to wear a white or black bisht on the kanzu- bisht is a cloak popular among the Arabs.
Zuria is a dress worn by the women of Tigrinya in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The clothing is usually white, with beautiful embroidery on the hems, and it is worn for occasions like parties, weddings, etc.
Although westernization has influenced how these cultural attires are worn, the heritage and significance are forever preserved.
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