The Kente Cloth of Ghana

Kente cloths are colorful woven cloths worn historically by royalty in Ghana. The king determined its use in his household, for officials, and allies. Kente cloths were expensive to own because of the quality of work put into the making. Traditionally the cotton is locally grown and spun into yarn by women. Step by step the entire process is carefully done using simple tools and by hand.

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Steps In Weaving

    1. Fibers are loosened and bowed using string bow
    2. Seeds are squeezed from cotton bolls
    3. Tread is hand spun on weighted spindle
    4. Yarn is scrubbed with starch and dried
    5. Dried yarn is wound onto bobbins
    6. Yarn is dyed in many colors

      Kente cloth are also made from Lurex, silk, and rayon.

      Today, due to the rising economy people of all status wear the Kente cloth. It is worn on special occasions such as weddings and important affairs. Kente cloths are more than mere clothing. They provide a cultural context on history, ethics, moral value, political opinions, and religious beliefs.

      Kente Clothe Names and Meanings

      • Tikoro nko agyina-one head does not institute a council-Given to the U.N.
      • Fathia Fata Nkrumah-Fathia deserves Nkrumah-Renamed Obaakofo Mmu man-One man does not rule a nation when Nkrumah was overthrown
      • Wonya wo ho a, wonye dehyee-You may be rich, but you are not of royal descent-Worn by royalty to distinguish themselves from the rich
      • Dako yesere-We will smile one day-Worn by Ghana President J. A. Kufuor
      • Sika fre mogya-money attracts blood-Meaning if you are wealthy your relatives will flock to you
      • OyokomanOgya da mu-There is fire (crisis) in the Oyoko nation
      • Adwinasa-All motifs are used up-Worn by royalty

      Kente derives the word kenten which means basket. Patterns in the cloth resemble the weave of a basket.

      2 Responses to “The Kente Cloth of Ghana”

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