Kente means basket in the Ghanaian language. Kente fabric was originally the clothing material of the royal class in Ghana, but today it is no more the exclusive reserve of the regents.
Traditionally, Kente is not supposed to be everyday wear. It is meant to be worn to rites of passage like child naming, puberty rites, invitations, graduations, marriage ceremonies, soul washing, burial, and ancestral memorial ceremonies and used as a high-priced gift item.
Kent is a handwoven ceremonial fabric. It is woven on a horizontal treadle loom in strips about four inches wide. Several pieces of the strips are woven together to form a big cloth.
There are legends and historical accounts associated with the advent of Kente, all pointing at Bonwire and Adawomase of the Asante Region of Ghana as its place of birth.
Different colours of Kente depict different meanings, so every outing has a colour that goes with it, and each occasion has a style of Kente associated with it. Each colour and style communicates the event the wearer intends to attend.
The Kente fabric has many historical, philosophical, ethnic, religious, and political values it communicates and represents. It is meant to be worn for special occasions,
Tips On How To Wear Kente.
- You can wrap the fabric the way you wrap a Toga.
- Spread the cloth behind you and hold each extreme with both hands while you position yourself in the middle.
- Let the right end of the cloth pass underneath your arm and rest on your left shoulder.
- Let the left end rest on your right shoulder.
- A part of the cloth will cover your left arm, fold it up to the left shoulder so that your two hands will be exposed, and a good part will rest on your shoulder.
A simple round-necked short-sleeved shirt has been designed out of Kente. It is worn over a plain pair of trousers.
The V-Neck Kente Shirt
The V-Neck Kente Shirt looks good on any man in long and short sleeves. A hand-woven well-crafted needlework is done on its neck to add to its beauty. Although this Kente style looks very casual, it looks classy too. It can be worn to any social gathering or church service.
The Simple Collar Long-Sleeved Kente Shirt
This is a cut-to-body fit Kente style. Here the fabric is sworn specifically to fit the body form of the wearer and runs down to his knee. The shirt is adorned with buttons on its front down to its full length. It is best worn on a pair of beautiful trousers and can be rocked to all social gatherings.
Although Kente is associated with the regents of Ghana, other tribes in different countries of Africa, like the Igbos of Nigeria embrace this attire which they call “Akwuete.” They rock the fabric in different styles to make fashion statements.
The popularity of Kente has gone beyond Africa to other countries of the world. It has been recognized globally as a symbol of Pan-Africanism and as one of the displays of the rich cultural heritage of Africa.