Isn’t it amazing how everything in the African culture symbolizes something? Our festivals, some daily practices like the pouring of libation, our clothing and several ways of doing certain things all have a symbolic impact.
No wonder so many fabrics have meanings. When and where you wear them may give so many signals that you may have no idea of.
Some fabrics have specific seasons that they are worn, some send special signals and others are just worn for the beauty of it.
In this era where African prints are used for so many attracts; clothes, shoes, bags, chairs, even nose masks; Do you know the names of some of them and even their meanings and what they symbolize??
Anaa y3nk) Heblews……
Here are some african print designs, their names and meanings.
1. Nsubura •
This design comes in a wide range of beautiful bright colors. The symbol represents “water wells” from which water is obtained to quench thirst.
2. Akyekyedie ekyi •
Literally means the back of a tortoise. It also comes in a variety of colors.
3. Ahwene pa nkasa
“Quality beads don’t talk” that’s the literal translation from the Akan language. It’s name believed to have derived from the fact that the quality waist beads put around the waist of most African women does not make noise when shaken. However when it is of poor quality, it makes noise when least shaken. This literally depicts the popular adage, “empty barrels make the most noise.
4. Sika w) ntaban
From the literal meaning “money has wings”, it depicts that one should make good use of his or her resources as long as it is available. Akans believe that money, when not used when available, can be lost within a twinkle of an eye.
5. Wob3ka me ho as3m a, Fa akongua tsena so
Imagine you gossiped about someone and you see him or her wearing this particular cloth, how would you feel? If you’re an Akan I’m sure you can understand the meaning of it’s name. It has the symbol of the traditional stool imprinted in it. “If you’ll talk about me, sit on a stool”; the name alone is enough to understand what it means.
The sweetness from the sugar cane inspired the name of this print. “Mi sum) bo t)m) sh3n”, a usual romantic line of the Gas means ‘I love you like the sugarcane’. Isn’t this sweet??
7. Efie abosea
This is the short name of the cloth. The actual name is “efie abosea twa wo a, 3ky3n sradaa”. Being hurt by a close relation or friend feels worse than being hurt by an ordinary individual. In other words, it is better to be hurt by a stranger than by a close relation, and if it happens that the close relation hurts you, the damage caused hurts more than a cut from a sword as the literal meaning depicts.
This cloth ‘)yerpa’, meaning ‘good wife’ is also known as ‘Obaapa’ by many is among the popular African print designs cherished by many. Mostly, some men buy this cloth for their wives as a sign of honoring and appreciating their efforts in their lives.
9. Okunu pa
“Okunu pa” in the Akan language literally means ‘good husband’. It symbolizes a good man in a woman’s life. Irrespective of its name, it is worn by both males and females.
Kente is a popular hand-woven cloth which is very common in the Ghanaian cultural setting. It is very popular among the Ashantis and it fits all occasions. It comes in various colors and designs and has various names. Kente designs like “Obama”, “Fathia fata Nkrumah”, “edwen asa” but to mention a few are very popular kente designs.