Kente Cloth, largely referred to as African print is a garment that today’s modern African has worn as their continental identity for commonly aesthetic reasons.
When the cloth became a common identity for Africans and African-Americans, mass production and the economic vultures focused so much on the aesthetics, we lost the true meaning of this cloth and its spiritual influence.
When we saw the cloth boom in the European and American fashion industry, we uncomfortably stood in silence as a mirror of our wrongdoings was held up by the economy police, a loss of the Kente cloths origins at the expense of looking good and the dollar.
The Kente cloth, a material born in the Ashanti tribe in Ghana, has only one legend. In a village called Bonwire in the year 375, two brothers in the village Kurugu and Ameyaw went hunting one afternoon and came across a spider spinning the most beautiful spider web they have ever seen. Entrapped by its beauty, the brothers asked the spider, Ananse, to be taught this magical art of weaving. Ananse taught them all that they need to know, and they took their knowledge back to the community to create Kente Cloth. Till this day, Bonwire is well known for their Kente Cloth.
The Kente Cloth colours are more than beautification weaved into clothing, each colour represents emotions, rituals and events:
Black – sprititual energy, passing rites and maturity
Gold – Royalty, fertility, prosperity and wealth
Green – land, vegetation and harvest, spiritual renewal and spiritual growth
Red – death, funerals and cleansing
Maroon – healing, mother earth
Blue – peace, love, harmony and unity
So as you wear Adidas’s Kente cloth collection, or dote cheap imitations of Kente cloth-weaving, keep in mind the spiritual influence of the tradition and remember your consuming of these materials is an extreme disservice to the Ghanaians, infringing their intellectual cultural property.