Kente Cloth is derived from a centuries-old textile tradition in Ghana. The cloth has come to symbolize cultural links from West Africa across the diaspora, although history has it that the first kente techniques and designs were inspired by a spider constructing a complicated web in a town called Bonwire in Ashanti-land, a kingdom in Ghana.
Where does Kente Originates From?
Kente first originated from Bonwire, a town in the Ashanti Kingdom of Ghana. The Asante (also known as Ashanti) people are a sub-set of the larger Akan group who have the cultural legacy of weaving Kente cloth, which was formerly used only to clothing monarchs and their courts. Bonwire is known as the cradle of Kente Cloth.
What does kente colours symbolize?
There are many beautiful and open colours normally associated with weaving Kente cloth.
Here are the colours and what each denotes:
● Black: spiritual strength, maturity; mourning and funeral rites
● Gold or yellow: wealth, royalty
● Red: blood, death, political passion, strength
● Green: growth, harvest, renewal
● Blue: peace, love, unity, and harmony
● White: purity, cleansing rites, festive occasions
Kente and Adinkra Symbol Expression.
One interesting fact about Kente is that the cloth often features adinkra symbols, which represent concepts or expressions, which convey a direct message about life experiences. Adinkra are symbols from Ghana that represent concepts or aphorisms. Adinkra are used extensively in fabrics, logos, and pottery. For example, an oft-used kente pattern is, in Twi, "Adinkrahene'' which means "chief of adinkra symbols", which represents "Leadership, Greatness, and Charisma".
Types of kente
There are different types of Kente. Which makes the cloth a cluster one with different unique patterns and each type has a historic meaning to it. They include;
Adwinasa (Adwene Asa) - All ideas are exhausted
Nyankonton - God’s eyebrow
Toku Kra Toma - Toku’s soul cloth
Abusua Ye Dom - The extended family is a force.
Baakofuo Mmu Man - One person does not rule a nation.
Akyempem - Thousand shields.
Nsoromma - Stars
Akokobaatan - The mother hen.
Sika Fre Mogya - Money fascinates blood relations.
Kyeretwie - Lion catcher
Emaa Da - It has not happened before
Sika Futuro - Gold dust
Wofro Dua Pa Na Ye Pia Wo – He who climbs the good tree deserves a push.
Uses of Kente Cloth.
Kente is worn for official ceremonies like festivals, engagement/weddings, naming ceremonies, and any other joyous ceremonies. Kente fabric is the most well-known textile export from Africa to the West, particularly in locations where West Africans have moved in the United States and Europe. Kente has also come to represent a feeling of connectedness to African heritage.