Source: Daily Graphic Ghana - With its stunning, multiple patterns of bright colours, coupled with the geometric shapes and gallant designs, Kente has been described as a unique textile and pride of Africa. ..
Uniqueness and pride
The word, Kente, was derived from the Akan word “kenten” which means basket and is mostly produced by the people of Bonwire and Adanwomase, Sakora Wonoo, and Ntonso in the Kwabre area of the Ashanti Region. Meanwhile, some areas in the Volta Region, Togo and Cote d’ivoire are also noted for weaving Kente.
The names of Kente fabrics are usually derived from proverbs, historical events, important chiefs, and queen-mothers so there are names such as “Fathiah Fata Nkrumah, Adwenasa, Gye Nyame” and “Nyansapo”.
With the strip weaving method, young men display their skills by inventing a variety of kente patterns, each of which has a certain concept or concepts traditionally associated with it. For example, the “Obaakofoo Mmu Man” pattern symbolises democratic rule; “Emaa Da”, novel creativity and knowledge from experience; and “Sika Fre Mogya”, responsibility to share monetary success with one's relations.
Originally, Kente was perceived to be a sacred cloth worn by Akan royals for festive occasions, but in recent times, it is worn by everyone on important and special occasions. On special occasions such as traditional wedding, engagements and special national events, the Kente has become one of the preferred fabrics for many men and women.
For instance, during the recent 58th Independence Anniversary celebration of Ghana, distinguished men and women were spotted in splendid, rich and colourful Kente, showcasing the uniqueness and pride of the Ghanaian heritage.
To show the international community the worth of the Kente cloth, an exhibition to showcase Kente and other made-in-Ghana goods to the international community has been held in Accra.
Alongside the exhibition was a mini-durbar of queen-mothers from across the country who were dressed in different patterns of pure Kente fabrics and ornaments presenting a beautiful scenery and intrinsic picture of the Ghanaian heritage.
The durbar and exhibition aimed at showcasing to the international community the rich culture and tradition of Ghana, was organised by the Queen-mothers Foundation of Ghana and the Canadian High Commission.
On display were assorted Kente fabrics and a vast array of Kente products including stoles, ties, wrappers and smocks.
The loom used to make the Kente cloth was also on display for the international community to have a firsthand experience of how the cloth is made.#
In an interview, the President of the foundation, Nana Serwaa Bonsu, Queen-mother of Offinso Kayera in the Ashanti Region, told journalists that the durbar was to showcase the Ghanaian heritage to the international community for them to know the finest and authentic handwoven Kente cloth.
"Our cultural heritage is rich and has so much to offer and the exhibition is to expose it to the international community. Some might have seen the Kente cloth but they do not know how it is done so it is an opportunity for them to know how the Kente cloth is woven."
Nana Serwaa Bonsu added that the exhibition was to promote the Kente cloth and other made-in-Ghana goods, as well as attract the needed investment to the Kente industry in Ghana.
She also indicated that the durbar and exhibition was to strengthen cultural ties between Ghana and the international community.
The Queen-mothers Foundation of Ghana was established 16 years ago by selected queen-mothers from all over Ghana. As a non-profit organisation, the foundation aims, among others aims to foster excellent relationships among queen-mothers and vigorously pursue the women empowerment agenda by amplifying the good polices of the government and championing human rights.
The foundation is made up of queen-mothers from traditional areas across the country, with 84 members.