google-site-verification: googlecb803562c78427f3.html Kente of Ghana | Kingdom of Africa



Posted by Florian Cheval on


I recently visited the Ghana , West Africa. During my stay, I visited several talented artisans, including the kente weavers of the Ashanti region.

Kente fabric originated in West Africa, while African print fabric (commonly known as "ankara" in West Africa and "kitenge" in East Africa) was first produced in Indonesia.


Kente is no ordinary fabric and is easily recognizable around the world. The kente production method, called strip weaving, exists in West Africa since the 11th century.

In 1697, the king of Ashanti Kingdom , Osei Tutu, selected several weavers from neighboring towns and villages to travel to neighboring Ivory Coast to become experts in this complex art form.

Osei tutu founder of the Ashanti kingdom wearing kente

Osei Tutu founder of the Ashanti Kingdom wearing kente

Once they returned to Ghana, they began weaving this beautiful and colorful fabric exclusively for the king. Indeed, kente was originally made and worn only by the nobility.

Weavers began creating their own unique designs, which are now well known around the world as "Ashanti kente". There are also the Ewe ; another ethnic group that weaves kente in southern Ghana.

Today, members of the Ashanti royal family still wear the sacred cloth usually draped over the shoulders, including traditional black and white designs, for prestigious occasions. These may include traditional ceremonies, worship, official outings, weddings and funerals.

kente weaving and kente wedding dress

Traditional Kente weaving and kente wedding dresses


Nowadays, the fabric can be purchased and worn by local people and African kente outfits are very popular for weddings and special occasions.

THE Akans , from the Ashanti kingdom, traditionally wear clothing made from kente cloth. It is a source of pride for many Ghanaians and the diaspora. Original kente is a symbol of wealth and identity as it is a luxurious and expensive fabric. Every new kente pattern is registered and copyrighted.

However, ankara fabric manufacturers in Ghana and China, for example, are already replicating kente designs. 👉 Wax fabrics being machine printed are much cheaper and therefore more affordable than original kente fabrics. This probably contributed to the worldwide popularity of "kente", as it is less vulgar.

This has also encouraged young fashion designers to experiment with new designs by designing modern African clothing. Apart from Ghanaian clothing fashion, kente is also used to make home accessories such as blankets, cushions, pillowcases and even placemats.


Raw materials used for weaving include:

  • Cotton (grown in northern Ghana)
  • Silk (very expensive and was the traditional thread used)
  • Rayon (synthetic fiber)
  • Metallic thread (adds shine to fabric)

Usually the yarns are hand-spun by the villagers where kente is made as it is cheaper than buying an already spun cone. The traditional hand spinning method is demonstrated in this short video clip.

The dye used to change the color of the yarn can be made locally by grinding the bark or leaves of trees. Local dyes are preferred because the colors do not fade, but most dyes are imported from China or Japan.


Kente fabric is purely hand-woven; no machines are used. Weavers sit inside a workshop to create long, narrow interwoven strips which are then sewn together by a tailor to make the fabrics.

Creating a new hand pattern can take a long time, requiring a lot of experience. Weavers use their hands and feet to operate the loom . The warp is placed quite far from the loom under heavy stones to keep it taut, which gradually moves closer to the loom as more fabric is produced.

The more complicated the design, the more expensive the purchase. It exists three types of weaving known locally in this village: the single, the double and the triple. The latter is the most complicated as the designs can take 4-5 hours for an experienced weaver to make just one strip!

If you prefer, you can draw your own design and they can reproduce it for you. During President Obama's visit, they created a special drawing in his honor. If a local person does a good deed in their community, they can also name a new drawing after themselves.


Kente fabric patterns are powerful cultural symbols that represent history and philosophy. Each drawing has a specific name and symbolic meaning which can reflect the cultural values ​​of Ghanaians but historical events too. You can distinguish the meanings based on the different patterns and colors used.

Examples of meanings expressed by drawings:

1) Fatima Nkrumah

Kwame Nkrumah was the first president of Ghana after its independence from Britain in 1957. The first lady, Fatima Nkrumah, was Egyptian and he married her for unity. This drawing bears his name and symbolizes the fight against racism and discrimination.

2) Zigzag

Life is not a smooth journey; there may be many obstacles on the way.

3) Mako Maso Adeae (my heart's desire)

Convey the nonverbal message “I love you” to a lady by leaving it at her front door. Other designs convey meanings of good health, wealth, strength, etc.

Examples of meanings expressed by colors:

  • YELLOW: Royalty , Wealth, Beauty
  • Green: Fertility, Vegetation, Forest , New harvest
  • Red: Blood of ancestors, Politics, death
  • Blue: Peace, Harmony, Love
  • Rose: Love, Happiness
  • Orange: Wealth , Joy
  • Gold: Royalty, Wealth, High Status
  • Money: Joy, Purity
  • Black: Heritage , Strength, Spirituality
  • White: Purity, Party
  • Gray: Healing

So! I have reached the end of my summary. It was an extraordinary trip. I hope you enjoyed reading and learned new things about Kente. Please consult our articles dedicated to 👉 Wax fabric if you would also like to know more about ankara / kitenge

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