KENTE CLOTH: GHANA`S ASHANTI CULTURAL HERITAGE

KENTE CLOTH: GHANA`S ASHANTI CULTURAL HERITAGE

KENTE CLOTH: GHANA`S ASHANTI CULTURAL HERITAGE

Kente is a ceremonial cloth hand-woven on a horizontal treadle loom, kente comes in strips measuring about 4 inches wide and sown together into larger pieces of cloth. It comes in variety of colours and different designs. The word "Kente" comes from the word "kenten", which means basket.

Three beautiful girls in their awesome Kente cloth

Kente Royal Cloth are very important for its rich colours and meaningful designs. Infact the premisence of the Asante Monarchy is interfered with the Kente cloth. The Kente weaver gives each piece of cloth philosophical, historical and divine name.

Kente is more than a clothing item, it is a visual representation of history philosophy, ethics, oral literature religious beliefs and political thought.

Bijago warrior dancer in his traditional outfit

Bijago warrior dancer in his traditional outfit

 Bijago warrior dancer in his traditional outfit

Bijago traditional acrobatic warrior dance

Bijago have traditionally resented all centralized authority,whether Portuguese,*French*, English, German or contemporary government officials. In 1447,when the Portuguese explorer, Nuna Tristao, tried to conquer the Bijagos, they killed him instantly because they do not want any form of rule except their matriarchal traditional system that create chiefs to rule them.

Credit blog: TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

NDEBELE MANALA NDEBELE AND NDZUNDZA NDEBELE PEOPLE SOUTH AFRICA`S ARTISTIC, COLORFUL DRESSING AND PEACEFUL PEOPLE

NDEBELE MANALA NDEBELE AND NDZUNDZA NDEBELE PEOPLE SOUTH AFRICA`S ARTISTIC, COLORFUL DRESSING AND PEACEFUL PEOPLE

NDEBELE (MANALA NDEBELE AND NDZUNDZA NDEBELE) PEOPLE:

Ndebele (South/original Ndebele) people artistic Bantu-speaking people of Nguni extraction comprising abakwaManala (the Manala Ndebele) and abakwaNdzundza (the Ndzundza Ndebele) located in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Ndebele people: Initiates at Iqhude (coming out ceremony). Note beaded leg ornaments (golwani) and beaded aprons. The size and shape of an Ndebele woman's apron communicates information about her status in life (married, with children or grandchildren, etc.). Generally, the larger and more parts an apron has, the older and more important role the woman plays. Beadworking is taught by mothers to daughters, and has come to be an important source of income for Ndebele women.
-they go out as a group and parade around the village.
 The people refer to themselves as "AmaNdebele," or "Ndzundza" or "Manala," denoting the two main tribal groupings. They are distinct from Mzilikazi`s led Northern Ndebele people popularly known as Matebele people of Zimbabwe and South Africa. Ndebele people are also known as the Southern Transvaal Ndebele, and are centered around Bronkhorstspruit in the Republic of South Africa.

Ndebele women from Gauteng wearing colorful traditional clothings during the National Women's day in Pretoria.

The so-called Southern and Northern (ama) Ndebele of the Republic of South Africa constitute a single ethnic group that claims its origin from the ancestral chief, Musi (or Msi). According to scholars Fourie (1921), Van Warmelo (1930), Van Vuuren (1983), De Beer (1986), Skhosana (1996) and others, the (ama)Ndebele originate from KwaZulu-Natal. Long before Shaka's wrath they parted as a bigger clan from their main Hlubi tribe around 1552 under the chieftainship of Mafana and took their route northwards. The other clan also separated from the main (ama)Hlubi tribe and went south via Basotoland. The clan that went south ultimately became part of (ama) Xhosa Nguni people who are presently found in the Eastern Cape.

Credit blog: TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
Oguaa (Cape Coast) Fante women in their traditional outfit.

Oguaa (Cape Coast) Fante women in their traditional outfit.

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Oguaa (Cape Coast) Fante women in their traditional outfit. Circa 1897. Cape Coast, Ghana (Gold Coast). From this old photo one is exposed to Fantse traditional way of life. Some of the women in the photo have their breast covered whilst others have their breast uncovered. Those with their breast uncovered are the unmarried women. In the ancient Fantse tradition women that are unmarried as well as uninitiated teenage girls dress without covering their breast to show as a sign with their firm standing breast that they are not married and are virgin. Potential suitors are helped with these uncovered breast to make their choices. If a woman go out there to have pre-marital sex and gets pregnant she is easily recognized and it served as a disincentive for women to engage in pre-marital sex. When a woman get married her breast is immediately covered. The naked breast from thence becomes a soul sight for the husband and no one else. It was then a taboo for a married woman to show her breast to another man. The act of marrying and covering the breast makes a woman "akataesia" (covered for hiding for the husband only). This means a modern-day Fantse woman who dress and shows her curves and breast to outsiders is no proper Fantse woman.
President Obama and his family at Cape Coast Slave Castle

President Obama and his family at Cape Coast Slave Castle

President Obama and family visit

President Obama and his family at Cape Coast Slave Castle listening to the history of the castle from uncle Fritz Barffour. Cape Coast Castle was one major castle in Africa that served as a major transit point for most slaves transported to diaspora.

Ethnic Gbagyi or Gwari gils of Gbagyi Cultural troupe from Abuja, Nigeria

Ethnic Gbagyi or Gwari gils of Gbagyi Cultural troupe from Abuja, Nigeria

Ethnic Gbagyi or Gwari gils of Gbagyi Cultural troupe from Abuja, Nigeria

Ethnic Gbagyi or Gwari gils of Gbagyi Cultural troupe from Abuja, Nigeria. The Gbagyi`s are the original owners of the Capital Abuja. Gbagyi or Gwarri (also spelled Gbari) are peaceful, agriculturalist, artistic and Nupoid-speaking people living in North-Central geo-political zone of Nigeria. They predominantly live in the Niger, Kaduna States and the Federal Capital Territory. They are also found in Nasarawa and Kogi States in central Nigerian Area. Gbagyi is the most populated ethnic Group and indigenous in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, where their major occupation is farming. This means Gbagyi people are the bonafide owners of the Nigerian capital city, Abuja. The Capital Abuja is the name of Abu Ja the son of the 13th Sultan.

A beautiful ethnic Ewe woman from Togo, West Africa dressed in Agotime weaved Kente, wearing precious beads

A beautiful ethnic Ewe woman from Togo, West Africa dressed in Agotime weaved Kente, wearing precious beads

A beautiful ethnic Ewe woman from Togo, West Africa dressed in Agotime weaved Kente, wearing precious beads

A beautiful ethnic Ewe woman from Togo, West Africa dressed in Agotime weaved Kente, wearing precious beads and a chain with her body painted in an awesome designs during the annual "Festivals Des Divinites Noires" (The Festival of Black Deities) held at Aneho in Togo, West Africa.
The "Festivals Des Divinites Noires" (The Festival of Black Deities) is celebrated annually at the Togo`s ancient city of Aneho at different months (but in recent times in December) as its organizers (Acofin African Heritage Association) deemed it fit. The festival identifies 41 vodoun (voodoo) deities for worship and celebration. Voodoo was born in Benin (Dahomey) and Togo as well as Kongo before being exported to Brazil, Cuba. United States of America (Louisiana,New Orleans) and Haiti (where it is largely practiced).
The voodoo religion has about 80 million followers worldwide. They are from Santo Domingo, Cuba, Brazil, Louisiana, Benin, Togo,,Ghana. Nigeria, Cameroon and Haiti.Voodoo religion is an extraordinary pace, special chanted music that its practitioners sing and goes into spiritual trance, cries of revolt as it occurred in Haiti and also makes Africans rediscover their own roots.
The major motivation for this festival is to afford both Africans and Africans in diaspora an opportunity for their historical identification, restoration and promotion of African heritage. For Acofin association, the promoters of the "Festivals Des Divinites Noires," the celebration is a memory issue, ownership, rehabilitation, and recovery for the African people living everywhere.
Aneho is located 45 kilometers from Lome, the capital city of Togo. Aneho, Glidji in Togo and Abomey and Ouidah, towns in the neighboring city of Benin, are known as the cradle of Vodoun (Voodoo) in the world. Aneho is the land of Mina ( Mina people are mostly Fantes from Ghana`s Central regional ancient town of Elmina (Edina) that went to sojourn in Togo and Benin to engage in their fishing occupation) and Guin people.

An Ethnic Ewe girl in her full traditional white vodoun dress and beads

An Ethnic Ewe girl in her full traditional white vodoun dress and beads

An Ethnic Ewe girl in her full traditional white vodoun dress and beads

An Ethnic Ewe girl in her full traditional white vodoun dress and beads from Aneho at the Celebration of Ekpe Ekpe Voodoo Festival at Ouidah in Benin. Voodoo originated in the African kingdom of Dahomey (Fon, Ewe, Aja and Guen {Mina} people) as many as 6,000 years ago. The word "voodoo" comes from the Fon language, "Vudu" in which it means "sacred," "spirit" or "deity."
The Fon kingdom of Dahomey was located in what is now southern Benin, a region some anthropologists refer to as the "cradle of Voodoo." People also practice Voodoo in Togo, Ghana and other countries in northwestern Africa. Approximately 30 million people in Togo, Ghana and Benin practice Voodoo today [source: National Public Radio: Radio Expeditions]. Voodoo is also an official religion in Benin, where as many as 60 percent of the people are followers.
Since Voodoo is primarily an oral tradition, the names of gods, as well as the specifics of different rituals, can change in different regions or from generation to generation. However, African Voodoo has several consistent qualities no matter where people practice it. Along with the belief in multiple gods and spiritual possession, these include:
Veneration of ancestors
Rituals or objects used to convey magical protection
Animal sacrifices used to show respect for a god, to gain its favor or to give thanks
The use of fetishes, or objects meant to contain the essence or power of particular spirits
Ceremonial dances, which often involve elaborate costumes and masks
Ceremonial music and instruments, especially including drums
Divination using the interpretation of physical activities, like tossing seed hulls or pulling a stone of a certain color from a tree
The association of colors, foods, plants and other items with specific loa and the use of these items to pay tribute to the loa.
Some people associate Voodoo with evil, but many of its rituals, even those that include the sacrifice of live animals, focus on respect and peace. Its religious leaders become community leaders, providing guidance and settling disputes. Leaders also frequently provide medical care in the form of folk medicine. Priests, priestesses and other practitioners typically dedicate their work to helping and caring for others. Curses, witchcraft and spells designed to do harm fall instead into the category of bo. However, most anthropologists agree that Voodoo leaders have a working knowledge of bo, which is separate from Voodoo, believing that understanding how it works is necessary to fighting it. Sorcerers known as bokono, rather than Voodoo priests and priestesses, are said to control more sinister spells. In some cases, though, people act as both priests and botono, depending on the situation.
This African form of Voodoo is a precursor to the Voodoo practiced in Haiti and other parts of the Western hemisphere. The regions of Africa where Voodoo has thrived are also areas that were heavily trafficked during the slave trade. Slavery brought Voodoo to the Americas.
The list of reasons to employ and summon a voodoo (or Vodu or Vaudou) god is endless, but increasingly prominent among them is the search for cure and healing. The worshippers believe that
voodoo is their natural medicine’
Voodoo cure is of two kinds: healing and cleansing of an individual or an entire city. While healing could involve mineral, herbal and animal and spiritual rituals, cleansing on the other hand passes
through acknowledgement of a wrong deed and subsequent appeasement of the relevant(s) spirit (s) and the offended. To this point, and to mainstream voodoo healing practice into peace, stability and harmony, an NGO headed by one Prof Beatrice Aguessy, the Institute of Development and Endogenous Exchanges (IDEE) in 1998 led the officials of the city of Ouidah in Benin Republic on a 3km long trek and kneeling for forgiveness on the ‘Route de l’Esclave’ (Slave Route) and repentance from the sins committed against their brothers and sisters who were sold by the Chiefs of the city during the slave trade.

Commonwealth of Dominica kids wearing their traditional African Creole dress

Commonwealth of Dominica kids wearing their traditional African Creole dress

Commonwealth of Dominica kids wearing their traditional African Creole dress

Commonwealth of Dominica kids wearing their traditional African Creole dress for Creole Day celebration.
The West African influences in Dominica
The majority of the people of the Caribbean are the descendants of West Africans originating from a wide range of tribal groups, whose members were captured along the West African seaboard and from the interior and who were exchanged for trade goods, enslaved, and transported across the Atlantic to work on the plantations of the islands and mainland colonies of the Caribbean. The cultural variation was as immense as the geographical area from which these people were drawn. It spread from present-day Senegal in the north, southwards along the Gulf of Guinea to Angola.
This range included as many as fifty main cultural groups and their numerous related sub-groupings. The diversity of language reflected this complex merging of cultures as people whose origin on the coast could be as much as two thousand miles apart were thrust together in small controlled communities in the Caribbean. Tribal languages that appear here and there in Caribbean speech range from Fante, Hausa, Kru, Ibo, Edo, Bini, Nembe, Yoruba, Ashanti (Twi), Ibibo and Ijo to Fulani, Ewe, Kikongo, Efik, Kwa, Fon and a couple dozen others. The shreds of cultural patrimony transported in the mind across the terrifying waters of the Middle Passage were pieced together on the shores of the Caribbean into a patchwork of cultural practices, traditions and skills. Their origins became blurred, picked up and pinpointed here or there during the twentieth century by linguists, folklorists and the early anthropologists of the region.
Traces of what was Igbo, Ibo or Ibibo lingered in a word here, a song pattern there, or a character of the spirit world, whose African roots had survived but who had acquired a French or Spanish name in the process of Creolization. The destruction and recreation of the shattered cultures of West Africa in the form of a variegated collage of influences is the main feature of the African cultural remnants in the region. For much of the five hundred years, ever since the first Spanish ship transported the first boatload of Africans direct from the Guinea coast to Hispaniola in 1518, the validity of this African remnant has been rejected. For most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries its presence was seen as a socially negative undercurrent of West Indian society that was better suppressed, covered up or denied. Only in the latter half of the twentieth century, during a period of great social and political transformation, did the African element in Caribbean culture have its renaissance, manifesting itself in the work of academics, artists, dancers, writers, cultural activists and the Rastafarian movement.
Stripped of everything but the contents of the mind, the African who arrived in the Caribbean carried only memory and skills. And yet it was from these intangible possessions that a new world was recreated, transformed and reordered. For all of its apparent confusion it was anchored by key lifelines of cultural security that helped to give stability, aid survival and make sense of a world gone mad. The plantation system and the regimen of work and mental stress and personal degradation associated with enslavement did not allow for the replication of the structured tribally determined patterns of life as had existed in Africa. Despite their condition they wove these lines of survival wherever possible into their plantation existence. Spaces of cultural opportunity were taken advantage of at every available turn. Subterfuge, sarcasm, innuendo and bitter humour became the antidotes to the circumstances in which they had found themselves. In folktales, songs and dances these threads were woven, providing a pliable ever-changing mask to the reality that lay beyond. The scraps of religious beliefs, once rigidly defined from tribe to tribe became a composite. Some elements were stronger on one island than another depending on the majority of influence from one group of Africans rather than others. But there were general themes associated with a spirit world where good and evil were in contest and whose balance had to be maintained. Spiritual possession and respect for the ancestors ran through it all in spite of the variations.
The African religions and beliefs were outlawed from the earliest days of plantation slavery, not merely because they were seen to be pagan, primitive and generally unchristian but more so because the plantocracy feared these practices were a cover for revolt. Paranoia against any form of African religious spiritualism rose sharply after the Haitian revolution, during which messages and plans of insurrection were passed on during such gatherings. But despite these restrictions certain forms of traditional religious practices survived under a blanket of secrecy. Those who professed to control spiritual powers were respected and there existed a network of shamans whose skills were called upon to cast spells, make charms and call up the spirit world. They were consulted for their knowledge of the use of herbs to cure illnesses and destroy enemies. These ‘obeah’ men or women were visited for help and advice and legislation survives on the islands up to today criminalizing obeah and those associated with the practice.

TRIBAL FACIAL AND BODILY MARKS IN AFRICAN CULTURE

TRIBAL FACIAL AND BODILY MARKS IN AFRICAN CULTURE

TRIBAL (FACIAL AND BODILY) MARKS IN AFRICAN CULTURE

In the olden days, when a child is born, the proud father will want the child to be given tribal marks as a way of expressing that he is the legitimate father of the child as well as a way of identifying the child in their family lineage or ethnic group. It is believed that the best way of identifying people of same ethnic group is the similarity of their marks and in that case, they protect their interest.