Certain products lift the image of a country, as the sole manufacturer of that great product. Historically, traditionally and culturally, Kente products and wears have brought recognition to Ghana, through the history of the Ashanti history. Can we say then that Kente cloth originates from the Ashanti?
The tradition of Kente cloth is said to have been developed in the 17th century and stems from ancient Akan weaving techniques, dating as far back as the 11th century AD. The beautifully woven cloth even though is associated with the culture of Ivory Coast; history reveals originated from Ghana.
Ghana’s fame as the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence reflects on its traditional Kente cloth, worn on every occasion, including ceremonies, festivals, and royal events. Kente designs aren’t just fashion but have stories with proverbial meaning, giving each cloth its own distinction.
Kente remains a symbol of national pride, not only for Ghanaians but also for Africans in the Diaspora. For example, African Americans highlight their connection to the African continent, proudly presenting Kente in celebrations of African American heritage, such as Black History Month.
Many Africa-Americans wear it to show their awareness or support of “Black Pride.” Thus, the United States and other parts of the world are today central to the African art market and the livelihood of artists in Ghana. You can’t visit Ghana without exploring the rich traditional culture of Ghana by wearing Kente cloth. Even at overseas conferences, Ghanaians in Kente cloth always stole the show.
“I am happy to have my first Kente Cloth,” says the baby.