African clothing is the traditional clothing by the people of Africa. Most African countries have embraced foreign cultures especially in the area of clothing. Many African youths as a result of this do not know their roots and culture more particularly their clothing. They wear what they want when they want. This was not the case some centuries or years ago.
The type of clothing for most ethnic group had a concept and a reason behind it. Be it weather conditions, protection or culture. Africans have a rich culture of beautiful and colourful clothing. Africans have always been inspired by colours and they play a symbolic role in their lives. Every colour has a story and concept behind it. That is what makes the clothing more beautiful because the knowledge of the meaning of the clothing makes one prides him or herself in wearing it.
From headgear to beads to accessories and foot wears and so on and on. There is so much you can get from African traditional clothing. They show who we are and they tell the story of where we are coming from.
Here are my 5 picks for most beautiful African traditional clothing. There is so much more than I have gathered here. Feel free to research and read more about African traditional clothing. These are my personal picks in no particular order. I think they are all beautiful in their own way because they all have a story to tell.
5. Massai People (Kenya and Tanzania)
The massai are an ethnic group inhabiting southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. They have distinctive customs and clothing. Their clothing varies from by age and location. Red is a favourite colour. They wear multi colored African designs as well blue, black, striped and checkered cloth. They are also known for bead making which is made by their women. Both women and men wear wooden bracelets
4. THE TOUBOU TRIBE( chad, Libya, niger and sudan)
The Toubou is an ethnic group inhabiting northern Chad, southern Libya, North-eastern Niger and North-western Sudan. They are distributed largely across an area in the central Sahara as well as North-central Sahel. They are normally called the black nomads of Sahara.
Toubou clothing is one of the clothes that really exposes very little. The women mostly wear headgears and scarfs that cover their faces and necks. They are characterised by nose piercing and long clothing.
3. THE YUROBAS OF NIGERIA
The Yoruba’s of Nigeria are noted for their exquisite clothing. In their tribe and culture clothing serves as an indicator of status and wealth. Their “Geles” are still my favourite headgears in the world. The artistic ways it is crafted still leaves me marvelled. The Gele is a Nigerian cloth which women wrap around their heads especially for special occasions. The men also wear the “Agbada” for formal events over their clothes. They also have other clothing known as the “buba” which is a top for women. The “Iro” which is a wrap skirt and the “Sokotos” which is a trousers for men.
2. THE ASANTES OF GHANA
The Asantes live in the central Ghana in the rainforest of West Africa some miles away from the coast. The Asantes are noted for their expertise in a lot of craft including wood carving, ceramics, metal works pottery, weaving and the renowned kente cloth. They have a rich culture of clothing with the all famous kente and beadwork.
Their culture demands that only men are allowed to weave. There are different patterns and meanings to each patterns. They could represent clans, social status, a saying or the sex of the one wearing it.Traditionally, the kente cloth was worn during annual and seasonal festivals to show how important the event was. The Asantes are characterized by a lot of golden ornaments and bead work. Their clothing can be described as one of the most beautiful clothing in the African continent
1. THE ZULUS OF SOUTH AFRICA
The Zulu is one of the powerful tribes of south Africa. Their clothing are symbolic hence they do not encourage reckless dressing. Every clothing or costume worn has a meaning and is understood by the people in their faction.
The older they get and as they marry, the more they cover their bodies.
For instance, a maiden who is not married will wear short grass skirt embellished perhaps with beads whiles an engaged woman will cover her breast and allow her hair to grow. The men on the other hand have various things they wear on their bodies. For instance they have the “amoshoba” which are cow tails won on the upper arms and below the knee to give their body a great and bulky appearance. They have many other clothing they wear according to their status. They also wear colourful clothing with beads and caps during festivities and important occassions
Africa has a rich culture with regards to clothing. There are so many beautiful African tribes and clothing. These are just a few of them.
There is a lot out there you can explore and trust me you will love it.
Leave your comments below and share with us which of them is your favorite.
Thanks for reading.
Bibiana owusu prempeh Gyasi
Passionate about Travel, arts and culture.
Unearthing stories worth sharing through tourism. Promoting local involvement in tourism and culture.
Telling the Ghanaian story, the Ghanaian way.
(Books, Travel, food and fashion).