Home AFRICAN STORY 3 Textile Prints That Have Been Associated With Africans But Are Not Of African Origin. 

3 Textile Prints That Have Been Associated With Africans But Are Not Of African Origin. 

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Textile Prints

In Africa, Textile prints are more than mere fabrics; they represent different cultures, traditions, and identities. They have come to be associated with African fashion and cultural expression.

However, the origins of some of these prints might come as a surprise to many, as they are not indigenous to Africa. It is indeed true that these textile prints have woven themselves into African heritage through global trade, colonialism, and cultural exchange.

Today, these prints have become inseparable from African culture leading to their integration into local dress styles that can be worn to events such as festivals, parties, holidays, and workplaces and as a means of identity.

In this article, we will look at three textile prints that have been associated with Africans but are not of African origin.

#1 Madras:

Textile prints _Madras

Originating in India, Madras was initially brought to the Caribbean by British colonizers to clothe enslaved Africans. Over time, it became intertwined with Caribbean identity, particularly in Trinidad and Tobago, where it is worn during cultural festivals such as Carnival. Despite its Indian origins, Madras fabric has been greatly infused into the cultural heritage of the Caribbean, serving as a tangible link to the region’s complex history of migration and cultural exchange.

#2 Ketenge:

Textile Prints KitengeKitenge is a colourful, patterned fabric similar to Ankara and is widely used in East Africa. However, its origins can be traced back to Indonesia. Introduced by Portuguese traders to the East African coast centuries ago, Kitenge found its way into local markets and became integral to African fashion. With its vibrant designs and cultural significance, Kitenge fabric is celebrated in various African communities, symbolizing tradition, identity, and style.

Read Also: Traditional Outfits Unique To Different African Tribes

#3 Ankara:

Textile Prints AnkaraAlso known as Dutch Wax Print, Ankara originated from Indonesia, contrary to popular belief.  Ankara was introduced to West Africa in the 19th century when Dutch traders attempted to emulate the Indonesian batik technique using roller printing to create vibrant and intricate designs on cotton cloth.  Today, Ankara remains a staple attire in Africa, worn proudly for celebrations, ceremonies, and everyday wear, particularly among women.



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