Kanga, African clothes

Made of cotton, rayon, polyester or a mixture of fabrics, 1 to 1.5 meters in length, it has also become very popular in Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Burundi and Madagascar.

Its name comes from the Kiswahili “ku-kanga”, which means “to wrap” or “to enclose”, and stands for birds, specifically the colorful and eye-catching guinea fowl.

In terms of its structure, it consists of three parts: “pindo”, which represents the edge; ‘mji’, the median, in a different style, and ‘jina’, a legend written on cloth, usually in this language or in the language of Lingala, in the case of Central Africa.

This garment, adapting to different social contexts, has become an excellent ally for communication. According to scholars, a high-quality kanga should have two main characteristics: a stunning central inscription and an excellent Swahili example.

According to writer Yahya Othman, some designs are used for special occasions such as weddings and funerals. Wearing a red and black piece in the bedroom may be a message from a woman to her husband that she has a “headache.”

It suggests that clothing allows women to express feelings that they are not allowed to express socially, especially in the public sphere.

In addition, he adds, he serves to initiate a conversation, taking into account a dialogue of texts recorded as: “Usinambie!” (Don’t tell me!) or “Na kweli!” (In fact!).

In addition to being part of the personal relationship, it has also been used during election, political and even public health campaigns due to its effectiveness as a means of social mobilization.

This African outfit is multi-purpose, from carrying the baby on the back to using it as pillows to carry a heavy load on the head or wrap things. They can be found as wall hangings, bedspreads, curtains or seat covers.

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(taken from orb)

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