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Kente: A symbol of the rich culture of the Ashanti people of Ghana

Jun 19, 2023 02:00PM ● By Jerrywright Ukwu

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Kente is a colorful Ghanaian traditional fabric worn mostly on noteworthy occasions and celebrations. It is one of the most universally recognized of all African fabrics. 

Kente was originally woven 400 years ago from raffia palm, which is still reflected in its modern-day designs. The weaving of the spider web influenced its creation.

Traditionally, Kente cloth was reserved for Ashanti royalty, where it originated from, who wore it during sacred ceremonies. The fabric is now more accessible but still maintains its status of wealth and prestige.


The Ashanti Kingdom, located in southern Ghana, has a rich history and cultural heritage. They are known for their intricate craftsmanship, traditional ceremonies, and Kente cloth.

The kingdom is one of Africa’s oldest and most powerful, with rich history and culture that has survived centuries of wars and colonialism.

 Image: Ghanaian girls dressed in kente for a festival. Source: Wikimedia Commons

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Kente clothes are unique on many levels. Each color of Kente means something important. The fabric is a noble textile and a great material to tailor men’s and women’s clothing.

Kente cloth is a fabric with an undeniable global footprint, with increased garment exports promoted by the Ghanaian government to ensure “Made in Ghana” products go global. 

It reached as far as the Haute-Couture catwalks of Paris. Cameroonian designer Imane Ayissi used it as the first African designer to be admitted as a guest member of the prestigious Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. 

 Image: Example of fashion designer Imane Ayissi's work. Source: Industrie Africa. Photo credit to the owner.

“Kente is a very interesting textile because of its aesthetics, its history, and also because it is still living, and it is still possible to find good artisans with the skills to create new Kente, [which] is not the case with other traditional textiles,” says Ayissi.

It is widely reputed to be the most exported African fabric in the world, and many see it as a cloth that represents Black solidarity around the globe. 

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