the kanga represents the most versatile garment of the east-african woman and is a extremenly important cultural assets in their daily life. Worn like a wrap dress, the cloth accompany the women from the cradle to the grave. Already the babies are wrapped in the coth and also at funerals the bodies are shrouded in a kanga. In the daily live the cloth are used as bags for fruits, vegetables and fish or to store personal belongings.

The history of the kanga dates back the the 13th century. At that time cotton fabrics arrived at the east african coast brought by Portuguese, Arab and Persian seamen. At the beginning the cloth were printed with the pattern of guinnea fowl feathers. Since the end of the 19th century the patterns started to vary and became more and more individual. Trendiness became a topic and collecting fabrics with different patterns became more annd more popular.

Over the years, kangas attained a communicative function. Today slogans, sayings, aphorisms, appeals, and wishes in Swahili language are printed to the kangas. In case the  kanga will be given as a present, it is important to select a slogan that goes with the presentee. You even find political slogans on a kanga, just like on the T shirt of the western world.

FromTansania, Sansibar, Kilimanjaro von Jörg Gabriel, Reise Know-How Verlag, 2007


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