Textiles in Ghana
Textiles in Ghana

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Textiles in Ghana

4 Using

4.1 The functions of kente

In Section 4 you will learn about the many uses of kente and adinkra.

Activity 12

Once you’ve watched the video, make a few notes on what you learnt about the functions of kente.

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Transcript: What are the functions of Kente?

Catherine (VO)
In the past, Kente was worn on special occasions, and by important people, such as the Chief of the Weavers.
Today, these rules are more relaxed.
Kente is still worn on occasions, such as going to church.
African man
My father bought it for me …
Catherine
How old is it?
African man
It’s been about ten years or twenty years ago.
Catherine
Is your father now dead?
African man
He is now dead.
Catherine
When do you wear this? Do you wear it every Sunday?
African man
Not every Sunday - only special occasions.
Catherine
Do you think of your father when you wear it?
African man
Yes. I remember him very much.
Osei
On some of the cloth for women, the colours, especially the colours, you know, you women like colours which men doesn’t like it. This is for women.
(Wife: This one, too, is for women.)
This is for funerals.
Catherine
It’s very splendid. Sombre, but very decorated.
Osei
Wearing for funerals, you cannot use white, but you can use white when you are going to service, church service, after the funeral. Thanksgiving service, you can use white. Mostly black and white.
Akwasi interviewed
Q: Today anybody can buy your cloth. Was this always the case?
A: In the old days some cloth could only be worn by the Asantehene (King). Even now, a certain cloth remains exclusive to the Asantehene. We call it ‘Ase Sian’ - it takes 6 heddles to weave.
Q: Why is there a special cloth for the Asantehene?
A: Because he rules over us. If you wear what he wears it would mean you were challenging his authority. So we don’t make that cloth for anyone else.
Nana Asante
I came up with this design because the black Americans, they are national colours. And you know, Americans have black American ….. in America. Black, green and burgundy. So I designed it. Don’t you see the black, green and burgundy and they are happy that we still have Kente as something produced in Ghana. They are so proud when they wear it.
A lot of schools in America today, on graduation day, all the students lining-up for their certificates will have a piece of Kente. black universites will have Kentes around their neck and they like to have cloth of 96 or 97 and sometimes we do the name of the university, or the college here.
We can write “ ‘Canberra University’ or ‘Open University’, class of ‘98”.
End transcript: What are the functions of Kente?
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