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.
My father bought it for me …
How old is it?
It’s been about ten years or twenty years ago.
Is your father now dead?
He is now dead.
When do you wear this? Do you wear it every Sunday?
Not every Sunday - only special occasions.
Do you think of your father when you wear it?
Yes. I remember him very much.
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.
It’s very splendid. Sombre, but very decorated.
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.
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.
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”.