- “The kitenge is what journalists like to describe as “colourful African fabric” writes Jina Moore, a journalist herself. The kitenge is indeed colourful with beautiful patterns. This piece of clothing is worn all over Africa and is also now starting to cross over into the western world thanks to some celebrities being spotted wearing it. The kitenge is similar to the kanga but thicker. This piece of clothing has been there way before I was born. I grew up watching my mother, aunts, sisters and the neighbours wearing the kitenge like there was nothing else to wear. This was due to the fact that the kitenge is an all season kind of item.
At more than £60 pounds for 6 yards the Vlisco Veritable Hollandais (Super wax) is the most expensive and the must have of them all types of different kitenges out there. The material is rich and has a nice shine to it. If you have one of these in your possession you will know what I am talking about. Women especially those from French speaking countries can spot a super wax a mile away! If it is a design that they don’t have, women are known to go out and look for that special kitenge that they saw. she does all she can to have it. Some are known to pay in installments if it means she will eventually have it in her wardrobe. And for less than £20 also you can get yourself a nice other kind of kitenge. Whether it’s already made or just the material for you take to the tailors who will work their magic and produce a beautiful design. The kitenge is known to be elegant and respectable. It can be worn at a party, wedding, going to the markets and funerals too. It tends to give the wearer a proud African touch no matter where you are.
If there is an item in my wardrobe that makes me feel a woman, it is the kitenge. I have to admit that it really does have that effect on me. I love the feel of the not so soft material and the way you always manage to look elegant even if you are not “feeling” it.
Every woman of African descent should have at least one kitenge. And if you don’t have one make sure you get yourself one as soon as possible because I and other African women don’t want you missing out on the phenomena that is the kitenge.
The kitenge is now no longer just a wrap around yourself garment of wear. It’s being made into table cloths, handbags, shoes, not forgetting the century old African tradition of carrying a baby on your back.