“Kente cloth is the most famous and admired fabric of Africa. Traditionally produced by Asante women, it is characterized by its exquisite silk inlay work. Its patterns are built in visual blocks woven into strips or large expanses of fabric used for wraps called kente.” Margie Deeb
I was doing research about our precious Kente cloth when I stumbled across Dr Carol Ventura’s uber informative website -and the amount of information she had gathered I guess by visiting Ghana blew me away! We Ghanaians are far to lazy to do any of it ourselves, and it got me thinking……because I truly believe that someday soon -we’re going to wake-up and find another African country claiming our Kente cloth -as their own…
Tacky this and tacky that -our once scared, ceremonial cloth, once only worn by royalty has been allowed to be used for any and everything -and as I type this -the government of Ghana hasn’t patented it -nor doesn’t own the rights to the Kente cloth as been rightfully Ghanaian!!!
The thing is …well those in the know -anyways, can spot a Missoni print from miles away -and they, the Missoni family have done very well thank you from their prints…but I wonder -could we [the Ghanaian nation] start getting serious with our Kente cloth and patent it -so that we can truly own it?
We need to ban the use of the Kente cloth (especially that cheap cottony one that’s used by everyone and its brother -to make all sorts of tacky rubbish -just look at the above criminal items. We then need to register all the Kente making families from Bonwire (Ashanti), Adanwomase / Adawomase (Ashanti) and Denu (Ewe) etc like they do with couture etc and only they -the said families can make or sell our prestigious cloths, so that only quality kente can enter the market -and these hard working families can truly benefit from the sale of this cloth.
Also, designers and buyers from around the world will have to pay to use the Kente in their designs. For example if Burberry decides to make its whole entire A/W 2012 collection using Kente -it cannot copy it, fake it or impersonate it -but must buy it from one of the registered Kente families from any of the three aforementioned towns etc.
The Kente will not only become prestigious again but it will bring real revenue and work to these towns -and restore this exquisite royal cloth as a major part of OUR uber rich and uber fascinating culture…. Kente is part of our birth right -we must not sell it -too cheaply….To read about how Kente is made and to see some of the wonderful people making this wonderful cloth visit Dr Carol Ventura’s website at: http://iweb.tntech.edu/cventura/default.htm