Nigerian theme: where kitenge rules

Kitenge is arguably the most dominant wear in Africa today. It is loved almost in equal measure in the north, south, east and of course in West Africa.

Kitenge is arguably the most dominant wear in Africa today. It is loved almost in equal measure in the north, south, east and of course in West Africa.

Take a stroll to down-town Kigali any time, any day and hardly a minute passes without seeing a lady in a Kitenge or a gentleman in neat casual shirt made from the fabric. 

Women mainly wear the fabric tied around their waists in the style of a sarong, long skirts or dresses.

Traditionally West African wear, Kitenge is a wax print cotton fabric, made by imprinting a pattern of melted wax onto the fabric and then dying it.

 Ochuku Micheal, a Nigerian businessman in Kigali, says his traditional outfit is unique and its elegance can be enhanced by head gear. In Nigeria, the men’s wear is called Kaftan. It comprises a pair of tie-up trousers that narrow towards the ankles, a long-sleeved shirt and a wide, open-stitched sleeveless gown worn over these.

If a group of women turned up for an event in kitenge, complete with head gear, they introduce a unique mix of colour that renders whatever decorations made on the venue virtually inconsequential.

On October 2, Nigerians living in Kigali converged at the residence of the High Commissioner to mark their country’s independence. Our photographer Timothy Kisambira captured the ladies’ dress code.

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